Fall 2020: Phl 810/820 – Marxist Philosophies

Dunayevskaya and Althusser

General information

Instructor

Here is more information about Prof. Lotz

Class Meetings

Days: M
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:50 PM
Place: ZOOM (invitation link will be sent out via email)

Office & Office Hours

Phone: 517.355.4490 [dept.])
Place: ZOOM
Hours: via individual appointments

Other Contact

E-mail: lotz@msu.edu
Home Phone: please ask
Webpage: http://christianlotz.com

Box

You will find my box in the front office of the philosophy department (SK 503)

Schedule (— TENTATIVE! —)

Note: readings listed under “further readings” are voluntary

Introduction

Sep 7, Labor Day
No class, read some Marx!

Sep 14, Introduction: Marxism vs. Marxist Philosophy

Althusser, Philosophy and Marxism (late Interview) (D2L)
CLR James, Marxism for our Times (D2L)
Marcuse, Interview with Habermas (D2L)
Sartre, Marxism and Existentialism (D2L)

Further Readings:
Althusser, Philosophy as a Revolutionary Weapon (D2L)
Therborn, Critical Theory and the Legacy of Twentieth-Century Marxism (D2L)
Jameson, Marxism and Postmodernism (D2L)
Balibar, Etienne Balibar in Conversation: Revisiting European Marxism (D2L)

Videos:
Hall, The Spectre of Marxism (link)
Balibar, Marx’s capitalism and ours (link)
Chibber, analyzing the academic “left” (link, video, Jacobin Weekends; text: Chibber, Our Road to Power, link)

Block I: Hegelian Marxism

Sep 21, Lukacs: Methodological Marxism

Lukacs, What is Orthodox Marxism? (in HCC) (D2L)

Voluntary, but recommended:
Lukacs, The Changing Function of Historical Materialism (in HCC) (D2L)

Further Readings:
Lukacs, Interview with Lukacs (D2L)
Lukacs, The Twin Crises. Interview (D2L)
Lopez, The Conversion of Georg Lukács (link, Jacobin)
Jones, The Marxism of the Early Lukacs (D2L)

Video
Interview with Lukacs (link)

Sep 28, Lukacs: Reification

Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, The Phenomenon of Reification (D2L)

Further Readings:
Lotz, Categorial Forms as Intelligibility of Social Objects. Reification and Objectivity in Lukács (D2L)
Hedrick, Law as Reification (D2L)
Colletti, From Bergson to Lukacs (D2L)
Feenberg, chapter 4 of his Philosophy of Praxis
Markus, Alienation and Reification in Marx and Lukacs (D2L)

Protocol: Nic

Oct 5, Lukacs: Antinomies of Bourgois Thought

Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, The Antinomies of Bourgeois Thought & (if you have sufficient time and energy) The Standpoint of the Proletariat (D2L)

Further Reading
Lukacs, On Class Consciousness (D2L)
Balibar, The Notion of Class Politics in Marx (D2L)

Protocol: Chase

Block II: Humanism

Oct 12, Markus

Markus, Marxism & Anthropology (D2L)

Further Readings
Heller, My Best Friend. For Markus (D2L)
Ricoeur, What is Humanism (D2L)

Protocol: Jack
Presentation: Nic

Oct 19, Marcuse/Dunayevskaya/Fromm

Marcuse, New Sources on the Foundation of Historical Materialism (D2L) (link)
Marcuse, Socialist Humanism? (link)
Fromm, The Application of Humanist Psychoanalysis to Marx’s Theory (D2L)
Dunayevskaya, A New Humanism (D2L)
Dunayevskaya, Marx’s Humanism Today (D2L)

Further Readings:
Durkin, Erich Fromm and the Revolution of Hope (link, Jacobin)
Marcuse, On the Philosophical Foundations of the Concept of Labor in Economics (D2L)
Anderson, “Marxism and Freedom” After Sixty Years, For Yesterday and Today (link)
Quante, Recognition as the Social Grammar of Species Being in Marx (D2L; an alternative reading of the early manuscripts)

More by Fromm:
Fromm, Beyond the Chains of Illusion. My Encounter with Marx and Freud
Fromm, Marx’s Concept of Man

Videos:
Marcuse, Interview (link):
Fromm, Interview (link)

Protocol: John the OIder
Presentation: Chase

Oct 26, Heller

Heller, The Marxist Theory of Revolution and the Theory of Everyday Life (D2L)
Heller, Marx and the Liberation of Humankind (D2L)
Heller, Is Radical Philosophy Possible? (D2L)
Heller, Forms of Equality (D2L)
Heller, The “System of Needs” and the “Society of Associated Producers” (from Heller’s Theory of Needs in Marx)

Further Readings:
Heller, Forms of Equality. A Postscript (D2L)
Dorahy – The Budapest School, chapter 1 (D2L)

Videos:
Heller, 2014 in Ann Arbor (link)
Heller, short interview (link)
Heller, excerpt from documentary about the Budapest School (link)

Protocol: Marissa
Presentation: Dominick

Block III: Structuralism

Nov 2, Althusser: Critique of Humanism

Althusser, Marxism and Humanism (D2L)
Althusser, Is it Simple to be a Marxist in Philosophy? (D2L)

Further Readings:
Kolakowski, Althusser’s Marx (link)
Balibar, Althusser’s Object (D2L)
Poulantzas, Towards a Marxist Theory (on Althusser) (D2L)
Geras, Althusser’s Marxism. An Assessment (D2L)
Goshgarian, Philosophy and Revolution: An Interview with G.M. Goshgarian (link)

Documentary:
Althusser, An Intellectual Adventure (link, via MSU lib, docuseek2)

Protocol: Jonathan
Presentation: Jack

Nov 9, Althusser: Capitalist Reproduction

Althusser, On the Reproduction of Capitalism. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, chapter 1-12 (D2L)

Further readings:
Lewis, William S., Louis Althusser and the Traditions of French Marxism, chapter 6&7 (for the intellectual background and A’s relation to the PCF, D2L)
Carnoy, Althusser and Poulantzas on the State (D2L, contains also a good overview of the relation between class struggle and the state)

Protocol: Jessica
Presentation: Marissa

Nov 16, Althusser: Overdetermination&Structural Causality

Althusser, Overdetermination and Contradiction (D2L)
Althusser, Reading Capital, part II.4&7-9 ) (D2L)

Videos:
Balibar on Althusser (link)

Protocol: Dominick
Presentation: Jena

Nov 23, Althusser: Ideology

Althusser, On the Reproduction of Capitalism. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, chapter 12&Appendixes (D2L)

Further Readings:
Laclau, The Death and Resurrection of the Theory of Ideology (D2L)
Althusser, Philosophy and Marxism (late Interview) (D2L)

Protocol: Jena
Presentation: Jonathan

Nov 30, Hall: Ideology & Race

Hall, Ideology and the Sociology of Knowledge, Selected Writings Vol1, chapter 4 (D2L)
Hall, Rethinking the Base/Superstructure Metaphor, Selected Writings Vol1, chapter 5 (D2L)
Hall, Race, Articulation, and Societies, Selected Writings Vol1, chapter 6 (D2L)

Further Readings:
Miles, Race after Race-Relations (D2L)
Du Bois – Marxism and the Negro Problem (D2L)
Williams, Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory (D2L)
Ramos, The Concepts of Ideology, Hegemony, and Organic Intellectuals in Gramsci’s Marxism (link)

Documentary:
The Stuart Hall Project (link & info)

Protocol: Greg
Presentation: Jessica

Dec 7, Poulantzas: State & Classes

Poulantzas, State, Power, Socialism, Introduction&Part1 (D2L)
Poulantzas, On Social Classes (D2L)
Poulantzas, The Problem of the Capitalist State (D2L)

Further Readings
Balibar, In Search of the Proletariat. The Notion of Class Politics in Marx (D2L)
Therborn, An Agenda for Class Analysis (D2L)
Therborn, Dreams and Nightmares of the World’s Middle Classes (D2L)
Poulantzas, Towards a Democratic Socialism (D2L)
Kalampopkas, State, Political Power and Revolution: Althusser, Poulantzas, Balibar and the “Debate on the State” (link)

Video:
Balibar, Intersecting Optics: A Dialogue on ”Race, Nation, Class“ 30 years on (link)
Balibar, Race, Nation and Class: Rethinking their Articulation (link)

Presentation: Greg

Dec 16, Final Paper
Final paper due via email

Course Description

Agnes Heller (1929-2019)

In many contemporary philosophical discussions, Marx and Marxism have been reduced to simplistic doctrines centered on exploitation and class struggle; thereby dismissing the complexly intertwining of epistemological and metaphysical questions within the horizon of a critical theory of society. In this seminar we will read and discuss three major positions that emerged within the history of European Marxist thought and philosophy of the last 150 years. Though the scope of literature and figures in this field is vast, we will try to cover central aspects of Humanist Marxism, Structural Marxism, and Hegelian Marxism. We will focus on philosophical and social aspects of these positions, while paying less attention to economic theory (narrowly conceived), political philosophy and political movements. We also do not have time to look at Marxist theories outside the Continental tradition, such as the Japanese Uno-School, Feminist Marxism, or Postcolonial Theory (all of this would require another seminar). Perhaps we will figure out why Sartre’s famous statement that Marxism “remains the philosophy of our time. We cannot go beyond it” might still be valid. 

Sources

Make yourself familiar with the major journals and book series in the field.

Academic Journals

Popular/Academic Journals

Book Series

Handbook

Archives

People (contemporary)

Althusser, 1978

ZOOM/COVID-19

  • This class will be taught via ZOOM in a classical fashion. I will talk about the readings and we will have discussions about the readings.
  • Our ZOOM sessions require you to be attentive; as such, I do not want you to turn off your microphone, which, in turn, should make it easier for you to focus on the class session. Please make sure that you are in a quiet spot (at a desk or a table), and that you enter our meetings on time.
  • Please use a headset, which helps us create a more “intimate” atmosphere; headset microphones usually remove background noise; inexpensive headsets can easily be found online. If you can’t afford a headset (or don’t want to use one), then please try to use at least headphones or ear buds.
  • If multiple participants are speaking, and if they also use external speakers to hear the meeting audio, there can be an echo loop. Zoom uses echo cancellation to address this problem. However, headset/headphones/earbuds will eliminate this problem.
  • Please also do not turn off your camera (unless your internet connection is very slow), as this will also help everyone focus on our class session and eliminate distractions.
  • Set ZOOM to “gallery view” (instead of “speaker view”), as this makes it easier to see everyone in class (i.e., not only the speaker). Our class is small. So, “gallery view” should work just fine.

Course Goals

This course should make you familiar with selected Marxist philosophies:

  • Marxist Humanism
  • Marxist Structuralism
  • Marxist Existentialism
  • Hegelian Marxism

Note

This graduate seminar is not based on a set of fixed knowledge and, as such, is not based on a behavioral idea of education; rather, we will try to learn together and critically examine the material. The material is the absolute center of this class. Free floating discussions about things unrelated to the material are to be avoided.

Required Texts

  • Althusser, The Reproduction of Capitalism, Verso (pdf: link)
  • Lukacs, History of Class Consciousness (pdf: link)
  • All other texts via pdf on D2L

Course Requirements

  • 1 protocol, write-up, up to 900 words, 20%
  • 1 oral presentation + brief write-up, up to 30 minutes+leading class discussion, 30%
  • Final paper, conference style, 12-15 pages, 50%
  • Regular participation, you are expected to attend every week, except in cases of reasonable excuses

Protocol

The class protocol should cover our discussion in class. Protocols should have a length of 2-3 pages (no more than 900 words), and they will in and outside of the classroom force us to have an ongoing reflection on our texts that we study for class. They can also include problems or questions that the writers had either with our class discussion or with the texts itself, but above all protocols should cover what we lectured about and what we discussed afterwards. Protocols should clarify and discuss selected issues in question. Protocols have to be sent out to everyone by Sunday morning. Everyone will read the protocol before class. Please avoid late turn ins. The student who wrote the protocol will address questions during the first 15 minutes of the next class meeting.

Stuart Hall (1932-2014)

Presentation & Write-Up

Each student will be responsible for one class and for working out an introductory presentation, which should function as a platform for our discussions. Please focus on selected aspects of the readings; desired length of presentations: around 20-25 minutes. Please distribute a brief write-up/overview of what you will be talking about by Sunday morning. Your write-up should have a length of up to 3 pages. A write-up differs from a handout (used during a presentation); i.e., the write-up should consists of a coherent text that either interprets, reflects on, or explains the primary material. Let’s call it a “miniature-paper” that everyone reads before class. Note: the reading material should be the absolute focus of your presentation. Free floating discussions that are unrelated to the readings are to be avoided by all means.

General Remark

Given that this is a graduate seminar, I expect self-motivation, autonomy, civility, as well as self-responsibility. The attendance requires the willingness to intensively study the texts selected for class.

Final Paper

The class essay should be well researched and should present a substantial reflection on some parts of the material discussed in class. I expect excellent papers in regard to research, form, and content. The paper should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 150 words. The paper should be “conference style,” i.e., it should have a length of around 12-15 pages and, ideally, could be presented at a conference.

DFs

I will refuse giving DFs in this class, unless you find yourself in a real emergency situation (hospitalization, etc.)

György Lukacs (1885-1971)

Course Evaluation

Assignments

1 protocol20 points
oral presentation + handout30 points
final paper50 points
——–
   100 points
 

Grading

4.0 (=A)100 – 93
3.592 – 87
3 (=B)86 – 82
2.581 – 77
2 (=C)76 – 72
1.571 – 65
1.0 (=D)64 – 60
0.0< 60

GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)

Laptop/Cell Phone/Tablet Policy

You are not permitted to use laptops or cell phones in class, unless needed for medical reasons. Flat devices, such as tablets, are permitted  if you have purchased the literature required for class electronically. Please do not text under the table. Cell phones should be removed from tables. Failure to follow this policy will lead to unannounced assignments in class or loss of points (at the digression of the instructor).

Class Attendance

As mentioned above, I do not employ in my classes a class attendance policy. Having said this, you should be aware that class attendance is very important. When engaging in a philosophical and humanistic dialogue it is necessary to be an active and present participant in the ongoing discussion. If you miss class please do not email me asking if you missed anything important. Every class is important. You should get a study buddy for the class; a student in class who will inform you of what you missed. If you miss a class you can come to my office hours or make an appointment to discuss the material, providing you have read the material and you simply want to see if your understanding of the material is on target. Time in office hours will not be used to repeat the class lectures.

Grading Criteria + Paper Writing Tips

Check out this page for grading criteria, example of assignments, etc.

Online Research Sources

Unfortunately, some people think that the internet as such is a reliable source of information. If you decide to use online sources for additional information or your paper then do not just use one of the common internet search engines, such as Google; rather, use reliable academic sources, such as Britannica Online, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy isn’t very good, but still acceptable. Check out MSU’s library resources! And, as with other sources, you must cite any online sources to which you refer in your essay.

Writing Center Information

MSU’s writing center offers excellent help on all matters regarding writing and learning. Check the website at http://writing.msu.edu for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to writing@msu.edu.

Grief Absence Policy

I follow MSU’s general grief absence policy, which can be found here.

Integrity of Scholarship and Grades (Plagiarism)

The following statement of University policy addresses principles and procedures to be used in instances of academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, and falsification of academic or admission records, herein after referred to as academic misconduct. [See General Student Regulation 1.00, Protection of Scholarship and Grades.]

Academic Honesty

Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also https://www.msu.edu/~ombud/)

Plagiarism, from the Ombudsman’s page

Plagiarism (from the Latin plagiarius, an abductor, and plagiare, to steal) is defined by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Misconduct in Research (take that!) as “ . . . the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.”

Accidental or Unintentional
One may not even know that they are plagiarizing.  It is the student’s responsibility to make certain that they understand the difference between quoting and paraphrasing, as well as the proper way to cite material.

Blatant
Here, students are well aware that they are plagiarizing.  Purposefully using someone else’s ideas or work without proper acknowledgment is plagiarism.  This includes turning in borrowed or bought research papers as one’s own.

Self
Turning in the same term paper (or substantially the same paper) for two courses without getting permission from one’s instructor is plagiarism.

The Spartan Code of Honor

Student leaders have recognized the challenging task of discouraging plagiarism from the academic community. The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) is proud to be launching the Spartan Code of Honor academic pledge, focused on valuing academic integrity and honest work ethics at Michigan State University. The pledge reads as follows:

“As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.”

The Spartan Code of Honor academic pledge embodies the principles of integrity that every Spartan is required to uphold in their time as a student, and beyond. The academic pledge was crafted with inspiration of existing individual college honor codes, establishing an overarching statement for the entire university. It was formally adopted by ASMSU on March 3, 2016, endorsed by Academic Governance on March 22, 2016, and recognized by the Provost, President, and Board of Trustees on April 15, 2016.

SIRS Evaluations

Michigan State University takes seriously the opinion of students in the evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction and has implemented the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) to gather student feedback (https://sirsonline.msu.edu). This course utilizes the online SIRS system, and you will receive an e-mail during the last two weeks of class asking you to fill out the SIRS web form at your convenience. In addition, participation in the online SIRS system involves grade sequestration, which means that the final grade for this course will not be accessible on STUINFO during the week following the submission of grades for this course unless the SIRS online form has been completed. Alternatively, you have the option on the SIRS website to decline to participate in the evaluation of the course. We hope, however, that you will be willing to give us your frank and constructive feedback so that we may instruct students even better in the future. If you access the online SIRS website and complete the online SIRS form or decline to participate, you will receive the final grade in this course as usual once final grades are submitted.

Social Media and Sharing of Course Materials

As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:

  • Students may record lectures or any other classroom activities and use the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  • Students may share the recordings with other students enrolled in the class. Sharing is limited to using the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  • Students may post the recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class with the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings.
  • Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions.

Student Support Program (SSP)

Michigan State University is offering all MSU students access to counseling support 24/7/365 through My SSP: Student Support Program. My SSP is free to all MSU students. My SSP is confidential, and can help with:

  • Adapting to new challenges
  • Being successful at school
  • Relationships with friends and family
  • Practical issues with studying
  • Stress, sadness, loneliness, and more

The My SSP professional counselors are available to help anytime, anywhere with:

  • Immediate support by phone and chat
  • Ongoing support by appointment via phone and video
  • In addition, culturally relevant support is available in the language of the caller’s choice.

There are multiple options for connecting with a My SSP counselor:

  • Download the free My SSP app on Google Play or iTunes
  • Chat online at http://us.myissp.com
  • Call 1-866-743-7732
  • From outside North America, call 001.416.380.657

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities should contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to establish reasonable accommodations. For an appointment with a counselor, call 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY)

Drops and Adds

The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.

Note on Attendance

Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course.

Fall 2020: Phil 421: Adorno’s Social Philosophy and Theory of Society

A Genius: Theodor W. Adorno

General information

Instructor

Here is more information about Prof. Lotz

Class Meetings

Days: MW
Time: 8:30 AM – 9:50 AM
Place: ZOOM (invitation link will be sent out via e-mail)

Office

Phone: 517.355.4490 [dept.])
Place: 518 South Kedzie Hall
Hours: ZOOM, via appointment

Other Contact

E-mail: lotz@msu.edu
Home Phone: please ask
Webpage: http://christianlotz.com

Box

You will find my box in the front office of the philosophy department (SK 503)

Schedule

Introduction I: Adorno on Education and Philosophical Thinking

Sep 2, ProfLotz is travelling
No class

Sep 7, Labor Day
No class

Sep 9, General Introduction
Adorno?

Sep 14, General Introduction
Adorno?

Recommended background reading for this class:
Cook, General Introduction to Adorno (D2L)
Cook, Social Philosophy in Adorno (D2L)

Sep 16, Introduction
Adorno, Education After Auschwitz (D2L)
Adorno, Education for Maturity and Responsibility (D2L)

Sep 21, Introduction
Adorno, Why Still Philosophy? (D2L)
Adorno, Notes on Philosophical Thinking (D2L)

Introduction II: Initial Concepts of Social Theory

Sep 23, Introduction
Adorno, Scientific Experiences of a Scholar in America (D2L)

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Sep 28, Introduction
Adorno, Society (D2L)
Voluntary: Adorno, Marginalia to Theory and Praxis (D2L)

Lecture Course: Introduction to Sociology

Sep 30, Sociology as a Theory of Society
Adorno, Introduction to Sociology, Lecture 1-3

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Oct 5, Social Experience
Adorno, Introduction to Sociology, Lecture 4-7

Oct 7, Method
Adorno, Introduction to Sociology, Lecture 8-11

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Oct 12, Psychoanalysis
Adorno, Introduction to Sociology, Lecture 12-14

Oct 14, Political Economy
Adorno, Introduction to Sociology, Lecture 15-17

Late Capitalism: Social Totality & Class & Unequal Exchange

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Oct 19, Concept of Contemporary Society
Adorno, Society (D2L)

Oct 21, Marxism
Adorno, Backhaus Seminar Notes (D2L)
Adorno, Theses on Need (D2L)

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Oct 26, Classes
Adorno, Reflections on Class Society (D2L)

Oct 28, Capitalism or Industrial Society?
Adorno, Positivism Dispute, Introduction (D2L)

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Nov 2, Capitalism or Industrial Society?
Adorno, Positivism Dispute, Introduction (D2L)

Nov 4, Theory and Empirical Research
Adorno, Positivism Dispute, Sociology and Empirical Research (D2L)

Lecture Course: Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Nov 9, Theory
Adorno, Philosophical Elements, Lecture 1-3

Nov 11, Ideology
Adorno, Philosophical Elements, Lecture 4-6

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Nov 16, Integration in Capitalism
Adorno, Philosophical Elements, Lecture 7-9

Nov 18, Psychology/Sociology
Adorno, Philosophical Elements, Lecture 10-12

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Nov 23, Scientific Fetishism
Adorno, Philosophical Elements, Lecture 13-15

Nov 25, Thanksgiving
No Class

Response sheet due on Sunday by 4pm(D2L dropbox will shut down)

Nov 30, Class and Ideology
Adorno, Philosophical Elements, Lecture 16-17

Dec 2, tbd
Shift session

Dec 7, tbd
Shift session

Dec 9, Last Day of Class
Wrap-up

Dec 12, Final Paper
Final Paper due via D2L Dropbox

Course Description

Adorno, 1968
Writings on the Wall: “Fight the Class Based Legal System” & “The Freislers are Still with Us” (Freisler was the worst German Nazi jurist)

In this senior seminar we will read central texts by Theodor W. Adorno on society, sidelining his well-received writings on aesthetics and the modern culture industry. Accordingly, we will sideline his shorter essays on contemporary social phenomena. This seminar is not an introduction to Theodor W. Adorno’s work; rather, it will involve sustained reading and discussion of Adorno’s lecture courses that Adorno gave at the University of Frankfurt during the 60s. While these lecture courses are more accessible than some of his more polished published writings, students should be aware that this class will deal with difficult texts, abstract theoretical questions, and lengthy philosophical reflections. Fortunately, though, in recent decades Adorno has become one of the most well-received European philosophers, although his (well organized and complex) prose requires extremely attentive readers. I think that Adorno’s popularity is related to our increasing uncanniness with our contemporary situation, which is characterized not only by alienation, social inequalities, ecological devastations, commodification, and social isolation, but also by the increased destruction of projections of a better future for our social and individual life. Accordingly, our own time might be the right time to study Adorno again.

Introductory Information

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/adorno/#3

ZOOM/COVID-19

  • This class will be taught via ZOOM in a classical fashion. I will talk about the readings and we will have discussions about the issues discussed by Adorno.
  • The primary text will be the absolute focus of this class; we will read slowly passages together.
  • Our ZOOM sessions require you to be polite and attentive; as such, I do not want you to turn off your microphone, which, in turn, should make it easier for you to focus on the class session. Please make sure that you are in a quiet spot (at a desk or a table), and that you enter our meetings on time.
  • Please use a headset, which helps us create a more “intimate” atmosphere; headset microphones usually remove background noise; inexpensive headsets can easily be found online. If you can’t afford a headset (or don’t want to use one), then please try to use at least headphones or ear buds.
  • If multiple participants are speaking, and if they also use external speakers to hear the meeting audio, there can be an echo loop. Zoom uses echo cancellation to address this problem. However, headset/headphones/earbuds will eliminate this problem.
  • Please also do not turn off your camera (unless your internet connection is very slow), as this will also help everyone focus on our class session and eliminate distractions.
  • Please do not use your phone for ZOOM sessions.
  • Please do not use your phone for reading the material. This is a philosophy class. It is simply impossible to study philosophical texts via such a small screen. I recommend getting the two books selected for class on paper and to print out the readings.
  • Set ZOOM to “gallery view” (instead of “speaker view”), as this makes it easier to see everyone in class (i.e., not only the speaker). Our class is small. So, “gallery view” should work just fine.

Note

This is a 400-level course in philosophy and, as such, contains difficult material and requires mature students. If you are not willing to study dense written material, listen to unusual lectures, and discuss ideas in an organized fashion, then you should not take this class. This class though can be taken by students without prior knowledge in philosophy. You should not take this class if you are not an avid reader.

Course Goals

This class should students introduce to

  • central issues in critical social philosophy
  • how to read major figures of philosophy
  • how to think beyond a naturalistically and scientifically reduced world view
  • how to think critically about general conceptions of society
  • how to conceptualize central aspects of Adorno’s theory of society, such as exchange society, reification, the relation between the empirical and the theoretical, psycho-social aspects, and late capitalism
  • how to think critically about society

Note

Students should be aware of the fact that this course is based on difficult texts. Accordingly, this class requires self-responsible learners and an intense confrontation with the primary text. Accordingly, if you are not excited about the prospect of a daily confrontation with abstract and historical reflections, then you should not take this class. This class is not based on a set of fixed knowledge and, as such, is not based on a behavioral idea of education; rather, we will try to learn together and critically examine the material. The instructor of this class does not have anything to teach, but much to learn.

Required Texts

  • Adorno. Introduction to Sociology
  • Adorno, Philosophical Elements of a Theory of Society
  • additional texts via D2L

Helpful for Background

  • Axel Honneth, “A Physiognomy of the Capitalist Form of Life: A Sketch of Adorno’s Social Theory”, Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 12 (1, (March 2005) [accessible via MSU library].
  • Cook, Deborah (ed.), Adorno. Key Concepts, London: Routledge 2008
  • Two histories of the Institute are available in English: Martin Jay’s Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute for Social Research, 1923–1950 (1973), and Rolf Wiggershaus’s The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance (1994).
  • Biography of Adorno: Stefan Müller-Doohm’s Adorno: A Biography (2005).

Course Requirements

  • daily reading and studying
  • oral presentation + handout
  • 1 final essay assignment
  • 10 response reflection sheets on the readings
  • participation

Note

The class and my lectures are solely based on the texts selected for class and require a thorough study and preparation of the material. I will primarily lecture on the readings, which will help you to more fully understand the texts. Therefore it is not sufficient for students to come to class without having prepared the texts. And indeed, in the assignments you have to demonstrate whether you have appropriately prepared the readings selected for each lecture.

Note

Every academic misconduct, such as plagiarism, will – without exception – lead to a failing grade in class. Check the Ombudsman’s page (see also note below on plagiarism):  https://www.msu.edu/~ombud/

Attendance

To get a good grade in this class, regular attendance is required. I will not call roll. Hence, it is up to you to come to class or not.However, if you do not come to class on a regular basis and participate in the class discussion, it is impossible for you to achieve a good grade in this class; so coming to class is your responsibility and your call. If you choose to attend class, please come on time, turn off cell phones and other electronic devices that interfere with your (and others’) concentration, have the reading prepared and be ready to participate. If you are not prepared, do not bother showing up. It is a sign of disrespect to your peers and the instructor to attend class unprepared. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to obtain class notes from a fellow student and to catch up on reading. Nevertheless, please be aware that you should not make me responsible for a failure that results out of your decision. You should be aware that chances to master this class are minimal, if you do not show up for class or if you do not prepare the readings (=studying).

Assignments

Oral Presentation (overview of assigned reading)

Each student has to prepare one brief oral presentation for class (up to 20 min). The presentation should contain [a] a list of main points and claims, [b] concepts that are unclear, [c] intelligent questions about the readings. You should distribute a brief write-up (=handout, up to 2 pages) 2 days in advance. Your write-up should be a coherently written text; i.e., outlines, flow charts or key words are not sufficient. I recommend sending me your write-up two days before class, as I will offer comments and help improve the write-up

Response Reading Sheets

During this semester you should submit 10 response sheets, in which you present brief reflections on the readings, and formulate up to three questions. These response sheets are due on Sundays at 4pm, via D2L dropbox. This is a generous time frame for you, as I have to read your write-ups late on Sundays. Accordingly, late turn-ins will not be expected. You will lose all points if you miss the dealine. I will then address brief questions at the beginning of each session. Please download and use this form:

Reading Response Sheet (MS Word)

Unannounced Assignments

There might be – from time to time – spontaneously assigned group assignments in class. Students who do not attend class (and have no medical documentation) will lose all points. Given recent negative experience with student’s unwillingness to read and study primary material, I might assign unannounced reading quizzes. Quizzes cannot be made up (except in cases mentioned below).

Make-Up Assignments

Students who need to miss assignments for excusable reasons, such as a death in their families, MSU related business, emergency weather conditions, or medical reasons, must inform me, and will be permitted to make up assignments.

Adorno, 1968, with his students

Course Evaluation

Assignments

Final paper25 points
Participation15 points
10 brief response sheets on readings30 points
Oral presentation+handout10+5 points
Unannounced assignments15 points
 ——–
  100 points
  

Grading

4.0 (=A)100 – 93
3.592 – 87
3 (=B)86 – 82
2.581 – 77
2 (=C)76 – 72
1.571 – 65
1.0 (=D)64 – 60
0.0< 60

GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)

Laptop/Cell Phone/Tablet Policy

You are not permitted to use laptops or cell phones in class, unless needed for medical reasons. Flat devices, such as tablets, are permitted  if you have purchased the literature required for class electronically. Please do not text under the table. Cell phones should be removed from tables. Failure to follow this policy will lead to unannounced assignments in class or loss of points (at the digression of the instructor).

Class Attendance

As mentioned above, I do not employ in my classes a class attendance policy. Having said this, you should be aware that class attendance is very important. When engaging in a philosophical and humanistic dialogue it is necessary to be an active and present participant in the ongoing discussion. If you miss class please do not email me asking if you missed anything important. Every class is important. You should get a study buddy for the class; a student in class who will inform you of what you missed. If you miss a class you can come to my office hours or make an appointment to discuss the material, providing you have read the material and you simply want to see if your understanding of the material is on target. Time in office hours will not be used to repeat the class lectures.

Grading Criteria + Paper Writing Tips

Check out this page for grading criteria, example of assignments, etc.

Online Research Sources

Unfortunately, some people think that the internet as such is a reliable source of information. If you decide to use online sources for additional information or your paper then do not just use one of the common internet search engines, such as Google; rather, use reliable academic sources, such as Britannica Online, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy isn’t very good, but still acceptable. Check out MSU’s library resources! And, as with other sources, you must cite any online sources to which you refer in your essay.

Writing Center Information

MSU’s writing center offers excellent help on all matters regarding writing and learning. Check the website at http://writing.msu.edu for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to writing@msu.edu.

Grief Absence Policy

I follow MSU’s general grief absence policy, which can be found here.

Integrity of Scholarship and Grades (Plagiarism)

The following statement of University policy addresses principles and procedures to be used in instances of academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, and falsification of academic or admission records, herein after referred to as academic misconduct. [See General Student Regulation 1.00, Protection of Scholarship and Grades.]

Academic Honesty

Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also https://www.msu.edu/~ombud/)

Plagiarism, from the Ombudsman’s page

Plagiarism (from the Latin plagiarius, an abductor, and plagiare, to steal) is defined by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Misconduct in Research (take that!) as “ . . . the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.”

Accidental or Unintentional
One may not even know that they are plagiarizing.  It is the student’s responsibility to make certain that they understand the difference between quoting and paraphrasing, as well as the proper way to cite material.

Blatant
Here, students are well aware that they are plagiarizing.  Purposefully using someone else’s ideas or work without proper acknowledgment is plagiarism.  This includes turning in borrowed or bought research papers as one’s own.

Self
Turning in the same term paper (or substantially the same paper) for two courses without getting permission from one’s instructor is plagiarism.

The Spartan Code of Honor

Student leaders have recognized the challenging task of discouraging plagiarism from the academic community. The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) is proud to be launching the Spartan Code of Honor academic pledge, focused on valuing academic integrity and honest work ethics at Michigan State University. The pledge reads as follows:

“As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.”

The Spartan Code of Honor academic pledge embodies the principles of integrity that every Spartan is required to uphold in their time as a student, and beyond. The academic pledge was crafted with inspiration of existing individual college honor codes, establishing an overarching statement for the entire university. It was formally adopted by ASMSU on March 3, 2016, endorsed by Academic Governance on March 22, 2016, and recognized by the Provost, President, and Board of Trustees on April 15, 2016.

SIRS Evaluations

Michigan State University takes seriously the opinion of students in the evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction and has implemented the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) to gather student feedback (https://sirsonline.msu.edu). This course utilizes the online SIRS system, and you will receive an e-mail during the last two weeks of class asking you to fill out the SIRS web form at your convenience. In addition, participation in the online SIRS system involves grade sequestration, which means that the final grade for this course will not be accessible on STUINFO during the week following the submission of grades for this course unless the SIRS online form has been completed. Alternatively, you have the option on the SIRS website to decline to participate in the evaluation of the course. We hope, however, that you will be willing to give us your frank and constructive feedback so that we may instruct students even better in the future. If you access the online SIRS website and complete the online SIRS form or decline to participate, you will receive the final grade in this course as usual once final grades are submitted.

Social Media and Sharing of Course Materials

As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:

  1. Students may record lectures or any other classroom activities and use the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  2. Students may share the recordings with other students enrolled in the class. Sharing is limited to using the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  3. Students may post the recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class with the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings.
  4. Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions.

Student Support Program (SSP)

Michigan State University is offering all MSU students access to counseling support 24/7/365 through My SSP: Student Support Program. My SSP is free to all MSU students. My SSP is confidential, and can help with:

  • Adapting to new challenges
  • Being successful at school
  • Relationships with friends and family
  • Practical issues with studying
  • Stress, sadness, loneliness, and more

The My SSP professional counselors are available to help anytime, anywhere with:

  • Immediate support by phone and chat
  • Ongoing support by appointment via phone and video
  • In addition, culturally relevant support is available in the language of the caller’s choice.

There are multiple options for connecting with a My SSP counselor:

  • Download the free My SSP app on Google Play or iTunes
  • Chat online at http://us.myissp.com
  • Call 1-866-743-7732
  • From outside North America, call 001.416.380.657

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities should contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to establish reasonable accommodations. For an appointment with a counselor, call 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY)

Drops and Adds

The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.

Note on Attendance

Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course.

Spring 2020: Iah 231b – Is Another World Possible? Capitalism and Post-Capitalism

General information

Instructor

Here is more information about Prof. Lotz

Class Meetings

Days: M/W
Time: 3 PM – 4:50 PM
Place: 135 Akers Hall

Office & Office Hours

Hours: Mondays, from 12:30-2:30pm, and, by appointment, on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9am and 12:30pm. We can also always talk after class on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Phone: 517.355.4490 [dept.])
Place: 518 S. Kedzie Hall

Other Contact

E-mail: lotz@msu.edu
Home Phone: please ask
Webpage: http://christianlotz.com

Box

You will find my box in the front office of the philosophy department, SK 503

Schedule

Introduction

Jan 6, Introduction+Overview
Harvey, The Crises of Capitalism
How to Save the World From Financialisation: Interview with Grace Blakeley

Jan 8, The First Theory of Globalization in Marx/Engels
Marx/Engels, The Communist Manifesto, section 1: Bourgeois and Proletarians
online here: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/

Jan 13,  Seven Cheap Things
Patel/Moore, Introduction and Conclusion to A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (D2L)

Background:
Talk by Patel, The History of the World in 7 Cheap Things

Section I: Opening Up the Black Box

Jan 15, Money, Debt & Capital Accumulation
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, Introduction, pp. 1-12
Keen, The Smoking Gun of Credit (D2L)

Background:
Harvey, The Rate and Mass of Growth, online here: https://youtu.be/m7c41IjNz_Q

Quiz 1 (2)

Jan 20, No class
MLK Day

Jan 22, No class
Class cancelled

Jan 27, The Black Box & Negative Market Externalities
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, Introduction, pp.1-12 and pp. 35-40 of chapter 2 and pp.127-133 of part II 

Jan 29, The Black Box & Negative Market Externalities
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, pp. 35-40 of chapter 2 and pp.127-133 of part II

Feb 3, Film

Film Paper Assignment 1 (5) [due: Feb 9 at 11:59pm, via D2L]

Section II: Major Issues of Global Capitalism

Feb 5, The Consumer
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, chapter 1, pp. 12-35 

Feb 10, The Laborer
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, chapter 2, pp. 40-57

In-class group assignment 1 (3) [due: Feb 11 at 11:59pm, via D2L]

Feb 12, The Nation-State
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, chapter 4, pp. 99-127
Neilson&Mezzadra, The State of Capitalist Globalization; here: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2014/09/04/the-state-of-capitalist-globalization/  

Feb 17, Migration
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, chapter 5, pp. 133-168

In-class group assignment 2 (3)

Feb 19, Hunger and Poverty
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, chapter 6, pp. 168-197

Feb 24, Ecology
Robbins, The Culture of Capitalism, chapter 7, pp. 197-220  

In-class group assignment 3 (3)

Feb 26, No Class
Class cancelled

Mar 2, No Class
Spring Break

Mar 4, No Class
Spring Break

Mar 9, Film

Film Paper Assignment 2 (5) [due: Mar 15 at 11:59pm, via D2L]

Section III: Transition – Think Outside the Box!

Mar 11, No class (due to Corona Virus)
I will send an email with further instructions by Sunday night.

SYLLABUS UPDATED ON 3/12

Mar 16, GDP vs. Quality of Life
Stieglitz/Senn, Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/118025/118123/Fitoussi+Commission+report (read pp. 21-61)

Suspension Assignment 1 (5); due: 3/22 at 11:59 via D2L dropbox

Mar 18,  Zoom Meeting
Voluntary Zoom Session 1
Zoom link, send out via email at 2:30pm

Mar 23, How to Think Differently: The Common Good
Felber, Creating an Economy for the Common Good, preface & chapters 1-2

Suspension Assignment 2 (5); due: 3/29 at 11:59 via D2L dropbox

Mar 25, Zoom Meeting
Voluntary Zoom Session 2
Zoom link, send out via email at 2:30pm

Mar 30, Private Property & Motivation Issues
Felber, Creating an Economy for the Common Good, chapters 4-5

Suspension Assignment 3 (5); due: 4/5 at 11:59 via D2L dropbox

Apr 1, Zoom Meeting
Voluntary Zoom Session 3
Zoom link, send out via email at 2:30pm

Apr 6, Meaning&Democracy
Felber, Creating an Economy for the Common Good, chapters 6-7

Suspension Assignment 4 (5); due: 4/12 at 11:59 via D2L dropbox

Apr 8, Zoom Meeting
Voluntary Zoom Session 4
Zoom link, send out via email at 2:30pm

Section IV: Final At-Home Project

Apr 13, no reading

Final at-home paper and research project assignment will be sent out via email and be posted to D2L (20)

Topics for the final home project:
A Post-Growth vs. Green Growth Society
B Wealth Inequalities

Apr 20 – Apr 23,
You can request voluntary individual zoom sessions with me if you would like to discuss your final at-home project; I won’t accept requests for meetings after Apr 23 [email sent out on April 16].

Apr 26,
Final paper project due by Apr 26 at 11:59pm via D2L dropbox

Course Description

In this course we will examine our current world in a global perspective by critically analyzing our current world as a specifically capitalist world. I will help you to think more clearly about what global capitalism consists of and what its limits are, by critically thinking about the main components of global capitalism, such as money, capital, labor, state, negative market externalities, commodification, global poverty, global migration, and the destruction of our natural environments. We will look more closely into one of many recent proposals to think differently about economy and the social world by reading Christian Felber’s book on the common good. Finally, we will discuss a few selected real issues that help us to think more clearly about a different world in which your dreams have not been cancelled, such as ideas about sharing economy, post-growth societies, and more democratic participation in workplaces and cities.

IAH Course Goals

The mission of Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities is to help students become more familiar with ways of knowing in the arts and humanities and to be more knowledgeable and capable in a range of intellectual and expressive abilities.  IAH courses encourage students to engage critically with their own society, history, and culture(s); they also encourage students to learn more about the history and culture of other societies.  They focus on key ideas and issues in human experience; encourage appreciation of the roles of knowledge and values in shaping and understanding human behavior; emphasize the responsibilities and opportunities of democratic citizenship; highlight the value of the creative arts of literature, theater, music, and arts; and alert us to important issues that occur among peoples in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world. The goals of IAH courses are to assist students to

  • Cultivate habits of inquiry and develop investigative strategies from arts and humanities perspectives;
  • Explore social, cultural, and artistic expressions and contexts;
  • Act as culturally aware and ethically responsible citizens in local and global communities.
  • Critically assess, produce, and communicate knowledge in a variety of media for a range of audiences; and
  • Recognize and understand the value of diversity and the significance of interconnectedness in the classroom and beyond.

IAH Course Goals Addressed in this Course

  • Develop a range of intellectual abilities, including critical thinking, logical argument, appropriate uses of evidence and interpretation of varied kinds of information. (quantitative, qualitative, text, image)
  • Become more knowledgeable about other times, places, and cultures as well as key ideas and issues in human experience.
  • Appreciate the role of knowledge, and of values and ethics in understanding human behavior and solving social problems
  • Recognize the responsibilities and opportunities associated with citizenship in a democratic society and an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world.

Specific Course Goals

This lecture class should students introduce to

  • think more clearly about money, debt, and capital
  • how to think about fundamental aspects of global capitalism
  • think more clearly about the role of money, debt, and market externalities
  • think more clearly about resistance to capitalism (indigenous+systemic)
  • envision a different world based on the concept of the common good
  • creatively think through a few selected aspects of a future world that is already around the corner

Diversity Requirement (D)

This course is designated as a Diversity (D) course and has been approved toward meeting the University Diversity Requirement. Courses designated as “D” emphasize intercultural and diversity issues, ideas, and perspectives unconnected to geography or nation. The “D” designates a connection between intercultural and diversity topics that emphasizes the intersectionality of diverse identities and critical approaches to dominant narratives, institutions, and practices. Overall, courses with “D” focus on themes and questions that transcend time, space, and location. The learning objectives and outcomes of the course will emphasize this designation and provide a guide for how this course furthers understanding of diversity at MSU and beyond.

Note

Real learning is not properly measured by multiple-choice tests; especially since in the humanities there is no specific content of a sort that may be covered well in standardized examinations, which every student in the humanities should be expected to master. Instead, you will – hopefully – come to recognize that this class is about a general intellectual reflection on our contemporary world that requires concepts and critical reflections. The class deals with your dignity as human beings and with your intellect and reason, which is best expressed in a form of learning that is based on understanding and insight, and not mere learning by heart. It is hoped that the class will stimulate the view that intellectual activity (and therefore human reality) has to do with the passion of thinking, and the passion of understanding of our world. Intense confrontation with texts is the center of this class. “Information” as something to be consumed is important but secondary.

Required Texts (Bookstore)

Please buy the following titles:

  • Title: Change Everything: Creating an Economy for the Common Good
    Author: Christian Felber
    ISBN: 9781786997470
    Publisher: Zed Books Ltd.
  • Title: Global Problems and the Culture of CapitalismAuthor: Richard H. Robbins
    ISBN: 9780205917655
    Publisher: Pearson College Division
    Note: The 6th edition only!!!

Please no digital editions!!!!

Additional copies will be posted to D2L

Course Organization

The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] “interactive” lecture, [ii] discussion time or [iii] response time. Students will be asked to intensively prepare a certain text or part of a text for the next class period.

Course Requirements

  • Daily reading and studying
  • 6 response sheets
  • final take-home exam
  • short film reaction papers & and short homework weekend assignments
  • unannounced assignments in class, including reading quizzes

Note on Lecture

The class and my lectures are solely based on the texts selected for class and require a thorough study and preparation of the material. I will primarily lecture on the readings, which will help you to more fully understand the texts. Therefore it is not sufficient for students to come to class without having prepared the texts. And indeed, in the exams you have to demonstrate whether you have appropriately prepared the readings selected for each lecture.

Note on Plagiarism

Every academic misconduct, such as plagiarism, will – without exception – lead to a failing grade in class. Check the Ombudsman’s page (see also note below on plagiarism): https://www.msu.edu/~ombud/

Note on Attendance

I hope and strongly encourage that students attend all lectures. However, I will not require attendance, as I think that college students should manage their own class attendance decisions. I will not call roll. Hence, it is up to you to come to class or not. However, if you do not come to class on a regular basis and participate in class, it is very difficult for you to achieve a good grade in this class, especially since you won’t be able to make up assignments in class. If you choose to attend class, please come on time, turn off cell phones and other electronic devices that interfere with your (and others’) concentration, have the reading prepared and be ready to participate. If you are not prepared, do not bother showing up. It is a sign of disrespect to your peers and the instructor to attend class unprepared. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to obtain class notes from a fellow student and to catch up on reading.

General Note on Preparations

I expect that you come to class having prepared the texts carefully and thoroughly. The reading for the next session, if not clear from the course schedule (below), will be announced at the end of the previous class. “Preparing for class” implies underlining and making excerpts from the text assigned; looking up unfamiliar vocabulary and writing them into a note book (I encourage you to keep a vocabulary booklet for all of your classes). Just reading the text won’t be sufficient. You have to study the material. Some vocabulary might not be sufficiently explained in a regular dictionary (this goes especially for philosophical terms), so it is necessary to consult additional sources, and the MSU Library Website is a great resource for nearly all questions in this regard).

Unannounced Assignments

There will be announced and unannounced reading quizzes, homework-assignments, and group assignments. Students who do not attend class (and have no written documentation) will lose all points. Reading quizzes, homework assignments, and group assignments cannot be made up without reasonable excuses (see above).

Class Response Sheets

Every student is asked to submit up to 5 class response sheets during the semester. Please download the form here (plus: print them out add it to your class folder). Response sheets must be submitted at the end of a class session. I do not accept late turn ins or turn ins by email.

Download response sheet (I will only accept answers that are given on this form)

Note about Response Sheets

You are not allowed to turn in response sheets during the last week of class!

Response Time

Selected response sheets will be addressed at the beginning of each class. This procedure will help you and me to clarify problems, reflect on topics, and to find answers to questions that came up during last class.

Film Response Papers

Films shown in class will be accompanied by short writing assignments (300-650 words). I will let you know in connection with the material and the “flow” of the class whether it will indeed be accompanied by an assignment. The documentary and feature film selected for this class are all high quality films that will demand your attention and challenge your critical judgment. The assignment will be passed out in class. These assignments cannot be made up, unless you show medical documentation. Accordingly, if you do not come to class on “film days,” then you might lose the points for the assignment. Film assignments will be submitted via D2L dropbox.

Final Assignment

There will be a final take-home essay questions assignment. It is due on the day of the final exam via D2L dropbox.

Make-Up Assignments

If we have assignments in class and you miss class on those days, you will not be able to make up the assignment. Students who miss assignments for excusable reasons (medical reasons&MSU related business&emergencies) must inform me via email, and will be permitted to make up the assignment. I will only accept written documentation.

Course Evaluation

Assignments

1 final take-home project20 points
4 short film reaction papers10 points (reduced to 2 papers)
reading quizzes, in-class assignments, and suspension assignments20 points (11 points before class suspension + 9 free points)
Suspension assignments20 points
6 response sheets (use form) 30 points (everyone receives 30 points, due to class suspension)
——–
   100 points
 

Grading

4.0 (=A)100 – 93
3.592 – 87
3 (=B)86 – 82
2.581 – 77
2 (=C)76 – 72
1.571 – 65
1.0 (=D)64 – 60
0.0< 60

GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)

Laptop/Cell Phone/Tablet Policy

You are not permitted to use laptops or cell phones in class, unless needed for medical reasons. Flat devices, such as tablets, are permitted  if you have purchased the literature required for class electronically. Please do not text under the table. Cell phones should be removed from tables. Failure to follow this policy will lead to unannounced assignments in class or to a lower grade (at the digression of the instructor).

Note on Cell Phones

Your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach — even if it’s off. That’s the takeaway finding from a new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Please also read this: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Class Attendance

As mentioned above, I do not employ in my classes a class attendance policy. Having said this, you should be aware that class attendance is very important. When engaging in a philosophical and humanistic dialogue it is necessary to be an active and present participant in the ongoing discussion. If you miss class please do not email me asking if you missed anything important. Every class is important. You should get a study buddy for the class; a student in class who will inform you of what you missed. If you miss a class you can come to my office hours or make an appointment to discuss the material, providing you have read the material and you simply want to see if your understanding of the material is on target. Time in office hours will not be used to repeat the class lectures.

Grading Criteria + Paper Writing Tips

Check out this page for grading criteria, example of assignments, etc.

Online Research Sources

Unfortunately, some people think that the internet as such is a reliable source of information. If you decide to use online sources for additional information or your paper then do not just use one of the common internet search engines, such as Google; rather, use reliable academic sources, such as Britannica Online, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy isn’t very good, but still acceptable. Check out MSU’s library resources! And, as with other sources, you must cite any online sources to which you refer in your essay.

Writing Center Information

MSU’s writing center offers excellent help on all matters regarding writing and learning. Check the website at http://writing.msu.edu for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to writing@msu.edu.

Grief Absence Policy

I follow MSU’s general grief absence policy, which can be found here.

Integrity of Scholarship and Grades (Plagiarism)

The following statement of University policy addresses principles and procedures to be used in instances of academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, and falsification of academic or admission records, herein after referred to as academic misconduct. [See General Student Regulation 1.00, Protection of Scholarship and Grades.]

Academic Honesty

Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also https://www.msu.edu/~ombud/)

Plagiarism, from the Ombudsman’s page

Plagiarism (from the Latin plagiarius, an abductor, and plagiare, to steal) is defined by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Misconduct in Research (take that!) as “ . . . the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.”

Accidental or Unintentional
One may not even know that they are plagiarizing.  It is the student’s responsibility to make certain that they understand the difference between quoting and paraphrasing, as well as the proper way to cite material.

Blatant
Here, students are well aware that they are plagiarizing.  Purposefully using someone else’s ideas or work without proper acknowledgment is plagiarism.  This includes turning in borrowed or bought research papers as one’s own.

Self
Turning in the same term paper (or substantially the same paper) for two courses without getting permission from one’s instructor is plagiarism.

The Spartan Code of Honor

Student leaders have recognized the challenging task of discouraging plagiarism from the
academic community. The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) is proud to be launching the Spartan Code of Honor academic pledge, focused on valuing academic integrity and honest work ethics at Michigan State University. The pledge reads as follows:

“As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.”

The Spartan Code of Honor academic pledge embodies the principles of integrity that every Spartan is required to uphold in their time as a student, and beyond. The academic pledge was crafted with inspiration of existing individual college honor codes, establishing an overarching statement for the entire university. It was formally adopted by ASMSU on March 3, 2016, endorsed by Academic Governance on March 22, 2016, and recognized by the Provost, President, and Board of Trustees on April 15, 2016.

Plagiarism Avoidance Primer

Download document here.

TurnItIn Policy

Consistent with MSU’s efforts to enhance student learning, foster honesty, and maintain integrity in our academic processes, instructors may use a tool in D2L called Turnitin OriginalityCheck to compare a student’s work with multiple sources. The tool compares each student’s work with an extensive database of prior publications and papers, providing links to possible matches and a “similarity score.” The tool does not determine whether plagiarism has occurred or not. Instead, the instructor must make a complete assessment and judge the originality of the student’s work. All submissions to this course may be checked using this tool. Students should submit assignments to be screened by OriginalityCheck without identifying information included in the assignment (e.g., the student’s name, PID, or NetID); the system will automatically show identifying information to the course faculty when viewing the submissions, but this information will not be retained by Turnitin.

SIRS Evaluations

Michigan State University takes seriously the opinion of students in the evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction and has implemented the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) to gather student feedback (https://sirsonline.msu.edu). This course utilizes the online SIRS system, and you will receive an e-mail during the last two weeks of class asking you to fill out the SIRS web form at your convenience. In addition, participation in the online SIRS system involves grade sequestration, which means that the final grade for this course will not be accessible on STUINFO during the week following the submission of grades for this course unless the SIRS online form has been completed. Alternatively, you have the option on the SIRS website to decline to participate in the evaluation of the course. We hope, however, that you will be willing to give us your frank and constructive feedback so that we may instruct students even better in the future. If you access the online SIRS website and complete the online SIRS form or decline to participate, you will receive the final grade in this course as usual once final grades are submitted.

Social Media and Sharing of Course Materials

As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:

  1. Students may record lectures or any other classroom activities and use the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  2. Students may share the recordings with other students enrolled in the class. Sharing is limited to using the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  3. Students may post the recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class with the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings.
  4. Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities should contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to establish reasonable accommodations. For an appointment with a counselor, call 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY)

Mental Health Services

College students often experience issues that may interfere with academic success such as academic stress, sleep problems, juggling responsibilities, life events, relationship concerns, or feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, or depression. If you or a friend is struggling, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Helpful, effective resources are available on campus, and most are free of charge.

  • Drop by Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) main location (3rd floor of Olin Health Center) for a same-day mental health screening.
  • Visit https://caps.msu.edu for online health assessments, hours, and additional CAPS services.
  • Call CAPS at 517.355.8270 any time, day or night.
  • 24-Hour MSU Sexual Assault Crisis Line 517.372.6666 or visit https://centerforsurvivors.msu.edu/

Title IX and Mandatory Reporting

Michigan State University is committed to fostering a culture of caring and respect that is free of relationship violence and sexual misconduct, and to ensuring that all affected individuals have access to services.  For information on reporting options, confidential advocacy and support resources, university policies and procedures, or how to make a difference on campus, visit the Title IX website at titleix.msu.edu.

Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University’s student record policies.  However, students should be aware that University employees, including instructors, may not be able to maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues to protect the health and safety of MSU community members and others.  As the instructor, I must report the following information to other University offices (including the Department of Police and Public Safety) if you share it with me:

  • Suspected child abuse/neglect, even if this maltreatment happened when you were a child;
  • Allegations of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual harassment; and
  • Credible threats of harm to oneself or to others.

These reports may trigger contact from a campus official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared.  In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual.  If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting, you are encouraged to make an appointment with the MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services.

On & Off Campus 24 Hour Emergency Services:

National Suicide Prevention (Lifeline)
Collect Calls Accepted 24 Hours
1-800- 273-TALK (8255)

MSU Police Department
Emergency: 911
Business Line: (517) 355-2221

MSU Counseling Center Sexual Assault Program
(517) 372-6666

Community Mental Health
(800) 372-8460
(517) 346-8460

MSU Safe Place (Domestic Violence Shelter)
Crisis Line: (517) 355-1100

Drops and Adds

The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.

Note on Attendance

Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course.