English 177

Literature and Philosophy: Reading Capital

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2020 Lye, Colleen
MW 10:30-12 note new location: 300 Wheeler

Book List

Federici, Silvia: Caliban and the Witch; Heinrich, Michael: An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital; Marx, Karl: Capital, Vol. 1

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be made available on bCourses.


Marx's Capital stands as one of the foundational texts of modern critical theory. Some acknowledge openly the debts owed to Marx's critique of political economy and of the capitalist mode of production; others consider the obligations odious. Between Marxist critics and Marx's critics, Capital casts a lengthy shadow.

Never more relevant than today—in our epoch characterized by ever-intensifying crisis, variously manifesting as the imminent collapse of financial, political, ecological systems, indeed of the very notion of society or the social itself—Capital, Volume 1 (in its entirety) will serve as the primary text for this course. In contrast to the more typical wide-ranging syllabus (my own usual ones included), this course will assume a slower, more meticulous pace with a single work; we will devote the majority of the semester to a careful, critical reading of this difficult but infinitely rewarding text. To supplement our primary reading of Marx we will devote the final quarter of our semester to consider the legacy of Capital on Marxist Feminism, studying both classic texts by authors such as Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James, Lise Vogel, and Silvia Federici, along with more recent writings in Social Reproduction Theory, and Value Form theory.

Note: Please be sure to purchase the Penguin edition of Marx's Capital

This course satisfies the university's Philosophy and Values breadth requirement.

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