Ellen Meiksins Wood

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Ellen Meiksins Wood (2012)

Ellen Meiksins Wood (April 12, 1942 – January 14, 2016) was an American-Canadian Marxist historian and scholar.


Wood was born in New York City as Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived in New York from Europe as political refugees. She was raised in the United States and Europe.

Wood received a B.A. in Slavic languages from the University of California, Berkeley in 1962 and subsequently entered the graduate program in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, from which she received her PhD in 1970. From 1967 to 1996, she taught political science at Glendon College, York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1][2]

With Robert Brenner, Ellen Meiksins Wood articulated the foundations of Political Marxism, a strand of Marxist theory that places history at the centre of its analysis.[3] It provoked a turn away from structuralisms and teleology towards historical specificity as contested process and lived praxis.

Meiksins Wood's many books and articles, were sometimes written in collaboration with her husband, Neal Wood (1922–2003). Her work has been translated into many languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Romanian, Turkish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Of these, The Retreat from Class received the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize in 1988.[4] Wood served on the editorial committee of the British journal New Left Review between 1984 and 1993. From 1997 to 2000, Wood was an editor, along with Harry Magdoff and Paul Sweezy, of Monthly Review, the socialist magazine.

In 1996, she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, a marker of distinguished scholarship.[5] She and Neal Wood divided their time between England and Canada until his death in 2003.[6]

In 2014, she married Ed Broadbent, former leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, with whom she lived in Ottawa and London for six years until her death from cancer at the age of 73.[6][7]


Sole author[edit]

Co-authored with Neal Wood[edit]

  • Class Ideology and Ancient Political Theory: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in Social Context. Oxford University Press, 1978. ISBN 0195201000
  • A Trumpet of Sedition: Political Theory and the Rise of Capitalism, 1509-1688. New York University Press, 1997 and London: Pluto Press, 1997. ISBN 0745311768

Co-edited collections[edit]

Publications available online[edit]


  1. ^ "An interview with Ellen Meiksins Wood". By Christopher Phelps. Monthly Review (May 1999).
  2. ^ "York professors named to Royal Society," The York University Gazette, Vol. 27, No. 8, October 23, 1996. ISSN 1199-5246 [Retrieved April 18, 2010]
  3. ^ Political Marxism and the Social Sciences
  4. ^ "York professors named to Royal Society," The York University Gazette, Vol. 27, No. 8 (October 23, 1996) ISSN 1199-5246 [Retrieved April 18, 2010]
  5. ^ RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada
  6. ^ a b "Ellen Meiksins Wood, author and third wife of Ed Broadbent, dead at 73". Victoria Times-Colonist. Canadian Press. January 14, 2016. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "Remembering Ellen Meiksins Wood". The Broadbent Blog. The Broadbent Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2016.

External links[edit]


Book reviews