Marxist Summer School
The Institute for the Radical Imagination is pleased to announce the creation of the Marxist Summer School, to be held yearly. For 2020, the Summer School will take place from June 28th through July 11th on the Greek island of Kasos. The Marxist Summer School is designed to enable those who are new to historical materialism as well as more advanced participants to address fundamental questions, concepts, and texts in an intensive way and in an inclusive, non-sectarian, and congenial setting. There will be two daily seminar sessions (held in the Kasos municipal library) where participants will collaborate on close readings of texts and address some of the core political problems of our times: from ecological devastation, the transformation of desire and subjectivity, and the politics of economic austerity to the new forms of technocratic capitalism and the ever-increasing tendency toward authoritarian rule.
The Marxist Summer School is open to everyone with intellectual drive and revolutionary zeal and does not require any previous preparation. Students can register on the Institute website. There is a non-refundable registration fee of $100 and tuition is $500 weekly, the tuition includes a single occupancy hotel room (there can be reduced rates for those who want to share a room) and one communal meal each day. Students can register for a single week or both weeks. There will be a maximum of 25 students in total, some financial aid may be available for students on a need basis.
Kasos is a very small island with about 800 residents. It has very little tourism and is an ideal location for engaging in collaborative study and radical thinking. There are a few beaches in walking distance from where you will be staying as well as various small cafes, bars, and tavernas. There are daily flights to Kasos from Rhodes and Karpathos as well as multiple ferry boats from Piraeus each week (connecting through the islands of Crete, Rhodes, and Karpathos), ferry boat tickets from Piraeus start at about 45 euros.
Week 1 (June 29-July 3)
Opening Dinner, June 28th
Marxism and Philosophy
This seminar will engage both Marx and Marxism’s encounter with crucial figures and ideas in the history of philosophy. Through readings from Epicurus, Baruch Spinoza, Georg Hegel, Georg Lukacs, Herbert Marcuse and Louis Althusser, we will focus on understanding and building the foundations for a materialist philosophy of the present.
Reproduction, Biopower, and Sexual Politics
An exploration of reproductive, sexual and bio-politics in contemporary capitalism. The seminar will examine how Marx’s theory of labor-power and its appropriation by capital entails a radical revision of dominant conceptions of biopower. It will also explore the emergence of offshore reproduction, the ongoing attempt to replace the symbolic authority of the Father, and three key problems that emancipatory politics has historically come up against: love, sexual difference and the education of children. Readings will include Alain Badiou, Laura Briggs, Friedrich Engels, Shulamith Firestone, Michel Foucault, and Sophie Lewis.
Week 2 (July 6–10)
Political Power and Class Struggle
An examination of key concepts in the Marxist understanding of political power, the state, and social class. Readings will include works by Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, and Nicos Poulantzas.
Fantasy, Fetish, and the Radical Imagination
This seminar will explore both the liberating and ideological role fantasy plays in the cultural world and analyze the fetishes and the notion of the fantastic engendered by capitalism. We will also explore how modern technology has impacted this fantasy world and how Marxism can help us recapture the radical imagination and overcome the disenchantment of the world. Readings will include works by Cornelius Castoriadis, Guy Debord, Henri Lefebvre, and Bernard Stiegler.
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