Indiana University Bloomington

Fall 2015: Schedule of the Reading Group

Conveners: Ilana Gershon (Anthropology) and Benjamin Robinson (Germanic Studies)

Unless noted otherwise, the reading group meets Fridays, 2 - 3:30 pm, in the College Arts & Humanities Institute, 1211 E. Atwater Ave.

Aug. 28: Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, p. 28-39, “Estranged Labor” and “Second Manuscript;” p. 59-62, “The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society.”

Sept. 4: Karl Marx, “Wage Labor and Capital.”

Sept. 11: Herbert Marcuse, “On the Philosophical Foundation of the Concept of Labor in Economics” Telos, no. 16, p. 9-37.

Sept. 18: Karl Marx, “Free Trade and the Chartists,” New-York Daily Tribune, August 25, 1852; Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Times, chapters 6 and 7.

Sept. 25: Christian Marazzi, Capital and Affects: The Politics of the Language Economy, p. 15-67.

Oct. 2: Capital and Affects, p. 67-102.

Oct. 9: Capital and Affects, p. 103-148.

Oct. 16: Kathi Weeks, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries, p. 1-60.

Oct. 23: Walter Benn Michaels - To Be Announced

Oct. 30: The Problem with Work, p. 61-111.

Nov. 6: J. K. Gibson-Graham, A Post-Capitalist Politics, p. xix-xxxvii; 1-23. Available online at IU libraries.

Nov. 13: A Post-Capitalist Politics, p. 24-78. Available online at IU libraries.

Nov. 20: A Post-Capitalist Politics, p. 79-101; 127-164. Available online at IU libraries.

Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Break.

Dec. 4: A Post-Capitalist Politics, p. 165-196. Available online at IU libraries.

The Working Subject

Karl MarxThe essence of being human is embodied in the labor a person uses to transform the world. Labor is the vital, creative force, often unpredictable and transformative in its effects, which embodies the human spirit. The contemporary world is built around how capitalism harnesses labor for its own ends. Capitalists’ goal is to transform labor into a commodity, and much of the deep contradictions of capitalism lie in ignoring the creative value generationof labor and focusing only upon the capitalist transformation of labor into a commodity. Through readings from Marx, Marcuse, Karl Polanyi, Christian Marazzi, Kathi Weeks, and J. K. Gibson-Graham, the group will explore how different contemporary infrastructures shape the role of labor as the creative force for transforming the world.

Herbert MarcuseStudents wishing to earn credit for taking part in the reading project should contact the conveners, Ilana Gershon ( and Benjamin Robinson (, providing their full name, home department and email address, and sign up for CTIH-T700.

The Reading Group constitutes the intellectual heart of the Center and predates the Center by many years. Here are some of the major texts the group has studied:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
Badiou, Being and Event.
Bergson, Matter and Memory.
Blumenberg,The Legitimacy of the Modern Age.
Cavell, The Claims of Reason.
Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe.
Deleuze, Cinema I; Difference and Repetition.
Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject.
Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
Gadamer, Truth and Method.
Heidegger, Being and Time.
Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences.
Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception; The Visible and the Invisible.
Plato, The Laws.
Rancière, The Names of History.
Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf.