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Marx and Marxism
GOVT 354
Fall 2024
Section: 01  

What does it mean to "think like a Marxist" or "see the world as a Marxist" might? What are the fundamental concepts, categories, methods, and modes of inquiry we associate with the work of Karl Marx and those who consider themselves "Marxists"? What are the significant political, social, and theoretical problems that motivate scholars, activists, and citizens who participate in this ongoing tradition of thought and practice? This course will provide students with points of entry to make sense of these questions, placing particular emphasis on Marxism as a multifaceted and evolving method that rather than a dogmatic worldview that sets forth a series of rigid truth claims. Together, we will work to decipher some of the key texts produced by Karl Marx and others within the Marxist tradition. This will in turn enable us to parse out a diverse set of theoretical, historical, empirical, and normative questions, which, in addition to those above, include the following: 1. What is capitalism? How did Marx believe it worked, and how do contemporary Marxists believe it works in the present? What, if anything, is wrong with capitalism as a mode of social organization? What are the theoretical tools Marxists use to approach these questions? What are the diagnostic and prescriptive elements of the theory? 2. How do Marxists tend to explain contemporary socio-political pathologies like racialization, class domination, imperialism, fascist resurgence, environmental catastrophe, gender-based domination, or the degradation of democratic politics? What might this method allow us to see that other modes of inquiry cannot? 3. How, if at all, must Marxist styles of inquiry adapt in order to maintain their relevance as analytical tools? How have more contemporary Marxist thinkers expanded, modified, or critiqued the work of Marx in order to maintain the life of the tradition? Which new categories have been integrated into Marxist theorizing in recent decades, and to what effect? 4. What is insufficient with the Marxist method? What inevitably falls outside of its purview? Is this a fatal flaw or a problem to be corrected? Is it appropriate for us to ask that this method allow us to explain everything? 5. What is "Marxism" and how might it differ from the work of Marx himself? How do we link certain seemingly disparate literatures together as a coherent movement? In other words, what makes "Marxism" an "ism"?
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS GOVT
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (GOVT)(GOVT-Theory)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-20-2024
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