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Karl Marx

HISTORICAL MATERIALISM CONFERENCE 2010

Extended Abstract Deadline

Due to high demand, the deadline for submitting abstracts for the 2010 Historical Materialism Conference in London has now been extended to 1 JULY 2010. This will be the last extension.

‘Crisis and Critique’: Historical Materialism Annual London Conference 2010,

Central London, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th November*

Call for Papers

Notwithstanding repeated invocations of the ‘green shoots of recovery’, the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008 continue to be felt around the world. While some central tenets of the neoliberal project have been called into question, bank bailouts, cuts to public services and attacks on working people’s lives demonstrate that the ruling order remains capable of imposing its agenda. Many significant Marxist analyses have already been produced of the origins, forms and prospects of the crisis, and we look forward to furthering these debates at HM London 2010. We also aim to encourage dialogue between the critique of political economy and other modes of criticism – ideological, political, aesthetic, philosophical – central to the Marxist tradition.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht projected a journal to be called ‘Crisis and Critique’. In very different times, but in a similar spirit, HM London 2010 aims to serve as a forum for dialogue, interaction and debate between different strands of critical-Marxist theory. Whether their focus is the study of the capitalist mode of production’s theoretical and practical foundations, the unmasking of its ideological forms of legitimation or its political negation, we are convinced that a renewed and politically effective Marxism will need to rely on all the resources of critique in the years ahead. Crises produce periods of ideological and political uncertainty. They are moments that put into question established cognitive and disciplinary compartmentalisations, and require a recomposition at the level of both theory and practice. HM London 2010 hopes to contribute to a broader dialogue on the Left aimed at such a recomposition, one of whose prerequisites remains the young Marx’s call for the ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’.

We are seeking papers that respond to the current crisis from a range of Marxist perspectives, but also submissions that try to think about crisis and critique in their widest ramifications. HM will also consider proposals on themes and topics of interest to critical-Marxist theory not directly linked to the call for papers (we particularly welcome contributions on non-Western Marxism and on empirical enquiries employing Marxist methods).

While Historical Materialism is happy to receive proposals for panels, the editorial board reserves the right to change the composition of panels or to reject individual papers from panel proposals. We also expect all participants to attend the whole conference and not simply make ‘cameo’ appearances. We cannot accommodate special requests for specific slots or days, except in highly exceptional circumstances.

*Please note that, in order to allow for expected demand, this year the conference will be three and a half days’ long, starting on the Thursday afternoon.

Please submit a title and abstract of between 200 and 300 words by registering at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/conferences/annual7/submit by 1 JULY 2010

Possible themes include:

•       Crisis and left recomposition

•       Critique and crisis in the global south

•       Anti-racist critique

•       Marxist and non-Marxist theories of crisis

•       Capitalist and anti-capitalist uses of the crisis

•       Global dimensions of the crisis

•       Comparative and historical accounts of capitalist crisis

•       Ecological and economic crisis

•       Critical theory today

•       Finance and the crisis

•       Neoliberalism and legitimation crisis

•       Negation and negativity

•       Feminism and critique

•       Political imaginaries of crisis and catastrophe

•       The critique of everyday life (Lefebvre, the Situationists etc.)

•       The idea of critique in Marx, his predecessors and contemporaries

•       Art criticism, political critique and the critique of political economy

•       Geography and crisis, geography and the critique of political economy

•       Right-wing movements and crisis

•       Critiques of the concept of crisis

•       New forms of critique in the social and human sciences

•       Aesthetic critique

•       Marxist literary and cultural criticism

•       Reports on recent evolution of former USSR countries and China

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Karl Marx

CRISIS AND CRITIQUE: HISTORICAL MATERIALISM ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2010

Central London, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th November*

Call for Papers

Submission and Abstract Deadline: 1 June 2010

Notwithstanding repeated invocations of the ‘green shoots of recovery’, the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008 continue to be felt around the world. While some central tenets of the neoliberal project have been called into question, bank bailouts, cuts to public services and attacks on working people’s lives demonstrate that the ruling order remains capable of imposing its agenda. Many significant Marxist analyses have already been produced of the origins, forms and prospects of the crisis, and we look forward to furthering these debates at HM London 2010. We also aim to encourage dialogue between the critique of political economy and other modes of criticism – ideological, political, aesthetic, philosophical – central to the Marxist tradition.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht projected a journal to be called ‘Crisis and Critique’. In very different times, but in a similar spirit, HM London 2010 aims to serve as a forum for dialogue, interaction and debate between different strands of critical-Marxist theory. Whether their focus is the study of the capitalist mode of production’s theoretical and practical foundations, the unmasking of its ideological forms of legitimation or its political negation, we are convinced that a renewed and politically effective Marxism will need to rely on all the resources of critique in the years ahead. Crises produce periods of ideological and political uncertainty. They are moments that put into question established cognitive and disciplinary compartmentalisations, and require a recomposition at the level of both theory and practice. HM London 2010 hopes to contribute to a broader dialogue on the Left aimed at such a recomposition, one of whose prerequisites remains the young Marx’s call for the ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’.

We are seeking papers that respond to the current crisis from a range of Marxist perspectives, but also submissions that try to think about crisis and critique in their widest ramifications. HM will also consider proposals on themes and topics of interest to critical-Marxist theory not directly linked to the call for papers (we particularly welcome contributions on non-Western Marxism and on empirical enquiries employing Marxist methods).

While Historical Materialism is happy to receive proposals for panels, the editorial board reserves the right to change the composition of panels or to reject individual papers from panel proposals. We also expect all participants to attend the whole conference and not simply make ‘cameo’ appearances. We cannot accommodate special requests for specific slots or days, except in highly exceptional circumstances.

*Please note that, in order to allow for expected demand, this year the conference will be three and a half days’ long, starting on the Thursday afternoon.

Please submit a title and abstract of between 200 and 300 words by registering at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/conferences/annual7/submit by 1 June 2010

Possible themes include:
        •       Crisis and left recomposition
        •       Critique and crisis in the global south
        •       Anti-racist critique
        •       Marxist and non-Marxist theories of crisis
        •       Capitalist and anti-capitalist uses of the crisis
        •       Global dimensions of the crisis
        •       Comparative and historical accounts of capitalist crisis
        •       Ecological and economic crisis
        •       Critical theory today
        •       Finance and the crisis
        •       Neoliberalism and legitimation crisis
        •       Negation and negativity
        •       Feminism and critique
        •       Political imaginaries of crisis and catastrophe
        •       The critique of everyday life (Lefebvre, the situationists etc.)
        •       The idea of critique in Marx, his predecessors and contemporaries
        •       Art criticism, political critique and the critique of political economy
        •       Geography and crisis, geography and the critique of political economy
        •       Right-wing movements and crisis
        •       Critiques of the concept of crisis
        •       New forms of critique in the social and human sciences
        •       Aesthetic critique
        •       Marxist literary and cultural criticism
        •       Reports on recent evolution of former USSR countries and China

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

Mediation

MARXISM AND LITERATURE

The editorial collective of Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group, is pleased to announce issue 24.2, a special issue that revisits the relationship between Marxism and literature. Mediations is published twice yearly. The Fall issues are dossiers of non-U.S. material of interest; the Spring issues are open submission and peer reviewed.

Mediations has circulated in various forms and formats since the early 1970s, and is now available free on the web. Both a web edition and a print edition, downloadable in pdf form, can be accessed at: http://mediationsjournal.org. Featured authors in the current issue include Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Imre Szeman, Neil Larsen, Mathias Nilges, Nicholas Brown, Aisha Karim, Leerom Medovoi, and Sarah Brouillette.

———————————
Volume 24, No. 2 || Marxism and Literature Revisited

Mathias Nilges and Emilio Sauri, guest editors

CONTENTS

Editors’ Note

The Left and Marxism in Eastern Europe: An Interview with Gáspár Miklós Tamás – Imre Szeman interviews the political philosopher, journalist, and writer, Gáspár Miklós Tamás. Describing his own political move to the Left in relation to local post-Soviet politics in Hungary and global structures of contemporary capitalism, Tamás discusses the dangers of attaching hopes for greater rights and liberties to both free market structures and nostalgic forms of leftism. What answers can Marxism offer in response to the sociopolitical and philosophical pressures of the current conjuncture in which the free market agenda has become structurally and politically untenable? How must we re-think Marxism itself in a context in which solutions to the political impasses of the present can no longer be found in a return to Party politics of the past? How might Marxist political philosophy deal with pressing contradictions such as rising forms of ultranationalism? Addressing these and other questions, Tamás demonstrates how recent political developments in Hungary, and throughout Eastern Europe more generally, provide lessons for the Left throughout the globe.

Marxist Literary Criticism, Then and Now – Is there such a thing as a Marxist literary criticism? Imre Szeman argues that, despite the fact that Marxism has long privileged literature as an object of analysis and critique, there is no unitary methodology or set of considerations that distinguish a “Marxist” approach to literature from others. Here, Szeman provides a historicization and structural analysis of what he identifies as the three primary modes of Marxist literary criticism. At the same time, this essay also points to a fourth, as yet unnamed, possibility for Marxist literary critique that seeks to sublate the assumed “impasse” created by the limiting choice between “ideological” and “anti-ideological” culture, an impasse that, according to Szeman, bears witness to a profound historical shift.

Literature, Immanent Critique, and the Problem of Standpoint – What might a method for critical theory that advances beyond the tenets of “ideology-critique” look like? For Neil Larsen, the answer lies in Marxism’s own recourse to immanent critique. Yet, with the notable exceptions of Adorno and Lukács, immanent critique has bothered little with the problem of standpoint in relation to cultural, and, in particular, literary objects. Larsen, then, attempts to specify an immanent critical standpoint of literature that allows for the articulation of a dialectical critique that dispenses with what he identifies as the “fallacy of application.” Demonstrating how any literary theory – Marxist and otherwise – is, of necessity, immanent to the text, this essay turns to the question of method as a means of grasping the relationship between the literary text as “subject/object” and the social totality.

Marxism and Form Now – Contemporary literary criticism is everywhere marked by what appears to a revival of foundational questions: what is literature now? How do we argue now? What is form now? Rather than signal a new direction for literary criticism, this now-ness, Mathias Nilges maintains, points to a discipline in the midst of a crisis of futurity. Extending the French Regulation School’s suggestion that the history of capitalism is the history of the struggle between capital and its social regulation, Nilges argues that the current disciplinary crisis is best evaluated in the context of capitalism’s cultural regulation. Dialectically linking the (crisis-driven) movement of structural, epistemological and cultural forms, Nilges maintains that the study of the formal(istic) history of cultural regulation must replace cultural critique based on the assumed possibility of the subsumption of culture under capital, which, in turn, creates the conditions of possibility for an emergent Marxist literary criticism.

One, Two, Many Ends of Literature – What if we looked at the notion of the end of literature as a truism, only lacking in plurality and logical rigor? Nicholas Brown explains that one of these “ends” can be regarded as internal to the functioning of literature itself, and as such, the point of departure for a more complete formulation of a Marxist literary criticism. For Brown, this formulation reveals that both literary criticism and Marxism are to be regarded as what he calls “formal materialisms,” a mode of analysis that must be completed and revised every time in light of an object it cannot posit beforehand. What this means for a Marxist literary-critical project subsequently becomes all the more apparent in Brown’s reading of another end of literature – postmodernism.

Crisis of Representation in Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomy – Perhaps one of the more consistent elements of Wole Soyinka’s work has been a commitment to an individual will that refuses collective mobilization. Aisha Karim argues that Soyinka’s novel Season of Anomy marks a departure from any commitment as such, opening his work to new political possibilities. But while Season of Anomy presents us with an alternative to the politics and poetics that underlie Soyinka’s dramatic output, Karim maintains that it does so only insofar as it imagines itself as a “failed text.” What emerges as a crisis of representation within the text consequently allows the reader to recognize herself as the agent of change on the level of the social.

The Biopolitical Unconscious: Toward an Eco-Marxist Literary Theory – If ecocriticism can and should be dialectically assimilated to the project of a Marxist literary and cultural criticism, how do we have to rethink both ecocritical and Marxist literary critical praxis? What can a Marxist ecocriticism lend to interrogations of the relation between literature and ecocriticism´s most undertheorized category: the environment? Leerom Medovoi illustrates that Marxism not only can, but must play a central role in the formulation of an ecocritical 
approach to literature capable of transcending the inability to think beyond thematic criticism and ethical critique.

Creative Labor – Sarah Brouillette suggests that literary studies can help de-naturalize contemporary capitalism by accounting for the rise of the pervasive vocabulary that imagines work as a form of self-exploration, self-expression, and self-realization. She discusses two manifestations of this vocabulary. One is the notion of a “creative class” branded by Richard Florida, management professor and guru consultant to government and industry. The other is the theory of “immaterial labor” assembled within autonomist Marxism. Despite their obvious differences, Brouillette demonstrates that both conceptions are more symptoms than diagnoses of a now dominant tendency to fathom creativity both ahistorically – as the essence of experimentation emanating from an internal natural source – and contradictorily – as newly valuable to capitalism but romantically honorable and free.

BOOK REVIEWS

It’s Dialectical!
Nicholas Brown reviews Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic. To say that Jameson’s most recent contribution to dialectical thought is monumental in scope is perhaps an understatement. What, then, might this reengagement with the dialectic mean both in the context of Jameson´s work and for Marxism today?

A New Direction for Marxism
Jen Hedler Hammond reviews Kevin Floyd´s The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism. Floyd’s book succeeds in producing a dialogue between Judith Butler and Fredric Jameson that will no doubt have far-reaching consequences for both queer and Marxist theory. But what insight does this dialogue provide into the undertheorized position of women in Marxism and Queer Studies alike?

Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group: http://mediationsjournal.org/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com