ENGL 8510/CSDS 8910/CL 8910: Reading Marxisms will be taught fall 2010 by Ellen Messer-Davidow on Thursdays 4:00-6:30 p.m. This seminar will investigate the relations between capital and culture, structure and subject, actuality and textuality.
Engl 8510/CSDS 8910/CL 8910: READING MARXISMS
Ellen Messer-Davidow, Fall 2010, Thu 4-6:30 pm
Marxist theory and analysis are fascinating in themselves--Marx and Engels on the modes of production and exchange, alienation; Luxemburg on accumulation and imperialism; Gramsci on hegemony and worker organizations; Althusser on ideology and the subject; and post-Marxists on the social formation's multiple elements.
As importantly, how can we use Marxian analysis to understand the global re-formation of capital and culture in which we are immured? What does it reveal about media conglomeration and the selling of the war in Iraq? What can it say about McDonald's in Beijing and call centers in Bangalore? How would it explain the 2008 economic meltdown in the U.S. and the current insolvency of Greece? What future would it predict for capital and culture?
Within the macro-trends, what's happening to the little guys--the single mom and her two kids in Newark, the family-owned drug store in Dubuque, the Chicano farm workers in the San Fernando valley, the elderly widow in Pompano, and the students graduating from the University of Minnesota? What's happening to accurate and understandable facts as the roiling discourse on public issues rolls through media and legislatures?
This seminar will investigate the relations between capital and culture, structure and subject, actuality and textuality. We will study classical, neo-, and post-Marxist texts that theorize socioeconomic formations. We will read work by contemporary scholars and journalists who probe real-world problems. And we will use the work to examine the effects of globalizing capitalism.