Marxism, Culture and Art

$189 Limited inc GST / $170
Marxism, Culture and Art

<p>One often reads terms like Cultural Marxism and Neo-Marxism in right-wing tabloids to indicate a leftwing plot to take over the universities by Leftists. However, such a framework grossly

...

One often reads terms like Cultural Marxism and Neo-Marxism in right-wing tabloids to indicate a leftwing plot to take over the universities by Leftists. However, such a framework grossly misrepresents Marxist literary and cultural criticism. Karl Marx was very much interested in art and culture and liberating art from bourgeois commodification. This course focuses on the richness of the Marxist literary cannon of cultural critics, from Plekhanov and Lukacs to the Frankfurt School.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on art and culture: Far from Karl Marx being only interested in politics and economics, he was a great admirer of Balzac and wanted to be a Romantic Poet. We will also examine the literary criticisms of Eleanor Marx.
  • Plekhanov and Lukacs: These two thinkers defended notions of social realism arguing that art should capture society directly.
  • Clement Greenberg on The Avant-Garde and Kitsch: KClement Greenberg uses a Marxist analysis to construct a Kantian approach that favours abstract, difficult art over vulgar realism, which he thinks emerges with mass production to please and render docile the working classes.
  • Raymond Williams: Culture is Ordinary. For Raymond Williams, cloture was not some effete realm for intellectuals but one’s historical living context, surviving through living traditions.
  • Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno on art, autonomy and Praxis. Both friends, Benjamin and Adorno had very different views about art. Benjamin favoured didactic art that subjugated itself to political messages whereas Adorno argued that autonomous artworks were greater expressions not only of freedom but discontent with capitalist and totalitarian reductions of art.
  • Herbert Marcuse and Beyond: This class will examine Marcuse’s claim that society has become one dimensional and that capitalism has liquidated modes of artistic and imaginative escape. It will then move to Fredric Jameson who takes a more dialectical approach at looking at mass culture.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Form a deeper understanding of the complexity of Marxist cultural critiques.
  2. Gain a grounding in literary studies.
  3. Gain a grounding in historical disputes concerning the value of culture and realist versus abstract art in relation to Marxism.