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Marxism and Climate Crisis
CHUM 398
Spring 2025
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 398, STS 398, GRST 298

Since the Communist Manifesto of 1848, the notion of "crisis" has played a prominent role in Marxist theorizing. Today's intensifying climate crisis is lending new theoretical and political weight to the Marxist critique of extractive and consumptive capitalist actions that transform nature into a means of production for ensuring ceaseless economic growth through the accumulation of capital. The consequences of this are not only the exhaustion of human labor-power but also of non-human nature (fossilized carbon, wild animal biomass, top soils, clean water, etc.). Our perspective for studying and understanding this transformation of nature will primarily be informed by a set of recent "eco Marxist" writings that break with traditional Marxist productivism in favor of an eco-critical analysis that reconceptualizes capitalism neither as an economic nor social system but rather as "a way of organizing nature" (J. Moore). In light of the Center's semester theme of Energy and Exhaustion, we will ask three sets of questions: historical (about the origins of the Capitalocene and of "fossil capital"); theoretical (how is Marx's "general law of accumulation" also a law of environmental depletion and planetary limits?); and political (traditional "Promethean" Marxism envisioned revolution as the full actualization of productive forces; what is the meaning of revolution in the age of natural exhaustion and climate crisis, when the limits of human historical agency are drawing closer with each new tipping point?).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-22-2024
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