NRAI: David Harvey's Companion To Marx's Capital and Spaces of Hope

Mon, Mar 14, 2011

March’s edition of No Reading will be hosted by Steve Collis. Steve has been busying himself for the last few months with the local Occupy movement, in part as a member of the grassroots media corps that has sprung up. For the salon he will be presenting work drawn from his recent research on ‘change’. We will look at two sections from the works of David Harvey, A Companion to Marx’s Capital and Spaces of Hope. Both of these readings build out of a footnote from Marx’s Capital, wherein he is situating his project in relation to the work of Charles Darwin–calling for a “critical history of technology” that answers to Darwin’s pioneering work in the natural sciences. Harvey touches on Marx’s discomfort with the pitfalls of Social Darwinism, but nonetheless (in Spaces of Hope) Harvey invites a contemporary discussion on what is constitutive of ‘humanity’–precisely what we are being alienated from, if indeed we are ‘alien’ to our proper selves. Navigating the path between the ideal and the material, Harvey touches on important discussions of causality, technological determinism, architecture, and civil planning.

David Harvey (born 31 October 1935, Gillingham, Kent, England) is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A leading social theorist of international standing, he received his PhD in Geography from University of Cambridge in 1961. Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he is the world’s most cited academic geographer, and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate; most recently he has been credited with restoring social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism. He is a leading proponent of the idea of the right to the city.

David Harvey’s Companion to Marx’s Capital (2010) and Spaces of Hope (2000) are facilitated by Stephen Collis. Stephen Collis  is the author of Mine (2001), two parts of the on-going Barricades Project, Anarchive (2005) and The Commons (2008), and On the Material (2010), which won the 2011 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He is also the author of two books of criticism: Through Words of Others: Susan Howe and Anarcho-Scholasticism (2006) and Phyllis Webb and the Common Good (2007). A former member of the Kootenay School of Writing, he teaches poetry, poetics and American literature at Simon Fraser University.