English 188A-1 - Winter, 2023

Topics in Literary & Critical Theory


Class Information

Instructor: Clover, Joshua
CRN: 44733
Time: MW 3:10-4:30
Location: Remote


Karl Marx is distinct among name-brand theorists in that liberation struggles have been fought invoking his name & ideas around the globe, from the Soviet Union to Laos to Nicaragua to Guinea-Bissau. And yet, while his core theoretical work knows what it hates (it's right in the title!), it declines to offer an alternative political project or proposal or plan. How can we read *Capital* in the context of particular struggles in the present or visions for a fully free society? And can we separate it from either its source in the European 19th century, or its association with a kind of bummer history of actually existing communist states? Basically, we'll read that one book, trying to get a handle on its extraordinary discoveries of the inner nature of capitalism, while thinking about this question: can Marx's analysis of capitalism speak to forms of revolution in the present?


Grading will have three components. (1) This is a small seminar, and expects sustained engagement from every participant that demonstrates that you've done the reading & thought about it. (2) Two sets of short reading notes. (3) A final essay on a self-chosen (& approved) topic drawn from the book.


Capital, Vol. 1, Karl Marx, Ben Fowkes translation