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PARIS, CAPITALISM AND MODERNITY SEMINAR

We are currently soliciting paper proposals for our seminar titled “Paris, Capitalism and Modernity in France from the 17th through the 19th centuries” at the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2014 Annual Conference, New York University, New York City, NY, March 20-23, 2014. The conference theme is “Capitals.”

We have space for up to twelve participants in our seminar. Proposals of up to 250 words should be submitted by midnight, Thursday November 1, 2013, at the following link:  http://www.acla.org/submit/.

Please ensure you select our seminar in the drop-down list.

Our seminar theme is the history and representation of capital, capitalism and/or the French capital as a economic center in French modernity, defined in economic terms by the rise of a society dominated by market institutions in a period from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. The full description of our seminar can be found below, and at the following link: http://acla.org/acla2014/paris-capitalism-and-modernity-in-france-from-the-17th-through-the-19th-centuries/

Please also do not hesitate to contact us personally if you are interested.

Best wishes,
Andrew Billing (abilling@macalester.edu) and Juliette Cherbuliez (cherbuli@umn.edu).

Seminar Title: Paris, Capitalism and Modernity in France from the 17th through the 19th centuries

The theme of this seminar is the history and representation of capital, capitalism and/or the French capital as a economic center in French modernity, defined in economic terms by the rise of a society dominated by market institutions in a period from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. Participants are invited to take as points of departure Walter Benjamin’s famous nomination of Paris as the “capital of the nineteenth century” in view of its phantasmagoric celebration of market society and commodity fetishism, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s well-known description in “La Nouvelle Héloïse” of the French capital as “the city in the world in which fortunes are most unequal, and in which reign at the same time the most sumptuous elegance and the most deplorable misery.” Both Rousseau and Benjamin identify a Paris simultaneously exemplary and exceptional as a site for the concentration of wealth and economic power and the display of commodification and inequality. Our panel will explore or contest this and other specificities of Paris and French capitalism in modernity.

We welcome proposals that engage with literary and aesthetic representations of capital, capitalism and/or the French capital, e.g. Molière, Rousseau, Mercier, and Balzac; with French economic thought as elaborated in diverse modes throughout this period from the physiocrats through Fourier, Saint-Simon, Bastiat and Proudhon; and with the contestation of capital and capitalism during the Revolution, the Commune and other significant historical moments. Panelists are also encouraged to explore economic relations and exchange between Paris and France’s colonies during this period.

First published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/cfp-acla-seminar-on-paris-capitalism-and-modernity

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Karl Marx

MARX’S PHILOSOPHIC CRITIQUE OF CAPITAL

U.S. Marxist-Humanists in Chicago invite you to a series of meetings on:
Marx’s Philosophic Critique of Capital: An Exploration of the Grundrisse

Second and fourth Wednesdays In February, March and April
6:30pm-9pm
@ Harold Washington Library
400 S. State Street,
Third Floor- Room 3N-6

Chicago

Join us for a re-examination of Marx’s analysis of the logic of capital in light of the ongoing global economic and social crisis. The focus of these discussions will be Marx’s ‘Grundrisse’, his draft of ‘Capital’, in which he developed some of his most creative philosophic conceptions. The readings from Marx will be supplemented by selections from Philosophy and Revolution, by Raya Dunayevskaya.

Schedule and Readings

February 9th – The Historical Specificity of Capitalism in the United States: Led by Peter Hudis
Why has U.S. society given rise to claims of American exceptionalism? 
What is distinctive about the development about U.S. capitalism, as compared with Europe?

In what way do such questions relate to the current efforts to reduce government spending and subject society to the whims of the free market?

We will explore Marx’s approach to such questions, as posed his critique of Carey in his Grundrisse.

Reading: Bastiat and Carey, in Grundrisse, by Karl Marx (pp. 883-893)

February 23rd – The Dialectic of Political Economy: Led by J Turk
In what way did Hegel’s philosophy impact Marx’s analysis of capital, and to what extent does dialectical thought remain of importance in providing a comprehensive understanding of contemporary social developments?

We will explore Marx’s approach to these questions, as posed in his Introduction to the Grundrisse.

Readings:

Introduction, in Grundrisse by Karl Marx (pp. 83-111)
The 1840s: The Birth of Historical Materialism, in Philosophy and Revolution, by Raya Dunayevskaya (pp. 47-60)

March 9th – Alternatives to Capitalism: Past, Present and Future: Led by Anton Evelynov
Does Marx discuss the alternative to capitalism, and if so, what did he say about it?

Why was Marx critical of efforts in his day to limit the critique of capitalism to calls to abolish the free market; and how does that illuminate the shortcomings of 20th and 21st century efforts to transcend capitalism?

We will explore Marx’s approach to this, as posed in the Grundrisse’s critique of efforts to organize exchange.

Readings:
Critique of Darimon and Proudhon, in Grundrisse, pp. 122-140
On the Eve of World War II: Depression in the Economy and in Thought, by Raya Dunayevskaya, in Philosophy and Revolution, pp.123-127.

March 23rd – Marx’s Concept of the Universally Developed Individual: Led by Marilyn Nissim-Sabat
Why does Marx refer to capitalism as a system based on relation of personal independence that limits the scope of individual initiative and freedom?

Why does he pose the free association of individuals as an alternative to both pre-capitalist and capitalist modes of production?

How do these issues speak to today’s freedom struggles?

We will explore Marx’s discussion of these issues in the part of the Grundrisse devoted to the development of universal needs and capacities.

Reading: Section on the Universality of Needs, in Grundrisse, pp. 156-173.

April 13th – Marx on Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations: Led by Eileen Grace
What was Marx’s understanding of forms of production, exchange, and communal association that precede capitalism?

Did he view pre-capitalist economic formations as containing, in embryo, indications of social and ecological relations that point beyond capitalism?

We will explore Marx’s discussion of these issues in the famous section of the Grundrisse entitled Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations.

Readings:

Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations in Grundrisse, pp. 471-514
Progressive Epochs of Social Formation in Philosophy and Revolution, by Raya Dunayevskaya, pp. 68-76.

April 27th – The Automaton, Labor Time, and the Quest for a New Society: Led by Peter Hudis
Why has automated and computerized forms of labor, which at one time were heralded as leading to a dramatic shortening of the working day, led instead to an increase in the amount of time that many spend at work?

To what extent does machinery and technology hinder or assist the effort to transcend the alienation that characterizes much of present-day society?

We will explore Marx’s discussion of these issues in the section of the Grundrisse on Machinery.

Readings:
Machinery, in Grundrisse, pp. 692-712
The Automaton and the Worker, in Philosophy and Revolution, pp. 76-94.

Texts
Please note that the Grundrisse is available online at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/index.htm

Philosophy and Revolution by Raya Dunayevskaya is available from USMH

Sponsored by the U.S. Marxist-Humanists in Chicago, an affiliate of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization
Further information from http://USMarxistHumanists.org or by emailing arise@USMarxistHumanists.org

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