Marxism in Culture

Marxism and the Visual Arts Now poster

The Marxism in Culture seminar was set up in 2002 in the aftermath of the large international conference on Marxism and the Visual Arts Now held at UCL in April of that year.  Speakers have included:  Caroline Arscott, David Cunningham, Angela Dimitrakaki, Carol Duncan, Richard Godden, Tom Gretton, Suman Gupta, Simon Jarvis, Stathis Kouvelakis, David Mabb, David Margolies, Stewart Martin, Fred Orton, Alex Potts, Adrian Rifkin, Mark Sanders, Fred Schwartz, Greg Sholette, Julian Stallabrass, Blake Stimson, James Van Dyke, Ben Watson, O.K. Werckmeister, and many more.  This seminar series was conceived to provide a forum for those committed to the continuing relevance of Marxism for cultural analysis.  Both "Marxism" and "culture" are conceived here in a broad sense.  We understand Marxism as an ongoing self-critical tradition, and correspondingly the critique of Marxism's own history and premises is part of the agenda.  "Culture" is intended to comprehend not only the traditional fine arts, but also aspects of popular culture such as film, popular musics, and fashion.  From this perspective, conventional distinctions between the avant-garde and the popular, the elite and the mass, the critical and the commercial are very much open for scrutiny.  All historical inquiry is theoretically grounded, self-consciously or not, and theoretical work in the Marxist tradition demands empirical verification.

We welcome contributions that are concerned primarily with principles and methods as well as those that focus on the interpretation of particular cultural practices, historical or contemporary.  As with all the best examples of Marxist work, we hope to provide a forum for analysis that while it looks to the past is also marked by an urgent sense of present realities.

Programme for Summer 2014

Date Speaker Topic

Friday 09 May

Roundtable with Warwick Research Collective (WReC)
Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World Literature
Friday 06 June
Esther Leslie (Birkbeck)
Liquid Crystals of the Revolution
Friday 20 June
Mark Abel (Brighton)
Explanation or Critique? What is the Role of Marxist Musicology?
Tuesday 24 June
Tyrus Miller (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Title t.b.c.

Programme for Spring 2014

Date Speaker Topic

Friday 24 January

This will take place at UCL

Andrew Hemingway (Emeritus Professor - UCL)
"True fantasy is the most genuine mirror of the present." Georg Scholz's New Objectivity of 1923 in Baden

Friday 07 February

This will take place in the Court Room

Matthew Beaumont (UCL)
Idle Wandring Persons: A History of the Common Nightwalker

Friday 07 March

This will take place in the Court Room

Hannah Proctor (Birkbeck)
Soviet Psychology, the Avant-Garde and the Socialist Subject as Artwork

Friday 21 March

This will take place in the Court Room

Marina Vishmidt & Zoe Sutherland
Artistic Labour Contracts and the Legislative Imperartive of Authorship

Programme for Autumn 2013

Date Speaker Topic

Friday 04 October

This will take place in the Court Room

Diane Morgan (University of Leeds)
Homo Laborans?: The "French Utopian Socialists" View of "Work"

Friday 15 November

This will take place in the Court Room

Marcus Rediker (University of Pittsburgh)
The Amistad Rebellion in American Popular Culture, 1839-1841

Friday 29 November

This will take place in Bloomsbury Room G35

David Cunningham (University of Westminster)
Prosaic Modernity: Capital, the Bourgeois and the Novel

Friday 13 December

This will take place in the Court Room

Larne Abse Gogarty (University College London)
Community and Reproduction: Edith Segal's dance work and Suzanne Lacy's Expectations

Organisers: Matthew Beaumont, Dave Beech, Alan Bradshaw, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Larne Abse Gogarty, Esther Leslie, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Chrysi Papaioannou, Nina Power, Dominic Rahtz, Pete Smith, Peter Thomas, Alberto Toscano.

The seminar meets four times a term.  All seminars start at 5.30pm, and are held in the Court Room (unless otherwise stated) at the Institute of Historical Research in Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU.

The seminar closes at 7.30pm and retires to a bar.

For further information, contact Larne Abse Gogarty or Chrysi Papaioannou

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