This seminar will elucidate the fundamental tenets of Marx’s philosophy, as well as their importance for understanding and transforming the contemporary world order. It will begin by explaining key concepts like historical materialism, class struggle, alienation, the labor theory of value, ideology and revolution. It will then briefly discuss a few of the important debates in the deep and broad history of Marxism in order to explore some of the ways that Marx’s work has been interpreted and transformed by subsequent generations. Finally, the course will focus in on what Marxist analysis has to contribute to contemporary debates and struggles by demonstrating how it can help us understand phenomena such as the environmental catastrophe, the increasing social inequality of globalization, the carceral state and its relationship to electoral democracy, the military-industrial-academic complex, institutional racism and gender inequality. Although the course will be directed at a lay audience, it will pedagogically build up its analysis in such a way that it will also serve the interests of those with a working knowledge of Marx and Marxism.
Click here (or see below) to watch my lecture at the Critical Theory Workshop‘s spring symposium on Counter-History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania on April 26, 2019, entitled “From Counter-History to Subterranean History: Soft Power and the Construction of ‘French Theory.'” (discussant: Jennifer Ponce de León).
I’m excited to collaborate with Emre Çetin Gürer and the University of the Commons to launch an online seminar in July on “International Critical Theory,” which will run in parallel to the Critical Theory Workshop‘s summer program in Paris. If you’re interested in the topic, click here for all of the details.
The Critical Theory Workshop, in collaboration with the University of the Commons, is proposing an online seminar that will run in parallel to the July workshop in Paris, extending its work into a global virtual network of scholars while facilitating the participation of those who cannot afford to travel. By combining live streams and recordings of select events in Paris with a series of participatory symposia run by the facilitator, the course seeks to put global communications technology in the service of an ecological and widely accessible format for international education. Continue reading
AESTHETICS: TOWARD A RADICAL HISTORY
This seminar will explore some of the most vexing questions in the history of aesthetics: What is art? How does it relate to the ‘real’ world of politics and society? How has it developed and changed over time? It will examine some of the responses given to these questions by major thinkers like Georg Lukács, Herbert Marcuse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag and Jacques Rancière. This will lead to a broader interrogation into the very presuppositions that structure these types of questions, as well as their answers, thereby opening space for a tectonic shift in our understanding of aesthetics, its social roles, and its history.
In its broadest sense, this shift will lead from an understanding of aesthetics as having a more or less fixed nature to one in which it is radically historicized by being recognized as a dynamic social product of certain cultures. Examining the networks of production, circulation and reception operative in what is called art in the modern ‘Western’ world, with an eye to its variations across time, space and social strata, this course inspects how the European world has developed—and then attempted to universalize—a very unique concept and practice of aesthetics, which is bound up in various ways with colonial expansion and the capitalist exhibition of symbolic goods.
Registration: Click here
Here is the discussion that I had with Jennifer Ponce de León at the Critical Theory Workshop / Atelier de Théorie Critique in Paris on June 25, 2018, entitled “The Art of Moving through the Looking Glass: Aesthetics and Revolution”: