New, Aug. 22, 2015:
Click link for course syllabus
NOTE: Payment for the first semester is due by August 31. Pay through the PayPal button on the Donation page of our website http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/donate If you are unable to use it, then checks drawn on U.S. banks and dollar-denominated money orders are acceptable. They must be received at our post office box by August 31. First semester tuition is $100 unless you have received a partial tuition waiver.
Note on Course Readings (July 23, 2015)
The following (or something like it) will be in the syllabus, but since we’ve been asked whether additional texts (other than the Penguin/Vintage ed. of Capital) need to be purchased, let me note now:
Secondary Literature: I strongly urge everyone reading Capital for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) to refrain from reading others’ introductions to and primers on Capital, for now at least. They make it harder, not easier, to understand the actual text. It is almost impossible not to impose the secondary author’s apparently clear and simple “explanation” on the text one is reading. That distances you from the text. Please also bear in mind that every “explanation” is actually an interpretation, and generally a contested one.
There is an enormous secondary literature on Capital from which seasoned readers can benefit. I’ll be happy to make recommendations.
Reading Capital: I think one understands Capital much better by engaging in a serious, careful reading of the text than by reading what others say about it. The book is certainly hard, but you (yes, you) can understand the text itself. What is needed is hard work, perseverance, and attention to detail. By “attention to detail,” I do not mean focusing on a word or phrase and running with it. On the contrary, it is essential to actively employ the hermeneutic method; that is, to understand the whole of the text by means of its parts and to understand the parts by means of the whole. In other words, one must try to understand it in a way such that it becomes a coherent whole.
Dear course participants,
A syllabus and set of reading suggestions and questions are being prepared and will be sent to you in early September (or earlier).
In the meantime, please note:
- We will be using the Penguin/Vintage edition of Capital, vol. 1, translated by Ben Fowkes. It is essential to have this edition, since I will frequently refer to specific pages, read the text, etc. (In my view, this translation is frequently clearer than the other (Moore-Aveling) translation. But not always; I think Moore-Aveling does a better job of expressing mathematical relations.)
- All class sessions will take place on Sundays, 1-3 pm, Eastern time in U.S.
- The first semester’s classes will run every week from September 20 through December 20. The December 20 session will be dedicated to outstanding questions and review; no new material will be covered.
- The second semester classes will begin sometime in the latter half of January.
- Well before the start of the first class session, you will be provided with information on how to participate live via Livestream (preferred) and how to watch the video if you were unable to participate live.
- Your questions and comments will be welcome during the class sessions–I will take periodic breaks during class to respond to them (at least some)–as well as between class sessions. I will also respond to questions and comments raised between sessions. We are working on the details of how all this will function, and will keep you informed.