How (not) to Read Marx Masterclass by Samuel Chambers
When:   20 Feb 2018, 2pm - 5pm
Venue:  Room LG06, AGSM Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Who:    School of Humanities & Languages
How (not) to Read Marx - Masterclass by Samuel Chambers

20 February, 2018, 2-5pm

Location: Room LG06, AGMS Building, Kensington Campus, UNSW Sydney (G27 of 
campus map) (PDF)<>

Reading: Capital vol. 1, chapters 6–7, pp. 270–306 (Penguin Edition)

In this class we will read three dozen pages from the first volume of Capital 
(chapters 6 and 7). The middle dozen are some of the most famous and oft-quoted 
sentences in Marx’s corpus, while the dozen before and after are much less 
celebrated or cited. In one sense the point of the class will be a simple 
lesson on the hermeneutic circle. The first part of chapter 7 is frequently 
used as evidence to support claims about Marx’s belief in the universality of 
labour and its normative importance, or to distinguish normatively (as so many 
philosophers have done before and after) between the labor of animals and the 
unique labor of humans. In this class we will place those well-worn passages in 
context by working carefully on the set-up (in the form of Chapter 6’s 
discussion of labour-power as a commodity) and the completion (in the form of 
Marx’s own contrast between the “labour process” and the “valorization 
process”). This approach may lead to an unexpected result: that the middle 
dozen are the least important pages, and that they don’t really say what 
they’ve been taken to mean.

About Samuel 

Samuel A. Chambers is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins 
University, where he teaches political theory, cultural politics, and political 
economy. He co-edits the journal Contemporary Political Theory and is series 
co-editor of Routledge's Innovators in Political Theory. His interests are 
broad and interdisciplinary – ranging from central issues in social and 
political theory, to engagements with contemporary feminist and queer theory, 
to contributions to critical television studies. All of his work maintains a 
core concern with a sort of "glue" that holds together things – e.g. political 
regimes, sex/gender identities, pedagogical relations – in a way that is 
neither narrowly political (in the traditional sense of legislation or public 
policy), nor reductively socio-biological, nor grounded in ethics or morality à 
la so-called normative political philosophy. He has authored five books, edited 
four more, and published more than thirty journal articles, along with numerous 
chapters and essays. His monograph There’s No Such Thing as The Economy: Essays 
on Capitalist Value will be published by Punctum Books in mid-2018.

Advanced students and early career academics from all disciplines welcome. You 
are expected to read the text for the class in advance.

Free admission, but due to limited seating please email the organizer if you 
would like to attend: Heikki Ikäheimo, UNSW Sydney,<>

Note also the symposium ‘Marx 2.0’, February 22-23 
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