Global Marxism

Colors NYC
178 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002

Few thinkers in modern history have had a larger or more global reception than Karl Marx. For much of the 20th century in particular, movements for justice and liberation – economic, national, racial, gendered – embraced Marxism in many of its myriad iterations. Yet, in the view of some scholars, this was largely a one-way street of “colonial mimicry,” wherein local elites strove after uniquely European models of emancipation. Is Marxism a Eurocentric affair?

This course takes up this question by surveying some of the massive output of heterodox Marxist thought produced outside of European and North American contexts — writings that not only engaged local, non-European conditions, but also challenged some of “‘traditional” Marxism’s most deeply held convictions. We will read a fascinating selection of non-European Marxian work, from the liberation theologies of disparate figures like Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Gustavo Gutierrez, and Gendun Chopel, to the pioneering historical analyses of C.L.R. James, to the original philosophical humanisms of M.N. Roy and Zhang Shiying. We will also investigate contemporary conversations as to whether Marxian and post-colonial thought are irreconcilable, as debated by theorists like Gayatri Spivak, Vivek Chibber, and Perry Anderson. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to examine exactly how and in what ways non-European Marxists “represented themselves” by daring to upend Marxism’s Eurocentric biases and foundations without jettisoning an analytic framework that such thinkers understood as fundamental to the project of all human liberation.

Course Schedule

Thursday, 6:30-9:30pm
July 07 — July 28, 2016
4 weeks