“Cultural Studies and Capitalism” Goldsmiths Lecture course Spring 2011 – Centre for Cultural Studies.

Lecture course Spring 2011 – Centre for Cultural Studies.

CU71012A “Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

Lecturer: Professor John Hutnyk (tuesdays 4pm-7pm – [lecture/seminar]).

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One). The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.

Indicative reading:

T Adorno, The Culture Industry

A Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures

M. Taussig My Cocaine Museum

G Bataille, The Accursed Share

K Marx, Capital: Volume One

Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto

G Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason

S Zizek, Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin from 1917

S Lotringer (ed), Hatred of Capitalism: A Reader

Many of the lectures will include visual material. Very occasionally this may be part of a feature film or a longer documentary and on such occasion the rest of the film should be viewed in the Library. Usually a short screening will occur in the second hour of the scheduled lecture.

The main reading will be the relevant chapter or chapters of Capital each week. Do also read the footnotes, they are sometimes quite entertaining (attacks on ‘moneybags’, comments on Shakespeare, notes on bamboo ‘thrashings’, and celebrations of the work of Leonard Horner, factory inspector). The key secondary text will be in a reader pack available from the CCS office

Mode of Assessment: This course is assessed by a 5,000 word essay to be submitted to the Centre for Cultural Studies office early in May 2011


All welcome.



6 thoughts on ““Cultural Studies and Capitalism” Goldsmiths Lecture course Spring 2011 – Centre for Cultural Studies.

  1. When you say all welcome, are you happy for those outside of Goldsmiths with an overwhelming interest to participate and sit in?
    Just sat through Kluge’s 10 hour film on Eisenstein’s attempt to film Das Kapital and was inspired to pick up the book.
    Trying to fight my way back to full time education after work disillusionment, and on the look out for lectures and courses to get my brain back in the game.


    1. Yes, by all means (necessary). Bring yr copy of Cap with you.

      Wish I’d got to the Kluge, but I had childcare.

      4pm start, should be about 2 hrs for first session. Helps if you’ve seen Citizen Kane. Email me to get the course guide. J


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