Kevin Olson

Professor, Political Science
School of Social Sciences

Ph.D., Northwestern University

Phone: (949) 824-8335
Email: kevin.olson@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
Department of Political Science
3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Kevin  Olson

Research
Interests
Contemporary Political Theory, Insurgent and Popular Politics, Postcolonialism, Cultural Politics, Poststructuralism, Critical Theory
   
Academic
Distinctions
Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation Scholar in Residence, Château de la Bretesche, France, 2016.

Erasmus Mundus Scholar, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 2006-7.
   
Research
Abstract
Kevin Olson is a political theorist who writes on issues of popular and insurgent politics, postcolonialism, the cultural and material bases of politics, social democracy, poststructuralism, and critical theory. He is the author of Imagined Sovereignties: The Power of the People and Other Myths of the Modern Age (Cambridge, 2016), Reflexive Democracy: Political Equality and the Welfare State (MIT, 2006), and editor of Adding Insult to Injury: Nancy Fraser Debates Her Critics (Verso, 2008). His work has also been published in Political Theory, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Constellations, and other journals and books. He has served as an Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation Scholar in Residence at the Château de la Bretesche, France, and an Erasmus Mundus Scholar at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Olson’s current research focuses on the cultural and normative bases of popular politics. It examines the complex ways that ideas like "the power of the people" inhabit our collective imagination. This work is largely genealogical in approach, drawing on insights of Michel Foucault, Ernesto Laclau, Benedict Anderson, Charles Taylor, and Cornelius Castoriadis, and ranging over themes of collective imagination, constituent power, collective identity, performativity, the construction of public spheres, and the conceptual architecture of popular sovereignty. It connects insights about collective self-determination with issues of postcolonialism, constitutionalism, and political culture.
   
Publications BOOKS
   
 
   
  Imagined Sovereignties: The Power of the People and Other Myths of the Modern Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).
   
 
   
  Adding Insult to Injury: Nancy Fraser Debates Her Critics (London: Verso, 2008). Edited and introduced by Kevin Olson. Nancy Fraser, principal author, with additional contributions by Elizabeth Anderson, Judith Butler, Leonard Feldman, Rainer Forst, Joseph Heath, Nikolas Kompridis, Kevin Olson, Anne Phillips, Ingrid Robeyns, Richard Rorty, Iris Marion Young, and Christopher Zurn. Chinese translation, trans. Zhou Suiming (Shanghai: Shanghai People's Publishing, 2009). Italian translation, trans. Irene Strazzeri (Lecce, Italy: Pensa, 2012). Korean translation (Seoul: Greenbee Publishing, 2015).
   
 
   
  Reflexive Democracy: Political Equality and the Welfare State (MIT Press, 2006).
   
  ESSAYS
   
  "Decolonizing Critical Theory," Current Perspectives in Social Theory 36 (2017), forthcoming.
   
  "When is the Time of Revolution? Critical Reflections on Political Insurgency," Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (2017), forthcoming.
   
  "Universalism in the Age of Crowds: A Short Genealogy," in Europe and the World: World War I as Crisis of Universalism, ed. Kai Evers and David Pan (New York: Telos Press, forthcoming).
   
  "Populism in the Socialist Imagination," in The Oxford Handbook of Populism, ed. C. R. Kaltwasser, P. Ochoa Espejo, P. Ostiguy, P. Taggart (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 661-678.
   
  "Fragile Collectivities, Imagined Sovereignties," in Alain Badiou, et al., What is a People? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016), 107-131.
   
  "Epistemologies of Rebellion: The Tricolor Cockade and the Problem of Subaltern Speech," Political Theory 43:6 (2015): 730-752. (Presentation of an early version at the University of Oregon; begins at 30:15.)
   
  "Genealogy, Cryptonormativity, Interpretation," Foucault Studies 18 (2014): 253-260.
   
  "Complexities of Political Discourse: Class, Power, and the Linguistic Turn," in Rainer Forst, Justice, Democracy, and the Right to Justification: Rainer Forst in Dialogue (London: Bloomsbury, 2014): 87-102.
   
  "Fraser, Nancy," in Michael Gibbons, ed., The Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).
   
  "Judgment or Justification? Two Paths for Rethinking the Discursive Turn,” Constellations 20:2 (2013): 361-365.
   
  "Legitimate Speech and Hegemonic Idiom: The Limits of Deliberative Democracy in the Diversity of Its Voices," Political Studies 59 (2011): 527-546.
   
  "Deliberative Democracy," in Jürgen Habermas: Key Concepts, ed. Barbara Fultner (Durham: Acumen Press, 2011), 140-155.
   
  "Reflexive Democracy as Popular Sovereignty," in New Waves in Political Philosophy, ed. Boudewijn de Bruin and Christopher Zurn (London: Palgrave, 2009), 125-142.
   
  "Constructing Citizens," Journal of Politics 70:1 (2008): 40-53.
   
  "Governmental Rationality and Popular Sovereignty," Current Perspectives in Social Theory 25 (2008): 329-352.
   
  "Participatory Parity and Democratic Justice," in Nancy Fraser, Adding Insult to Injury: Nancy Fraser Debates Her Critics, ed. Kevin Olson (London: Verso, 2008), 246-272. Chinese translation, trans. Zhou Suiming (Shanghai: Shanghai People's Publishing, 2009), 244-270. Italian and Korean translations forthcoming.
   
  "Reflexivni Obcanstvi a Paradoxy Participace," trans. Michael Hauser, Filosoficky Casopis 56:1 (2008): 77-100. ["Reflexive Citizenship and the Paradoxes of Participation," Prague: Journal of Philosophy.]
   
  "Adding Insult to Injury: An Introduction," in Nancy Fraser, Adding Insult to Injury: Nancy Fraser Debates Her Critics, ed. Kevin Olson (London: Verso, 2008), 1-8. Chinese translation, trans. Zhou Suiming (Shanghai: Shanghai People's Publishing, 2009), 1-9. Italian and Korean translations forthcoming.
   
  "Paradoxes of Constitutional Democracy," American Journal of Political Science 51:2 (2007): 330-343.
   
  "Do Rights have a Formal Basis? Habermas’s Legal Theory and the Normative Foundations of the Law," Journal of Political Philosophy 11:3 (2003): 273-294.
   
  "Welfare, Democracy, and the Reflexive Legitimacy of the Law," Studies in Law, Politics and Society 29 (2003): 97-122.
   
  "Liberalism, Risk, and the Welfare State," Philosophy and Social Criticism 29:3 (2003): 351-7.
   
  "Recognizing Gender, Redistributing Labor," Social Politics 9:3 (2002): 380-410.
   
  "Distributive Justice and the Politics of Difference," Critical Horizons 2:1 (2001): 5-32.
   
  "Democratic Inequalities: The Problem of Equal Citizenship in Habermas’s Democratic Theory," Constellations 5:2 (1998): 215-233.
   
  "Habitus and Body Language: Towards a Critical Theory of Symbolic Power," Philosophy and Social Criticism 21:2 (1995): 23-49.
   
Graduate Programs Political Science

Culture and Theory

   
Research Center Critical Theory Institute
   
   
Link to this profile http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5030
   
Last updated 07/06/2017