Derek Stanovsky | Watauga College | Interdisciplinary Studies Department | Appalachian State University
Marx for Beginners
Fall 2006

IDS 2202-105: Tangents
TR 12:30-1:45, LLR 263

Marx Blog
The MarX-Files: Online Resources

Dr. Derek Stanovsky
Office: LLA 125  Office Phone: 262-2441
Office Hours: MW 11:00-1:00, TR 11:00-12:30 and by appointment 
Home page:
Truckin' Marx
Course Description:
In his youth, Karl Marx wrote that his aim was to accomplish "a ruthless criticism of everything existing." In this spirit, this course provides an introduction to Marx and Marxist criticism. We will begin with readings from Marx himself, covering topics on philosophy, economics, history, religion, revolution, and the family. This will be supplemented with readings from Rius' classic, Marx for Beginners. Along the way we will perform, both individually and collectively, our own ruthless Marxist criticisms of the culture and institutions surrounding us: local, national, and international politics; television; radio; film; music; the university; and this class itself will all be fair game.


Bamberger and Davidson. Closing: The Life & Death of an American Factory. NY: Norton, 1999. (Rental Textbook).
Bowe, Bowe, and Streeter, eds. Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs. NY: Three Rivers Press, 2001.
Rius. Marx for Beginners. NY: Pantheon, 1976.
Tucker, Robert C., ed. The Marx-Engels Reader. NY: Norton, 1978.
Course Requirements:
The most important requirements for this course are regular class attendance, participation, and preparation. You should come prepared to ask and answer questions and to discuss the readings each day. The formal grading requirements are as follows:
Class Participation 25%
Alienation Paper 25%
Capital Exam 25%
Final Symposium 25%
The class participation portion of your grade will be based on regular class attendance and participation as well as on periodic homeworks, blog posts, and in-class individual and small group assignments. 

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 written assignments detailed below are grounds for failing this course.

There will be one in-class essay exam during the semester. 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.

There will be one 3-5 page paper. Your paper should be typed, double-spaced, 12 point type, standard margins and no longer than 5 pages. Late papers will be docked one-third of a letter grade for each day late. More information on this assignment will be handed out at a later date.

There will be a final symposium during the regularly scheduled final exam period in which groups will present their own original Marxist analysis based on the book Gig. More information on this assignment will be handed out at a later date.

With regard to papers and all other assignments for this course, you are expected to know and follow the current ASU Code of Academic Integrity.

Tentative Class Schedule:
T 8/22 Introductions. 

Check your campus email for an invitation from to join our class blog. Post a brief introduction about yourself to the blog. Please only post information you are comfortable sharing publicly, but consider including the following: Your first name, your likely major and minor, your particular interest in taking this class, and one thing you've heard about Marx already whether true or not.
TH 8/24 Rius, pp. 1-35. "Marx on the History of His Opinions," (Tucker, pp. 3-6), "Discovering Hegel," (Tucker, pp. 7-8), "Speech at the Graveside of Karl Marx," (Tucker, pp. 681-682).

T 8/29 Rius, pp. 36-64. "For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing," (Tucker, pp. 12-15). "Contribution to the Critique ...," (Tucker, pp. 53-65).
TH 8/31 Rius, pp. 65-95. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, (Tucker, pp. 70-81).

T 9/5 Alienation Day.

T 9/12 "Theses on Feuerbach," (Tucker, pp. 143-5), The German Ideology, (Tucker, pp. 146-75).
TH 9/14 Rius, pp. 95-142. Manifesto of the Communist Party, (Tucker, pp. 473-483).

T 9/19 Manifesto of the Communist Party, (Tucker, pp. 483-491 and 499-500).
TH 9/21 Alienation Paper Due.

T 9/26 Capital, "The Secret of Primitive Accumulation," (Tucker, pp. 431-438).
TH 9/28 Capital, "Commodities," (Tucker, pp. 294-298 and 302-308).

T 10/3 Capital, "Commodities," (Tucker, pp. 308-319).
TH 10/5 Capital, "Commodities," (Tucker, pp. 319-329).

T 10/10 Capital, "The General Formula for Capital," (Tucker, pp. 329-343).
TH 10/12 Capital, "The Labour Process," (Tucker, pp. 344-361).

T 10/17 Capital, "The Working Day," (Tucker, pp. 361-384).

T 10/24 Capital, "The Division of Labour," (Tucker, pp. 384-431).
TH 10/26 Discussion / Review.

T 10/31 Capital Exam.
TH 11/2 Michael Moore, Roger & Me.

T 11/7 Michael Moore, Pets or Meat / Discussion of Videos.
TH 11/9 Closing, Preface and Chapters 1-3, pp. 1-103. Student Presentations & Discussion.

T 11/14 Closing, Chapters 4-7 and Epilogue, pp. 104-213. Student Presentations & Discussion.
TH 11/16 Final Symposium Group Assignments on Gig. Group Work. 

T 11/21 TBA

T 11/28 Group Work.
TH 11/30 Group Work.

T 12/5 Group Work.

Final Symposium During Regularly Scheduled Final Exam Time (Thursday, December 7, 3:00 - 5:30 PM ).