Herbert Marcuse: Eros and Civilization
How do we fight for freedom within repressive society? This question lays at the heart of Herbert Marcuse’s classic work Eros and Civilization. For Marcuse, the means we have to liberation within repressive society is through Eros. Unlike petit-bourgeois love, which is ideologically mediated by the economy of capitalism, with its demand to engage constantly in productive activity, Eros is without purpose. It is polymorphously perverse by nature, and freed from the constraints of productive society. In order to liberate ourselves, and truly love, we must take charge of our libidinal energy. In this course, we will read the entirety of Eros and Civilization while asking: What is Marcuse’s account of capitalist society and sexual repression? How does he draw together the works of Freud and Marx in order to think about repressive society? Can sexual liberation free us from capitalism? Is sexual liberation possible absent the radical transformation of social and economic life? We’ll also take a look at some critical works from Marcuse’s antecedents including Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Schiller, Reich, Kollantai, and Adorno.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm EST
April 08 — April 29, 2021