Zillah Eisenstein

My writings, thoughts, and activism.

Marxism and Liberalism: Historically Theorizing Patriarchy, Slavery, and Capitalism (Fall 2010)

Essential Reading–books at Campus Bookstore
Zillah Eisenstein. The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism. (Packet#1)
Zillah Eisenstein. Against Empire; Feminisms, Racism and the West
John Locke. The Two Treatises on Government
J.J. Rousseau, ed. A. Bloom. Politics and the Arts.
J.J. Rousseau. The First and Second Discourse
J.S. Mill. On Liberty and Other Writings
Karl Marx. The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
Karl Marx. The German Ideology
Rosa Luxemburg. Reform or Revolution
Maria Stewart, ed. M. Richardson. America’s First Black Political Writer
Sri Aurobindo. The Human Cycle; The Ideal of Human Unity
Packet #2, “Marxism and Liberalism Reader” (available at the bookstore):
Clarke and Lange, “Introduction: The Sexism of Social and Political Theory.”
Rousseau, Emile, “Education of Girls.”
Rosa Luxemburg, “Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle.”
Christine diStefano, “Liberalism and Its Feminist Critics.”
Zillah Eisenstein, “Liberalism.”
Susan Buck-Morss. “Hegel and Haiti”
To be bought from dept. assistant: David Theo Goldberg. “Racist Culture”,
chap. 1 (introd) and chap. 2
This course deals with the history of modern political theory using an antiracist, feminist, and Marxist deconstructive method. We will study Marx’s
writings first—although chronologically out of order–in order to develop a
critical visor on class and liberalism, and to clarify the meaning of
dialectics and social relations. Then we will critique this anti-capitalist
method from an anti-slavery, anti-patriarchal stance, using this critical
deconstruction as the model for the rest of the course.
We will explore the constructions—silent and explicit–of sexual, racial, and
economic class in Marx, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, J.S. Mill, Maria Stewart, R.
Luxemburg, and Sri Auribindo. We will examine the history of patriarchy in
the transition from feudalism to capitalism and the way it is reproduced in
liberal and marxist theory. We will also examine the silences about the
slave trade alongside the promissory of capitalism. And we will also examine
the different racialized and sexualized conceptions of private property and
economic class in liberalism, marxist analysis, and post-communist
developments. We will construct a critical dialogue between feminism, antiracism, liberalism, marxism, and post-communism.
Some of the key questions and issues which we will be examining are:
Conceptions of human nature–what is natural or innate; the importance of
private property in modern theory; individualism and slavery; the importance
of order and security as opposed to human development; the posing of “person”
against “woman”; competition or conflict; reform or revolution; the sexual -2-
division of labor and sex difference; racialized hierarchy and the class
structure. A major concern will be to develop the distinction between
liberty and freedom; exploitation and oppression; economic and racialized
sexual class; patriarchy, slavery and capitalism.
Approximately three-four sessions will be devoted to each theorist. There
will be two 5-7 page analytic papers, both of which must be completed for
course credit. The latter part of the course will be based in discussion
groups both inside and outside class meetings.
1. The silencing of slavery and sexual differentiation in political theory
Play the one voice video
Eisenstein, Radical Future, packet #1 chapter 2 and 3
Clark and Lange (packet)
diStefano (packet)
Eisenstein (packet)
Ollman (packet)
Eisenstein, preface, Against Empire
Goldberg, packet for sale from dept. assis.
2. Karl Marx–theory of alienation, concept of species being, human needs,
concept of class, class conflict, revolutionary social change, bourgeois
family, dialectics, ideology, and social relations, absence of critique
of slavery.
Read: Karl Marx. The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
Karl Marx. The German Ideology.
S.Buck-Morss, “Hegel and Haiti”
Eisenstein, Against Empire, chap. 2
Marx, Karl. Capital 1, 2, 3, (New York: International Publishers, 1967).
Marx, Karl. The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, (New York: International
Publishers, 1963).
Marx, Karl. “Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy,” in David
Horowitz (ed.), Marx and Modern Economics. (New York: Modern Reader,
Marx, Karl. The Grundisse, (New York: Harper and Row, 1971).
Meszaros, Istvan. Marx’s Theory of Alienation. (London: Merlin Press,
Avineri, Sholomo. Karl Marx: Social and Political Thought. (New York:
Cambridge, 1968).
Ollman, Bertell. Alienation. (New York: Cambridge, 1971).
Ollman, Bertell. “Toward Class Consciousness Next Time: Marx and the
Class,” Politics and Society, 3 (Fall, 1972), p. 1-25.
Balubs, Isaac. “The Negation of the Negation,” Politics and Society, 3
1972), pp. 49-65.
Wood, Allen. “The Marxian Critique of Justice,” Philosophy and Public
l (Spring, 1972), pp. 244-282.
Glass, James. “Marx, Kafka, and Jung: The Appearance of Species Being,”
Politics and Society, 2 (Winter, 1972), pp. 255-27l.
Eisenstein, Zillah, ed. Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist
Elshtain, Jean Bethke. Public Man, Private Woman.-3-
Marcuse, Reason and Revolution. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1960).
Avineri, Shlomo. “Labor, Alienation, and Social Classes in Hegel’s
Realphilosophie,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, l (Fall, l971), pp. 96-
Hartman, Robert, trans., Hegel’s Reason in History. (New York: Bobbs
Kojeve, Alexandre. Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. (New York: Basic
Books, 1969).
Avineri, Shlomo. Hegel’s Theory of the Modern State.
3. Thomas Hobbes–Innate tendencies; the idea of equality; scarcity in
market society; relation of ruler to ruled; naturalizing of the concept
of hierarchy as part of equality.
I will briefly lecture on Hobbes as an introduction to John Locke
C.B. MacPherson. The Theory of Possessive Individualism
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, I, II. (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958).
Hill, Christopher, “Thomas Hobbes and the Revolution in Political Thought,”
Judith Shklar (ed.), Political Theory and Ideology. (New York:
MacPherson, C.B. Democratic Theory. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973).
Cranston and Peters (eds.) Hobbes and Rousseau. (New York: Anchor Books,
Lamprechit, Sterling. “Hobbes and Hobbism,” in American Political Science
Review, 34.
Strauss, Leo. The Political Thought of Hobbes. (Chicago: Phoenix Books,
Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “Thomas Hobbes.”
4. John Locke–idea of property, relations of state to protection of
“natural rights,” alienable labor. A discussion of patriarchal power,
and statements as well as silences on slavery; the articulation of
whiteness as natural.
John Locke. The First Treatise of Government.
Z. Eisenstein. The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism, chapter 3.
De Stefano. “Liberalism and Its Feminist Critics” (review again).
Z. Eisenstein. Against Empire, chap. 3
David Goldberg. Racist Culture (Blackwell, 1993)
C.B. MacPherson. The Theory of Possessive Individualism
Barker. Social Contract, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau. (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1947).
Laski, H.J. Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham. (London:
Oxford U niversity Press, 1920).
Laski, H.J. The Rise of European Liberalism. (New York: Unwin Books,
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government. (New York: Bobbs-Merrill,
Larkin, Parchal. Property in the Eighteenth Century with Special Reference
England and Locke. (London, 1930).
Clark, Lorenne. “Women and Locke: Who Owns the Apples in the Garden of
in Clark and Lange, The Sexism of Social and Political Theory.
Discussion of Proudhon. “What is Property?”
5. Jean Jacques Rousseau–The conception of the general will as collective
living; analysis of property in social and political organization; his
view of personal development; his phallocratic treatment of women
specifically in relation to Emile, querying of individualism for free
blacks and slaves.
Read: Rousseau. “A Letter to D’Alembert” in Politics and the Arts.
Rousseau. The First and Second Discourse. Read Second Discourse.
Z. Eisenstein. The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism, Chapter 4.
Rousseau, Emile, “Education of Girls,” (packet).
Eisenstein, Against Empire, chap. 4
Elshtain, Jean Bethke. Meditations on Modern Political Thought.
Okin, Susan. Women in Western Political Thought, Chapter on Rousseau.
Rousseau, J.J. Social Contract. (New York: Gateway, 1954).
Shklar, Judith. “Rousseau’s Two Models: Sparta and the Age of Gold,”
Political Science Quarterly, 71 (March, 1966), pp. 25-5l.
Kateb, George, “Aspects of Rousseau’s Political Thought,” Political Science
Quarterly 76, pp. 519-543.
Durkheim, Emile. Montesquieu and Rousseau, Forerunners of Sociology. (Ann
Arbor, M I, 1965).
Riley, Patrick. “A Possible Explanation of Rousseau’s General Will,”
Political Science Review, 1970.
Berman, Marshall. Politics of Authenticity. (New York: Atheneum, 1970).
Especial ly chapters 2 and 3.
6. John Stuart Mill–liberalism; human choice through competing
alternatives; private vs. public; statement on women reflective of his
liberal stance; sexual division of labor and racialized views of
individualism; colonial slave positions.
Read: J.S. Mill. On Liberty.
J.S. Mill. On the Subjection of Women.
Z. Eisenstein. The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism, Chapter 6.
David Goldberg, Racist Culture, chapter 6.
Wolff, R.P. The Poverty of Liberalism. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968).
Nagel, Ernest (ed.) John Stuart Mill’s Philosophy of Scientific Method.
Mill, J.S. On Liberty. (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956).
Berlin, Isaiah. Four Essays on Liberty. (New York: Oxford University
Lerner, Max (ed.) Essential Works of John Stuart Mill. (New York: Bantam
Books, 19 6l).
Duncan, Graeme. Marx and Mill. (Cambridge).
Himmelfarb, Gertrude. On Liberty and Liberalism. (Knopf).
Jaggar, Alison. Feminist Politics and Human Nature.-5-
7. Maria Stewart—an anti-slavery statement by a free black woman who embraces
much of liberalism and its religiosity; examine the contrast of her focus
from Mill and Marx due to her views on slavery, and examine the similarities
with Mill’s liberal views.
Read: Maria Stewart. America’s First Black Political
Writer, through p. 85.
Eisenstein, Against Empire, chap. 6-6-
David Brion Davis. The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
Frederick Douglass. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American
Eugene Genovese. The World the Slaveholders Made
Vincent Harding. There is a River
Orlando Patterson. The Sociology of Slavery
William B. Cohen. The French Encounter with Africans
8. Rosa Luxemburg–reform or revolution? Participatory democracy, socialism
vs. nationalism; role of the trade unions, woman’s suffrage and the class
struggle; patriarchy and capitalism and racial silences.
Read: Rosa Luxemburg. Reform or Revolution
“Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle” (packet).
Nettl, Peter. Rosa Luxemburg. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966).
Waters, Mary-Alice (ed.) Rosa Luxemburg Speaks. (New York: Pathfinder
Luxemburg, Rosa. The Mass Strike. (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1971).
D. Howard (ed.) Luxemburg, Rosa. Selected Political Writings. (New York:
Monthly Review, 1971).
9. Sri Aurobindo—examine his notion of humanity, the notion of unity and
inclusivity and compare this with the liberal and Marxist viewings; think
about his anti-colonial writing/thought in the ways it denies clear
separations between marxism and liberalism.
Read: Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity
chap. 1-4, 12, 13, 17, 18, 20, 22, 32, 33, 35
Eisenstein, Against Empire, chapter 5
Sri Aurobindo. The Future Evolution of Man
Sri Aurobindo. Speeches
Sri Aurobidno. Reason and Beyond Reason
Dennis Dalton. Indian Idea of Freedom
M.K. Gandhi. Communal Unity
Rabindranath Tagore. Towards Universal Man
Reading to help you better understand the economic historical context:
Braudel, Fernand. Capitalism and Material Life 1400-1800, Harper Colophon.
Mantoux, Paul. The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century, Harper
and Row.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World System, Capitalist Agriculture and
the Origins of the European World Economy in the 16th Century, Academic -7-
Laslett, Peter. The World We Have Lost. Scribners.
Pireene, Henri. Economic and Social History of Medieval Europe, Harvest
Bloch, Marc. Feudal Society, vol. l and 2, Chicago University Press.
Hobsbawm, E.J. The Age of Capital, 1848-1875.
Readings in the feminist critiques of liberalism:
Jaggar, Allison and Paula Struhl. Feminist Frameworks.
Crimshaw, Jean. Philosophy and Feminist Thinking.
Glennon, Lynda. Women and Dualism.
Susan Mother Okin. Women in Western Political Thought.
Paterman, Carole. The Sexual Contract.
Donovan, Josephine. Feminist Theory.
Elshtain, Jean Bethke. Public Man/Private Woman.


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