CU71012A “Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

Hi – If you are coming to my course on Marx’s Capital in 2010 (starts Jan 14th), for the first lecture it would be helpful if you have seen, or again seen, Orson Welles’ film ‘Citizen Kane’. And if you know someone who is going to do this course and wanted to do some Xmas period (or Mao’s birthday – 26 Dec) shopping and get them a present, it would not hurt to get them a box set of “Battlestar Galactica”. – J

Lecture course Spring 2010 – Centre for Cultural Studies.

CU71012A “Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

Lecturer: Professor John Hutnyk (thursdays 11am-1pm [Tom’s seminars 3-5]).

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:

T Adorno, The Culture Industry

A Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures

M. Taussig My Cocaine Museum

G Bataille, The Accursed Share

K Marx, Capital: Volume One

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

Many of the lectures will include visual material. Very occasionally this may be part of a feature film or a longer documentary and on such occasion the rest of the film should be viewed in the Library. Usually a short screening will occur in the second hour of the scheduled lecture.

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). The key secondary text will be in a reader pack available from the CCS office

Mode of Assessment: This course is assessed by a 5,000 word essay to be submitted to the Centre for Cultural Studies office early in April 2010.


4 thoughts on “CU71012A “Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

    1. Absolutely Hilarious, especially the first one. As are the comments on you tube:

      “Oh my god… I never saw it that way.  Thank you for showing me the light!”

      “They feared Communism so much they felt compelled to be dishonest; there is not one mention here of why Communism exists, the horrible conditions it detests against, the material inequalities of American society, and the fear of the fatcats who run the nation against losing everything they hold dear… Their money.
      yakooza (3 days ago) +1 Reply

      “This is the most ridiculous propaganda ever”
      feflowers (3 days ago) +2 Reply

      “Manipulating just as they still (and will always) do in United States :P”

      Thanks for that.

  1. Even better – the comment on part two – its so deliciously loopy to think of Obama as far left!:

    “The US has been the main stumbling block in the spread of global communism & that’s why today the far left have subverted the country & engineered the election of a far left leader.
    In Europe the far left, who claim to support womens rights, come out to support Sharia Law. Communists who are anti religion shout to defend the rights of islamic terror preachers & the like.
    Their intention is to ferment hatred, instability, poverty & civil war, whilst blaming capitalist/democracy, so they can rise.”

    Gobsmackingly loopy.

    Then the Goodbye Lenin clip you chose ends with the question: ‘what is actually happening here?’ – from an otherwise trite movie about trinkets, its a beautiful sequence. Thanks again. J

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