Marx's Capital

Fall 2014. IDS 3650-101
LLR 263, MW 2:00-3:15

Dr. Derek Stanovsky

Office: LLA 125 Phone: 262-2441
Home page:

The MarX-Files: Resources and Links
Marx Blog

Karl Marx
Lithograph by Hugo Gellert, 1934.

Course Description:
We will read Karl Marx's monumental work Capital, Volume I. The course will provide both an introduction to Marx as well as an in-depth study of his major theoretical work, and will explore the transdisciplinary uses of Marxian theory in illuminating a wide variety issues across disciplinary boundaries. Students will be asked to draw connections between Marx's writings and their own fields of study, and we will spend time examining the ways Marx's theories apply to current issues ranging from pop-culture and campus politics to recent national and international events. There are no prerequisites. W/CD

Marx, Karl. Capital, Volume I. Trans. Ben Fowkes. New York: Penguin Classics, 1992.

Course Requirements:
The most important requirements for this course are regular class attendance, preparation, and participation. You should do all the reading and come prepared to ask and answer questions each day. Keeping this in mind, the formal grading requirements are:

Class Participation and Online Writing 25%
First Exam 25%
Second Exam 25%
Final Paper 25%

The class participation portion of your grade will be based on regular class attendance and participation as well as on periodic homeworks and in-class individual and small group assignments. It will also be based on your active participation in our online class discussions and writings.

Two absences are allowed during the semester. Each additional absence will lower your class participation grade by one letter grade. More than six absences and/or failure to complete any of the graded assignments detailed below are grounds for failing the course.

There will be two in-class exams. Make-up exams are not normally given. Exceptions may be made for genuine medical emergencies or other similarly serious personal difficulties, although in such cases the format of the exam may be changed.

You will also write a final term paper applying Marx's Capital to a specific problem current event, topic from your own major or minor field of study, or other approved topic. Late papers will be docked one-third of a letter grade for each day late. More information will be handed out later in the semester.

Students should be aware of the ASU policies on academic integrity, disability services, religious obervances, and student egagement .

Course Schedule:
W 8/20 Introductions.

M 8/25 "Table of Contents" pp. 5-10. Steven Kreis' online Reflections on Karl Marx and Karl Marx, 1818-1883.
W 8/27 Part Eight: So-Called Primitive Accumulation. Chapters 26-30, pp. 873-913.

W 9/3 Chapters 31-33, pp. 914-940.

M 9/8 "Preface to First Edition," 89-93. Part One: Commodities and Money. Chapter 1, section 1 pp. 125-131.
W 9/10 Chapter 1, sections 2 and 3, pp. 131-163.

M 9/15 Chapter 1, section 4, pp. 163-177.
W 9/17 Chapter 2, pp. 178-187.

M 9/22 Chapter 3, section 2, pp. 198-227.
W 9/24 Part Two: The Transformation of Money into Capital. Chapters 4-5, pp. 247-269.

M 9/29 Chapter 6, pp. 270-280.
W 10/1 Part Three: The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value. Chapter 7, pp. 283-306.

M 10/6 Discussion / Review.
W 10/8 First Exam.

M 10/13 Video in class: Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times.
W 10/15 TBA

M 10/20 Chapters 8-9, pp. 307-339.
W 10/22 Chapters 10-11, pp. 340-389 and 417-426.

M 10/27 Part Four: The Production of Relative Surplus-Value. Chapters 12-14, pp. 429-454 and 480-491.
W 10/29 Chapter 15, sections 1-3, pp. 492-542.

M 11/3 Part Six: Wages. Chapters 19-20, pp. 675-691.
W 11/5 Chapters 21-22, pp. 692-706.

M 11/10 Discussion: Are Students Workers? / Final Paper Topics.

W 11/12 Part Seven: The Process of Accumulation of Capital. Chapters 23-24, pp. 709-761.

M 11/17 Chapter 25, sections 1-4, pp. 762-802.
W 11/19 Discussion / Review

M 11/24 Second Exam.

M 12/1 Video in class: Zizek!
W 12/3 Discussion / Conclusions.

Final paper due during final exam period: Tuesday, December 9 from 9:00 AM -11:30 AM.