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You are here: Platypus/Platypus primary Marxist reading group Summer and Fall/Autumn 2012 – Winter 2013

Platypus primary Marxist reading group Summer and Fall/Autumn 2012 – Winter 2013

Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Toronto

Saturdays 1–4PM CST

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
112 S. Michigan Ave. room 920

University of Chicago (UChicago)
Reynolds Club 5706 S. University Ave. 2nd floor South Lounge*

(* 10/6, 10/13 and 11/3 UChicago meetings in basement conference room 019)

Chicago Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/140497572752262/

Saturdays 2–5PM EST

Harvard University
Emerson Hall room 318

Boston Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/270185313082455/

Saturdays 2–5PM

Cafe OTO
18-22 Ashwin Street Dalston London E8 3DL

London Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/148283905314897/

Sundays 2–5PM EST

New School University
Eugene Lang College
65 W. 11th St. room 258

NYC Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/258824880896215/

Thursdays 6–9PM EST

University of Toronto
71 Queen’s Park Crescent, Second Floor Group Study Room

Toronto Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/530091583675075/


Summer and Fall/Autumn 2012 – Winter 2013

I. What is the Left? -- What is Marxism?

• required / + recommended reading

Marx and Engels readings pp. from Robert C. Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader (Norton 2nd ed., 1978)


Week A. Radical bourgeois philosophy I. Rousseau: Crossroads of society | Aug. 4–5, 2012

Whoever dares undertake to establish a people’s institutions must feel himself capable of changing, as it were, human nature, of transforming each individual, who by himself is a complete and solitary whole, into a part of a larger whole, from which, in a sense, the individual receives his life and his being, of substituting a limited and mental existence for the physical and independent existence. He has to take from man his own powers, and give him in exchange alien powers which he cannot employ without the help of other men.
-- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract (1762)

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by James Miller (on Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Louis Menand (on Edmund Wilson), Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58), and Peter Preuss (on Nietzsche)
+ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" (1908)
+ Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)
• Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1754) PDFs of preferred translation (5 parts): [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
• Rousseau, selection from On the Social Contract (1762)


Week B. Radical bourgeois philosophy II. Hegel: Freedom in history | Aug. 11–12, 2012

• G.W.F. Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History (1831) [HTML] [PDF pp. 14-128]


Week C. Radical bourgeois philosophy III. Nietzsche (1): Life in history | Aug. 18–19, 2012

• Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life (1874) [translator's introduction by Peter Preuss]


Week D. Radical bourgeois philosophy IV. Nietzsche (2): Asceticism of moderns | Aug. 25–26, 2012

+ Human, All Too Human: Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil (1999)
• Nietzsche, selection from On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense (1873)
• Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic (1887)


Week E. 1960s New Left I. Neo-Marxism | Sep. 1–2, 2012 Labor Day weekend

• Martin Nicolaus, “The unknown Marx” (1968)
• Moishe Postone, “Necessity, labor, and time” (1978)
+ Postone, “History and helplessness: Mass mobilization and contemporary forms of anticapitalism” (2006)
+ Postone, “Theorizing the contemporary world: Brenner, Arrighi, Harvey” (2006)


Week F. 1960s New Left II. Gender and sexuality | Sep. 8–9, 2012

• Juliet Mitchell, “Women: The longest revolution” (1966)
• Clara Zetkin and Vladimir Lenin, “An interview on the woman question” (1920)
• Theodor W. Adorno, “Sexual taboos and the law today” (1963)
• John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and gay identity” (1983)


Week G. 1960s New Left III. Anti-black racism in the U.S. | Sep. 15–16, 2012

• Richard Fraser, “Two lectures on the black question in America and revolutionary integrationism” (1953)
• James Robertson and Shirley Stoute, “For black Trotskyism” (1963)
+ Spartacist League, “Black and red: Class struggle road to Negro freedom” (1966)
+ Bayard Rustin, “The failure of black separatism” (1970)
• Adolph Reed, “Black particularity reconsidered” (1979)
+ Reed, “Paths to Critical Theory” (1984)


Week H. Frankfurt School precursors | Sep. 22–23, 2012

• Wilhelm Reich, “Ideology as material power” (1933/46)
• Siegfried Kracauer, “The mass ornament” (1927)
+ Kracauer, “Photography” (1927)


Week 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in history | Sep. 29–30, 2012

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels) and Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58)
• Chris Cutrone, "Capital in history" (2008)
+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms
• Cutrone, "The Marxist hypothesis" (2010)


Week 2. What is the Left? II. Bourgeois society | Oct. 6–7, 2012

• Immanuel Kant, "Idea for a universal history from a cosmopolitan point of view" and "What is Enlightenment?" (1784)
• Benjamin Constant, "The liberty of the ancients compared with that of the moderns" (1819)
+ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the origin of inequality (1754)
+ Rousseau, selection from On the social contract (1762)


Week 3. What is the Left? III. Failure of Marxism | Oct. 13–14, 2012

• Max Horkheimer, selections from Dämmerung (1926–31)
• Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)


Week 4. What is the Left? IV. Utopia and critique | Oct. 20–21, 2012

• Leszek Kolakowski, “The concept of the Left” (1968)
• Marx, To make the world philosophical (from Marx's dissertation, 1839–41), pp. 9–11
• Marx, For the ruthless criticism of everything existing (letter to Arnold Ruge, September 1843), pp. 12–15


Week 5. What is Marxism? I. Socialism | Oct. 27–28, 2012

• Marx, selections from Economic and philosophic manuscripts (1844), pp. 70–101
• Marx and Friedrich Engels, selections from the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), pp. 469-500
• Marx, Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League (1850), pp. 501–511


Week 6. What is Marxism? II. Revolution in 1848 | Nov. 3–4, 2012

• Engels, The tactics of social democracy (Engels's 1895 introduction to Marx, The Class Struggles in France), pp. 556–573
• Marx, selections from The Class Struggles in France 1848–50 (1850), pp. 586–593
• Marx, selections from The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852), pp. 594–617


Week 7. What is Marxism? III. Bonapartism | Nov. 10–11, 2012

+ Karl Korsch, "The Marxism of the First International" (1924)
• Marx, Inaugural address to the First International (1864), pp. 512–519
• Marx, selections from The Civil War in France (1871, including Engels's 1891 Introduction), pp. 618–652
+ Korsch, Introduction to Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1922)
• Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, pp. 525–541
• Marx, Programme of the Parti Ouvrier (1880)


Week 8. What is Marxism? IV. Critique of political economy | Nov. 17–18, 2012

• Marx, selections from the Grundrisse (1857–61), pp. 222–226, 236–244, 247–250, 282–294
• Marx, Capital Vol. I, Ch. 1 Sec. 4 "The fetishism of commodities" (1867), pp. 319–329


Week 9. Nov. 24–25, 2012 Thanksgiving break


Winter break readings

+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)
+ Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19 (1968)
+ Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (1940), Part II. Ch. (1–4,) 5–10, 12–16; Part III. Ch. 1–6
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
+ James Joll, The Second International 1889–1914 (1966)


Week 10. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Dec. 1–2, 2012 / Jan. 5–6, 2013

• Georg Lukács, “The phenomenon of reification” (Part I of “Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat,” History and Class Consciousness, 1923)


Week 11. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Dec. 8–9, 2012 / Jan. 12–13, 2013

• Lukács, Original Preface (1922), “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919), “Class Consciousness” (1920), History and Class Consciousness (1923)
+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302


Week 12. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Dec. 15–16, 2012 / Jan. 19–20, 2013

• Korsch, “Marxism and philosophy” (1923)
+ Marx, To make the world philosophical (from Marx's dissertation, 1839–41), pp. 9–11
+ Marx, For the ruthless criticism of everything existing (letter to Arnold Ruge, September 1843), pp. 12–15
+ Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach" (1845), pp. 143–145


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