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Another Freedom The Alternative History of an Idea by Svetlana Boym

Another Freedom The Alternative History of an Idea


Another Freedom The Alternative History of an Idea by Svetlana Boym

The word freedom is so used and abused that it is always in danger of becoming nothing but a cliche. In Another Freedom , Svetlana Boym offers us a refreshing new portrait of the age-old concept that plays such a crucial role in today's politics. Exploring the rich cross-cultural history of the idea of freedom, from its origins in ancient Greece to the present day, she argues that our attempts to imagine freedom should occupy the space of not only what is but also what if . Beginning with notions of sacrifice and the emergence of a public sphere for politics and art, Boym expands her account to include the relationships between freedom and liberation, personal and political freedom, modernity and terror, and public dissent and creative estrangement. While depicting a world of differences, she affirms lasting solidarities based on the commitment to the public sphere and passionate thinking that reflections on freedom require. To do so, Boym assembles a remarkable cast of characters: Aeschylus and Euripides, Kafka and Mandelstam, Arendt and Heidegger, and a virtual encounter between Dostoevsky and Marx on the streets of Paris. By offering a fresh look at the strange history of this idea, Another Freedom delivers a nuanced portrait of freedom, one whose repercussions inform our present and future.


In this new and incredibly ambitious account of the anatomy of freedom, Svetlana Boym works through the specifics of historical, aesthetic, and cultural narratives, moving effortlessly from large movements to human relationships and back again. Another Freedom is an engaging and imaginative philosophical experiment, at once intellectually gripping and moving, intensely relevant to the contemporary condition, and a major work of dazzling scholarship. (Isobel Armstrong, Birkbeck, University of London)

About the Author

Svetlana Boym is the Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, as well as an associate of the Graduate School of Design and Architecture. A writer, theorist, and media artist, she is the author of The Future of Nostalgia, among other publications.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th April 2012


Svetlana Boym

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University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press


376 pages


History of ideas



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