C L 382 (29700) Marxisms

Fall 2001

C L 382 (29700) :


Instructor: Katherine Arens <k.arens@mail.utexas.edu>
Office: E. P. Schoch 3.128
Course Website: by title at http://www.utexas.edu/courses/arens

This course is designed to introduce significant twentieth-century variants of Marxist thought in their historical contexts.

To do so, it will start with a selection of seminal texts by Marx and Engels, including excerpts from Kapital, Value, Price and Profit, the Communist Manifesto and The German Ideology. These texts will allow us to establish the Young-Hegelian framework within which classical Marxism sets its discussions of consciousness, ideology, and historical structures.

After that, we will turn to two clusters of twentieth-century thought derivative of this Marxist inheritance: the Frankfurt School and the postmodern debate that grew out of it, and French marxisms from the College of Sociology through Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, Kristeva, and de Cerfteau.

The Frankfurt School focuses on how the base and group consciousness interrelate, especially under the aegis of the mass media, yielding later contributions like Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action. In its US incarnation, it fuels one version of the postmodern debate (e.g. Huyssen). In contrast, the French marxist derivatives of the same generation are much more concerned with power relations, and with the interconnections between identity and the basis -- with how the superstructure uses its position vis-à-vis the base to create a hegemonic culture.

The goal of this course is to set areas of philosophy and theory that are too often (and incorrectly) held apart into relations with each other, to open vistas about how these theories apply to analyze real historical and cultural situations, and to show what variant definitions of human identity are at play.

Books will be ordered in English, and in French or German where reasonably-priced editions exist. In all cases, they will be made avaiable on reserve at PCL. Reading the originals is strongly recommended, and students claiming one of these as their language will be required to use original-language texts in their papers. No prior background required.

No late work accepted unless arranged in advance or with documented medical excuse.

Books (preliminary list, to be expanded):

The Portable Marx, ed. Kamenka
The Young Hegelians (anthology)
>Arato, ed. The Essential Frankfurt School Reader
Habermas, Theory of Commuicative Action
Lyotard, The Lyotard Reader
Hollier, ed. The College of Sociology
Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language
---, Semiotike
(French only)
---, Kristeva Reader
---, Interviews
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus and 1000 Plateaux
Guattari, Chaosmosis
Foucault, Interviews


7 one-page precis or oral reports x 5% = 35 %
1 abstract = 10 %
1 short paper (7 pp) = 25%
1 longer paper (expanding on abstract and short paper) = 40 %