Module HPS-4001:
Society Pol & Hist Karl Marx

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Marcel Stoetzler

Overall aims and purpose

The module provides students with a broad and thorough understanding of selected core writings by Karl Marx concerning society, politics and history. The module is mostly based on primary sources, exploring Marx’s own writings rather than the tradition of Marxism that evolved from the various discussions and interpretations of Marx’s writings over time. Students will read a large amount of Marx’s own writings and thereby develop their ability to read theoretical texts composed in the nineteenth century, critically assess and interpret them and explore their relevance to the present.

Course content

Students will study select texts by Karl Marx, including ‘Theses on Feuerbach’ (1845); Wage Labour and Capital (1847); ‘Preface’ to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859); ‘Introduction’ to Grundrisse (1857); Capital vol. 1 (1857) and vol. 3; Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848); ‘Critique of the Gotha Programme’ (1875); The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852); Grundrisse; ‘Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’ (1843-44); ‘Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction’.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

To pass the module (C- to C+), students must demonstrate a theoretically informed understanding of selected core writings by Karl Marx, some ability to relate this to substantive research, and basic competence in the scholarly analysis and interpretation of Marxian social, political and historical theory.

good

Good students (B- to B+) will be able to demonstrate a clear, theoretically informed understanding of selected core writings by Karl Marx, good ability to relate this to substantive research, and sound competence in the scholarly analysis and interpretation of Marxian social, political and historical theory.

excellent

Excellent students (A- to A+) will be able to demonstrate a mature, theoretically informed understanding of selected core writings by Karl Marx, ability to relate this critically to substantive research, and a high level of competence in the scholarly analysis and interpretation of Marxian social, political and historical theory.

Learning outcomes

  1. reflect critically on Marxian social, political and historical theory, reflect on the larger historical context and the contemporary relevance of both

  2. locate analysis and conceptual awareness within an overall understanding of historical and societal context

  3. undertake independent library-based research on a particular problem or question concerning Marxian theory

  4. construct complex written arguments in scholarly form

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay

one essay of 4,000 words (+-10%, excluding bibliography), worth 70% of the mark; essay questions will be provided, or can be arranged with the module convener after week three.

70
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Individual classroom presentation

A classroom presentation worth 30% of the mark, supported by a detailed handout consisting of an exegesis and critical discussion of one of the key texts (a list of texts that are available for this purpose will be provided at the beginning of term), taking place in weeks 4-11

30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Seminar

Eleven weekly 3h-sessions will consist of a combination of short introductory lectures, student presentations and seminar discussions, integrating guided in-class reading of key sequences, prepared reading and study assignments.

33
Private study 167

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life
  • the ability to undertake and present scholarly work
  • the ability to understand the ethical implications of sociological enquiry
  • the ability to recognise the relevance of sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy.

Ability to read and understand nineteenth-century social, political and historical analysis and theory

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: