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Historiography Seminar 3: Marx - Families and Followers

SEMINAR THREE: MARX: FAMILIES AND FOLLOWERS (after lectures on `Karl Marx: History and Theory; Theories of History’ and ` Marx and his Interlocutors’)

The seminar will explore some of the ways in which Marx’s history and philosophy of history was transmitted to twentieth-century historians and social scientists. What was at stake in mid-century arguments with and for Marxism? Why was the `marriage’ of Marxism and feminism was ever thought to be a desirable outcome for historical and social inquiry? We will continue to explore the idea of the historian writing about his/her own times in the guise of the past. This is a particularly interesting question in relation to `The Eighteenth Brumaire’: Marx wrote in the middle of what would only later be labelled `a historical event’ (Louis Bonaparte’s 1852 coup).


Marx, K., & Engels, F., The Communist Manifesto (1848), Section I (‘Bourgeois and Proletarians’), in Karl Marx: Selected Writings (ed. D. McLellan, Oxford, 1977), 222-31

Marx, K., `The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’ (1852), in Karl Marx: Selected Writings (ed. D. McLellan, Oxford, 1977), 300-25

Marx, K., ‘Preface’ to A Critique of Political Economy in Karl Marx: Selected Writings (ed. D. McLellan, Oxford, 1977), 388-92

All works by Marx can be found (in addition to the scanned extracts above) in the Moscow Foreign Languages editions of Marx's collected or selected works. Alternatively you can use the extracts provided in the SLC Photocopy Collection. There are multiple copies of two abbreviated versions of `The Eighteenth Brumaire’ here: one from McLellan, the other (rather longer) from the Moscow Selected works. The SLC photocopies of Section 1 of The Communist Manifesto are labelled 'Bourgeois & Proletarians'. All these items are available at many websites.

Background Seminar Reading:

Alexander, S. `Women, Class, and Sexual Difference’, History Workshop, 17, (1984), 125-49.

Althusser, L. `Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an Investigation)’ in Essays on Ideology (London, 1971), 1-60. Also available in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (London, 1977) (SLC photocopy)

Gramsci, A., Selections from the Prison Notebooks (eds. G. Nowell-Smith & Q. Hoare, London, 1971), 52-55; 323; 419-30

Hartman, H. `The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism’, in L. Sargent (ed.), Women and Revolution. A Discussion of the Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism (London, 1981), 1-41

Hughes-Warrington, M., Fifty Key Thinkers on History (London, 2000), 215-224

Iggers, G. and Wang, Q. E., A Global History of Modern Historiography (Harlow, 2008), pp. 317-337

Thompson, E. P., `The Poverty of Theory: or, An Orrery of Errors’, in The Poverty of Theory & Other Essays (London, 1978), pp.193-397.

Questions for Seminar Preparation (may also be used as essay titles):

  1. What is the relationship between class, class structure, and class consciousness in Marx’s history-writing?
  2. How successful is The Eighteenth Brumaire in explaining away the failure of the vision expressed in The Communist Manifesto?
  3. `The material conditions of life determine the nature of human consciousness and society, not the other way round’. Discuss.
  4. Why has Marx’s thought endured among historians?

Further Historiographical Approaches:

Eley, G., ‘Marxist Historiography’, in S. Berger, H. Feldner and K. Passmore (eds), Writing History: Theory and Practice (London, 2003), 63-82

Green, A., & Troup, K. (eds), The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-century History and Theory (Manchester, 1999), 33-43, 44-58 (‘Marxist Historians’)

Rollison, D., ‘Marxism’, in G. Walker (ed.), Writing Early Modern History (London, 2005), 3-24

Marx: Origins and Influences:

Aron, R., Main Currents in Sociological Thought, vol. I: Montesquieu, Comte, Marx, Tocqueville, the Sociologists and the Revolutions of 1848 (London, 1968)

Cohen, G., Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence (Oxford, 1978)

Derrida, J. Spectres of Marx. The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International (London, 1994)

Fernbach, D. (ed.), [Marx’s] Political Writings (The Revolution of 1848; Surveys from Exile), 2 vols (London, 1973) (both contain valuable introductions)

Giosue, G., ‘Tragedy and Repetition in Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte’, Clio, 26:4 (1997), 411-25

Groopman, L.C., ‘A Re-reading of Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, Journal of European Studies, 12:2 (1982), 113-29

Hall, S., ‘The “Political” and the “Economic” in Marx's Theory of Classes’, in A. Hunt (ed.), Class and Class Structure (London, 1977), 15-60

Hayes, P., ‘Utopia and the Lumpenproletriat: Marx’s Reasoning in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte’, Review of Politics, 50:3 (1988), 445-65

Hobsbawm, E. ‘Karl Marx's Contribution to Historiography’, in R. Blackburn (ed.), Ideology in Social Science: Readings in Critical Social Theory (London, 1972), 265-83

Hobsbawm, E., ‘Class Consciousness in History’, in I. Meszaros (ed.), Aspects of History and Class Consciousness (London, 1971), 5-21

Hobsbawm, E., ‘Introduction’, to K. Marx & F. Engels, The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition (London, 1998), 3-29

Hobsbawm, E., ‘Marx and History’, in E. Hobsbawm, On History (London, 1997), 157-70

Krieger, L., ‘Marx and Engels as Historians’, in B. Jessop & C. Malcolm-Brown (eds), Karl Marx's Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments, Vol. II: Social Class and Class Conflict (London, 1990), 49-72

Laibman, D., ‘The Legacy of The Eighteenth Brumaire’, Science and Society, 66:4 (2002-03), 441-45

Moss, B. H., ‘Marx and Engels on French Social Democracy: Historians or Revolutionaries?’, Journal of the History of Ideas 46:4 (1985), 539-58

Riquelme, J-P., ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Karl Marx as Symbolic Action’, History and Theory 19:1 (1980), 58-72

Shaw, W. H., `“The Handmill Gives You the Feudal Lord”: Marx’s Technological Determinism’, History and Theory 18 (1979), 155-76

Spencer, M., 'Marx on the State: Events in France 1848-50', Theory & Society (1979), 167-98

Whittam, J., ‘Karl Marx’, in J. Cannon (ed.), The Historian at Work (London, 1980), 86-103

`Revisiting Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire after 150 Years’ (in a Special Issue of Strategies. A
Journal of Theory, Culture and Politics (2003):

Macdonald, B. J., ‘Revisiting Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire After 150 Years: Introduction’, Strategies 16:1 (2003), 3-4

Carver, T., ‘Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte - Eliding 150 Years’, Strategies 16:1 (2003), 5-11

Myers, J. C., ‘From Stage-ist Theories to a Theory of the Stage: The Concept of Ideology in Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire’, Strategies, 16:1 (2003), 13-21

Snyder, R. C., `The Citizen-Soldier and the Tragedy of The Eighteenth Brumaire’, Strategies 16:1 (2003), 23-37

Wendling, A. E., ‘Are All Revolution Bourgeois? Revolutionary Temporality in Karl Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, Strategies 16:1 (2003), 39-49 .

Roberts, W. C., ‘Marx Contra the Democrats: The Force of The Eighteenth Brumaire’, Strategies 16:1 (2003), 51-64

Macdonald, B. J., ‘Inaugurating Heterodoxy: Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire and the “Limit-Experience” of Class Struggle’, Strategies 16:1 (2003), 65-75

(Yet) More Marxism(s)/Yet More Marxists:

Althusser, L., For Marx/Pour Marx, orig. pub 1965 (London, 1990)

Anderson, P., Arguments within English Marxism (London, 1980)

Anderson, P., Considerations on Western Marxism (London, 1976)

Boggs, C., The Two Revolutions. Antonio Gramsci and the Dilemmas of Western Marxism (Boston MA, 1984)

Elster, J., An Introduction to Karl Marx (Cambridge, 1986)

Forgacs, D. (ed.), A Gramsci Reader. Selected Writings 1916-1935 (London, 1988), 189-221.

Giddens, A., Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber (Cambridge, 1971)

Gramsci, A., `Our Marx’ (1918), Pre-Prison Writings, ed. R. Bellamy (Cambridge, 1994), 54-58

Hobsbawm, E. J., `Eric Hobsbawm: A Historian Living Through History', Socialist History, 8 (1995), 54-60.

Kaye, H. J., The Powers of the Past: Reflections on the Crisis and the Promise of History (New York, 1991)

Kaye, H. J. 'Fanning the Spark of Hope in the Past: the British Marxist Historians', Rethinking History, 4:3 (2000), 281-94.

Kellner, D., ‘The Obsolescence of Marxism?’, in B. Magnus & S. Cullenberg (ed.), Whither Marxism? Global Crises in International Perspective (New York, 1995), 3-30

Lukács, G., History and Class Consciousness. Studies in Marxist Dialectics (London, 1971)

Luxemburg, R., The Russian Revolution, and Leninism or Marxism? (orig. pub. 1918; New York, 1992)

Luxemburg, R., Reform or Revolution? (orig. pub. 1900, New York, 1973)

`The Rosa Luxemburg Library’ at

McLellan, D., Marxism after Marx: An Introduction (London, 1998)

McLennan, G., Marxism, Pluralism and Beyond: Classic Debates and New Directions (Cambridge, 1989), esp. chs. 3 & 4

Miller, R.W., Analyzing Marx: Morality, Power and History (Princeton, 1984)

Parker, D., Ideology, Absolutism, and the English Revolution. Debates of the English Communist Historians, 1945-1956 (London, 2008), Introduction

Parkin, F., Marxism and Class Theory: A Bourgeois Critique (London, 1979)

Perkins, S., Marxism and the Proletariat: A Lukacsian Perspective (London, 1993)

Poulantsas, N., Political Power and Social Classes (London, 1973)

Ransome, P., Antonio Gramsci: A New Introduction (New York, 1992)

Renton, D., `Studying Their Own Nation Without Insularity? The British Marxist Historians Reconsidered', Science and Society, 69:4 (2005), 559-79.

Rigby, S., Marxism and History: A Critical Introduction (Manchester, 1987)

Samuel, R., The Lost World of British Communism (London, 2006)

Stallybrass, P., `Marx’s Coat’, in P. Speyer (ed.), Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Spaces (London, 1998), 83-287.

Steedman, C., `Biographical Spaces, Fictions of the Self’, in J. Stokes (ed.), Eleanor Marx (1855-1898): Life, Work, Contacts (London, 2000), 1-39.

Wood, E. M., & Foster, J. B. (eds), In Defence of History: Marxism and the Post-Modern Agenda (New York, 1997)

Wood, E. M., The Retreat from Class: A New ‘True’ Socialism (New York, 1986)

Marxism and Feminism (and Other Unhappy Marriages):

Alexander, S., `Women, Class and Sexual Differences in the 1830s and 1840s : some reflections on the writing of a feminist history', History Workshop, 17 (1984), 125-49

Arnold, D. `Gramsci and Peasant Subalternity in India', C. Vinayak (ed.), Mapping Subaltern Studies and the Postcolonial (London, 2000), 24-49.

Barrett, M., Women’s Oppression Today. Some Problems in Marxist Feminist Analysis (London, 1980)

Engels, F., The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (Chicago, 1902)

Firestone, S., The Dialectic of Sex. The Case for Feminist Revolution (London, 1972)

Hartmann, H. I., `The Family as the Locus of Gender, Class and Political Struggle: The Example of Housework’, Signs. A Journal of Women in Culture & Society, 6:3 (1981), 366-94

Hennessy, R., Materialist Feminism and the Politics of Discourse (London, 1993)

Hennessy, R. & C. Ingraham (eds), Materialist Feminism: A Reader in Class, Difference, and Women's Lives (London, 1997)

Hunt, P., Gender and Class Consciousness (London, 1980)

Kuhn, A. & Wolpe, A. (eds), Feminism and Materialism. Women and Modes of Production, (London, 1978).

Landry, D. & G. Maclean, Materialist Feminisms (Cambridge MASS, 1993)

Lovell, T. (ed.) British Feminist Thought. A Reader (Oxford, 1990)

Millett, K., Sexual Politics (London, 1971)

Nelson, C. & Grossberg, L. (eds), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Chicago, 1988), `Introduction’, 1-17 (The whole of this collection is useful for thinking about Marxism’s many unhappy marriages)

Sargent, L., Women and Revolution: The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism (London, 1981)