Introductory remarks by James Chandler, Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities.
Description: Professor Harry Harootunian questions the claims of "Western Marxism" and its presumption of the final completion of capitalism. If this shift in Marxism reflected the recognition that the expected revolutions were not forthcoming in the years before World War II, its Cold War afterlife helped to both unify the West in its struggle with the Soviet Union and bolster the belief that capitalism remained dominant in the contest over progress.
Professor Harootunian deprovincializes Marx and the West's cultural turn by returning to the theorist's earlier explanations of capital's origins and development, which followed a trajectory beyond Euro-America to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Marx's expansive view shows how local circumstances, time, and culture intervened to reshape capital's system of production in these regions. His outline of a diversified global capitalism was much more robust than his sketch of the English experience in Capital and helps explain the disparate routes that evolved during the twentieth century. Engaging with the texts of Lenin, Luxemburg, Gramsci, and other pivotal theorists, Harootunian strips contemporary Marxism of its cultural preoccupation by reinstating the deep relevance of history.
Bio: Harry Harootunian is the Max Palevsky Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Chicago, where he taught for nearly 25 years. In that time he has served as Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, History and as a co-editor of Critical Inquiry. Professor Harootunian has also taught at NYU, Duke University and currently is currently teaching in Columbia University. He has written a number of books and articles on the problem of politics and culture , Japan's cultural and intellectual history and on questions of historical theory, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
This event is presented by the Seminary Co-operative Bookstore and cosponsored by the Social Theory Workshop and 3CT. You may RSVP here.