Elaine Stavro Distinguished Visiting Scholar 

The Elaine Stavro Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Theory, Politics & Gender Studies was created to introduce Trent students to leading speakers in humanities and social sciences and significantly build on the University's reputation for interdisciplinary programs. The Visiting Scholar will provide students, faculty and members of the community with exceptional access to eminent scholars and people engaged in theory, politics and gender studies.  

The Covid Pandemic: A Perfect Storm of Capitalist Irrationality and Injustice

Watch the recording of Dr. Nancy Fraser's Lecture

Dr. Nancy Fraser

Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor, New School for Social Research 

Nancy Fraser headshot

We often hear that Covid-19 has served as a perverse diagnostic, lighting up all the fault-lines in our society–especially fault-lines of gender and color, nation and class. We don’t hear enough, however, about the social system that generates those fault lines, even though it’s the same system that brought us the virus in the first place and is blocking our efforts to deal with it. In this lecture, I shift the focus to that systemic level. What the pandemic actually diagnoses, I claim, is the deep-seated dysfunctionality of capitalism. I explain this thesis first, by proposing a new account of what capitalism is, and second, by applying that account to the present crisis. The result is to portray the Covid pandemic as a perfect storm that discloses all our system’s multiple, intertwined contradictions––ecological, political, social, and economic. 

About Dr. Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser is Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor at the New School for Social Research and a member of the editorial committee of New Left Review. Trained as a philosopher, she specializes in critical social theory and political philosophy. Her newest books are Cannibal Capitalism (forthcoming from Verso in 2022), Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto, co-authored with Cinzia Arruzza and Tithi Bhattacharya (Verso, 2019 and in 24 other languages); The Old is Dying (Verso, 2019); and Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory, co-authored with Rahel Jaeggi (Polity Press 2018). 

Other books include Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis (2013); Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space for a Globalizing World (2008); and Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-Philosophical Exchange (2003) with Axel Honneth. 

Fraser’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and was cited three times by the Brazilian Supreme Court (in decisions upholding marriage equality, affirmative action, and Afro-descendant collective land rights). A Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a past President of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, she is the recipient of six honorary degrees, the Alfred Schutz Prize for Social Philosophy, the Nessim Habif World Prize, and the Havens/Wright Center Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship.  

For more information, contact Babin Joy, babinjoy@trentu.ca.