University For Strategic Optimism – Course on Capital Vol I

by | 4 Jan 2011

The University For Strategic Optimism, in conjunction with the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, is pleased to announce a semester long course on Vol I of Karl Marx’s Capital. The course will be led by Professor John Hutnyk (Goldsmiths) and our very own visiting lecturer Dr. Theolonius Weisengrund (UfSO). The course is free and open to all – opening the university to the public and freeing up the discursive possibilities within the university. Students who wish to take part in this course through the UfSO will be asked to create their own project for assessment that will give credits towards a UfSO degree – this could take the form of a lecture to be given at one of our upcoming events.

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 18th January 2011 between 4 and 7pm and will run for 10 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths College. Students are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers or Progress Press editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. (French and German editions are fine also but students should be advised that Dr. Weisengrund has shown particular hostility towards the abridged English edition.) There is likely to be a parallel reading/discussion group, held upstairs at the Amersham Arms, that will look to relate the week’s reading to the current crisis of capital, and neo-liberalism’s slash-happy response. Related movies will also be shown in the Richard Hoggart Building Cinema from 6pm on Mondays.

Cultural Studies and Capitalism

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One). The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.

Indicative reading: The main reading will be the relevant chapter or chapters of Capital each week. Do also read the footnotes, they are sometimes quite entertaining (attacks on ‘moneybags’, comments on Shakespeare, notes on bamboo ‘thrashings’, and celebrations of the work of Leonard Horner, factory inspector).

K Marx, Capital: Volume One

T Adorno, The Culture Industry

A Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures

M. Taussig My Cocaine Museum

G Bataille, The Accursed Share

Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto

G Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason

S Zizek, Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin from 1917

S Lotringer (ed), Hatred of Capitalism: A Reader

1 Comment

  1. Hi – is this series of lectures still happening? Do I need to book or should I just turn up on Tue to the Ben Pimlott lecture theatre… oh and don’t you need a Goldsmiths card to access that building?


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