Philosophy: Reading Marx's Capital


Winter 2022
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
4 Credits per quarter
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El Salvador has just started mining bitcoin using the energy from volcanoes.

—CNBC headline, Oct 2, 2021

Right now, questions of work, value, profit, and exploitation seem particularly lively to many of us. What better time to read Marx’s Capital? This philosophical approach to that exciting, and challenging, historical text will be grounded in a reading of Capital, vol. I, in its entirety. Reading will help us all become different readers, developing our skills in reading and interpreting historical texts. We will succeed in that work with help of colleagues, friends, and new resources.  Along the way, we will gain a new vocabulary and a set of complex and rich concepts: use value and exchange value, money and capital, surplus value and profit, commodities, wages, and exploitation.  We will not directly study the weird world of new financial instruments and crypto-currencies, but the liveliness of our historical moment will inform our reading of Marx.

Students can expect an average 10-12 hours of work a week total, including class sessions. Our collaborative approach to Marx's Capital will be rooted in practices of “social reading,” and in addition to the primary reading assignment, it will include two hours of interactive “asynchronous” close reading activities, assigned secondary readings and talks, a weekly writing or creative assignment, and a two hour “synchronous” seminar once a week.  The course will be entirely remote, and we will work to build intellectual friendships and a genuine reading collective in that environment.

Proposed credit equivalency: 4 credits Philosophy: Reading Marx's Capital. Students in this 4-credit offering should in general not also register for the 12-credit Marx's Capital: Capital, Crypto-, and the Mystery of Money. (Students interested in pursuing particular depth associated with this text can contact the faculty at to ask for an exception to that restriction, to discuss the additional individual work that would be required of students in that dual enrollment.)


Winter 2022 Registration

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humanities, social sciences, creative practice, public service, teaching

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First Meeting