In Memory of Couze Venn

Couze Venn
Professor Couze Venn

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of our friend and colleague Couze Venn. Couze spent his final days at Rowcroft Hospice, Torquay and died on March 13, 2019.

Couze played a central role in Theory, Culture & Society over the last twenty-five years. He joined the editorial board in 1996 and became managing editor just over a decade later. He has published over a dozen articles in the journal and made a number of significant translations of material from Irigaray, Latour, Lyotard, Stiegler, Foucault, Lazzarato and others. He also edited and co-edited a number of special issues and sections.

Couze published three significant books in the Theory, Culture & Society Book Series: Occidentalism: Modernity and Subjectivity (2000); The Postcolonial Challenge: Towards Alternative Worlds (2005), and After Capital (2018).

In addition, he became reviews editor of Body & Society and played an increasingly important editorial role in the running of the journal, in particular co-editing the special issue on Affect.

In the 1970s, Couze was involved in the formation of the path-breaking journal Ideology & Consciousness which developed Foucault’s work and introduced Deleuze, Irigaray, Canguilhem. This provided the impetus for his co-authored book Changing the Subject (1984). In 1998 he moved from the University of East London in to become deputy director at the Theory, Culture & Society Centre, Nottingham Trent University, where we worked together on a series of projects, including the New Encyclopaedia Project which led to a number of symposia in different parts of the world and the publication of the TCS special issue Problematizing Global Knowledge (2006). In 2013 he became a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Couze Venn was an outstanding academic who published on a number of fields. One who had the temerity to think outside the frame, as After Capital, the title of his last book suggests. At the same time, he was also a person of great understanding and humility who always had time to positively encourage others. He was a wonderful friend, colleague and mentor to many. The spirit of his encounters and words will live on.

Mike Featherstone
March 2019

The family have requested no flowers. Donations to Rowcroft Hospice are welcome.

More tributes
Stuart Elden
Dave Beer
Valerie Walkerdine
VIAD, University of Johannesburg


  1. I was very sad to hear about Couze’s death. I was on the Cultural Studies course in the early 80’s at NELP where I had the most wonderful learning experience given to me by Couze and the other lecturers … such an eye-opener. After, I cat-sat in Chelmsford, ate fish and was royally entertained
    by Francesca, Couze and Sam! Many years have passed. So sorry …

  2. I was very sorry to hear that Couze has died. I too was on the Cultural Studies course at NELP in the early 80’s where I chose the Philosophy strand on which Couze was one of the tutors. He was very encouraging and engaging and, when I decided to stay on there for my Ph.D., he agreed to be my supervisor. I very much enjoyed these years with Couze. I always felt, in our discussions, that he provided me with the right balance between a necessary emphasis on academic rigour and the creative space to pursue my own train of thought, and I will always be grateful for his support in steering me towards successful completion. He was also very supportive when I found myself having to negotiate some personal difficulties, in particular, my having to take time out from my studies when my father was dying. He was an excellent scholar and academic and, in both his work and his dealings with others, an open and humane spirit.

  3. Couze and I were colleagues at the University of East London, where Couze’s calm and composed presence allowed others to find a space for reflection and investigation. His learning and scholarship, modestly and invitingly made available, opened windows in the minds of many at UEL. Thank-you Couze.

    1. Couze venn was my tutor at East London University. He was a noble and lovely person. I learnt from nowledge and wisdom.
      Sorry to hear about his death.
      Ouamar Azerradj
      Algerian poet and cultural critic in Arabic langue.

  4. Nearly a year now since Couze died. Yep that Cultural Studies BA at NELP in the 80s was “something else”. Nothing as good anywhere before or since. And Couze…well… how do you describe someone who can effortlessly be your teacher, your PhD supervisor, and your friend, all at once? Lovely bloke. Never understood a word of his books till “After Capital”, which is extraordinary. His best lectures at NELP were the ones when he had forgotten his notes! Entering his seminar room for the first time was like “coming home” to the sixties. My enduring memory is one of many occasions when he gave me a lift in to UEL from Chelmsford (where we both lived) and (1) I caught the look of hatred on the face of some middle aged white guy driving the other way towards this little brown man driving his car and (2) we both sat in perfect silence in awe of Dire Straits “brothers in arms”. God bless you Couze and RIP. You are fondly remembered by so many.

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