​​A major objective of the Marxist Institute for Research is an annual Summer Seminar for UC graduate students, led by faculty from the UC system and beyond.

Each year, 20-25 UC graduate students will participate in a fully funded 5-day summer school held at a UC Natural Reserve venue. Oriented by a pressing theme, the week features multiple tracks scheduled to allow attendance at each by all participants, for a week of intensive and collective study (as well as communal food prep and camp care). The initial design offers one weeklong seminar in Marxist pedagogy led by MIR faculty and a seminar on the annual theme with guest faculty The week ends with the Mike Davis Lecture.  

The 2024 Marxist Institute for Research (MIR) Summer Seminar will run August 23-27 at Sagehen Creek Field Station near Truckee, CA. This year, we expect to admit approximately 20 students. Participants will be expected to attend all 5 days of the seminar, arriving at Sagehen or at the Reno airport by mid-afternoon on the 23rd and departing mid-day on the 27th. Accepted students will receive full funding which will cover tuition, housing, food, and reimbursements for travel within California, including tickets or mileage for car travel (we strongly encourage car pooling and will help facilitate the logistics). Housing will be shared bunk-house style; we’ll cook collectively, and all meals will be vegetarian and vegan-friendly. There is very limited wi-fi and cell service. The Summer Seminar will feature faculty classes in Marxist pedagogy oriented by discussing Capital Vol. 1 and drawn from the core faculty of Charmaine Chua, Chris Chen, Joshua Clover, Colleen Lye, Wendy Matsumura, Annie McClanahan, and Rob Nichols. Our guest faculty seminar will be “So-Called Primitive Accumulation, or, Property as Warfare” with Brenna Bhandar and Alberto Toscano of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The annual Mike Davis Lecture will be delivered by William Clare Roberts (McGill). The seminar and keynote are described in full below. All UC graduate students are welcome to apply. Other members of the UC community may apply on a case-by-case basis – please reach out to us at marxistinstituteforresearch@gmail.com with any questions about the process.

Guest Faculty Seminar: “So-Called Primitive Accumulation, or, Property as Warfare,” with Brenna Bhandar and Alberto Toscano
The seminar will return to Marx’s discussion of Ursprungliche Akkumulation in Capital, Vol. 1 and its multiple and sometimes contradictory contemporary reprises and actualisations by centring the nexus of land, property and violence. What if the establishment of capitalist property regimes were not simply a result of violent practices of dispossession but itself a modality of war-making, in a kind of seemingly interminable ‘land war’ which is colonial and racial at its core?”

Mike Davis Keynote: [Title TBA] with William Clare Roberts
This talk will explore the hypothesis that ideology has been, in the Marxist tradition, an obscure name for unexercised power and the effects of unexercised power. (This was certainly not how Marx and Engels used the term, but it does underlie how Marx used “fetishism” in Capital, which explains why the later tradition assimilated fetishism to ideology.) Clarifying this connection between ideology and unexercised power will both make it possible to analyze the continuity between political and economic power – and hence between political and economic struggles – and demonstrate the importance of thematizing multiple timeframes, levels, and scales of power dynamics.

2023 seminar:

Our inaugural seminar ran August 9-13 at Sagehen Creek Field Station near Truckee, CA. It was enlivening and thrilling and there was a lake and a trivia contest and lots of study, all of it in an open-air classroom. It featured a faculty seminar in Marxist pedagogy oriented by “Capital Concerns” — challenges in teaching Marx’s central work in the present — and led by Chris Chen, Charmaine Chua, Joshua Clover, Colleen Lye, and Annie McClanahan. We also offered a guest faculty seminar considering the usefulness of bourgeois economic science to Marxist study with Geoff Mann (professor of geography at Simon Fraser University and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking) and Kirstin Munro (Assistant Professor of Economics at The New School). Robin Kelly delivered the inaugural Mike Davis Lecture and it was beautiful and piercing. The week looked like this:

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