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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John E Toews
HIST 309
Seattle Campus

Marx and the Marxian Tradition in Western Thought: The Foundations of Modern Cultural Criticism I

Critically examines the formation of modern Western culture, politics, and society through an historical analysis of the work of Karl Marx and the thinkers, artists, and activists who assimilated and transformed Marxian concepts from the late nineteenth century to the present. Offered: jointly with CHID 309.

Class description

The class will examine the relationship between texts and contexts of the writings of Marx and various individual Marxists and schools of Marxists that appropriated and transformed his theories since the time of his death. How can a historical reconstruction of the contexts within which Marx and Marxists wrote and acted help us to grasp the specific relevance their thought might have for the way we think now? We hope to conjure up their voices from the past so they can enter into our conversations in the present.

Student learning goals

Enhance understanding of the meanings of the texts of Marx and his heirs by learning to read and interpret them in their historical contexts

Develop an understanding of the theoretical foundations of a major strand of secular critique of modern western Culture.

Learn to think historically about thinkers of the past as well as about themselves.

Learn to think critically and analytically about human freedom and how it is shaped by systems of labor, forms of exchange, and networks of power.

General method of instruction

Lcture/discussion

Recommended preparation

Some preliminary knowledge of European history in the q19th and 20th cengtruies

Class assignments and grading

Students will be asked to submit regular questions about and/or responses to the readings. A 8-10 page research and writing project will also be required. This project may involve a classroom presentation. Midterm and Final Exams will entail short answers to 10 questions based on class lectures and readings. These questions will be chosen from a list of study questions distributed in advance.

(Midterm and Final exams 20% each Weekly responses to reading assignments 25% Research and Writing Project 25% Participation in class discussions and occasional in-class writing assignments 10%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by John E Toews
Date: 05/22/2013