Global Marxism: Rethinking Marxist Thought in a Counter-Revolutionary Age

April 14, 2023 by Sonja Johnston

Each academic year, the Jackman Humanities Institute sponsors up to 12 Working Groups, consisting of graduate students and faculty conducting research or engaging in other scholarly exchange. In conjunction with the 2023-2024 Working Groups Call for Proposals, we're highlighting some current Working Groups.

The Global Marxism: Rethinking Marxist Thought in a Counter-Revolutionary Age group connects scholars across the (broadly-defined) Marxist tradition, including antifascism, anti-imperialism, critical race theory, and cultural studies. Members’ areas of expertise and inquiry include Hindu nationalism in India, Marxist-Feminism, Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union, Settler-Indigenous politics, among others. These themes carry historical import as well as immense significance today, as seen in many urgent issues pertaining to war, gender and reproductive justice, and the resurgent far-right.

What does your group do?

Our group meets regularly to discuss new and classic works in and about the Marxist tradition, open to all geographic areas, spanning theory, history, culture, art, and politics, as well as provide a collegial space for workshopping group members’ research. In the first semester we met weekly, but switched to a fortnightly schedule in the Winter semester.  

How has the Working Group experience been so far?

It’s been a very supportive space to share works-in-progress (book proposal, articles, dissertation chapters, etc.) with colleagues (graduate students, post-docs, and faculty) from many different fields, which is hard to come by. Importantly, I think we’ve forged intellectual connections and relationships that will outlast the group. We’ve discussed in the group how our regular meetings have been a highlight of our calendars.

You have an event coming up on April 28. Would you like to say a few words about it?

I’m very excited to be hosting the virtual event Environment, Consumption, Internationalism on April 28, starting at 11:30 Toronto time. The event will be online so all are welcome and I encourage everyone to attend (registration required). The event features three exciting speakers who work on capitalism and the environment: Kirstin Munro, Ying Chen, and Max Ajl. The talks will cover a lot of ground, from ecological planning, to climate change narratives, to waste and consumption. Our guiding questions surround the unevenness - between rich and poor, global north and south - of the climate crisis, the complicities and contradictions of living in capitalist society today, and how to act in international solidarity in the face of such complexities.

Any advice or words for others thinking of applying for a JHI Working Group?

I highly encourage others to apply, and use the opportunity to bring people together and be creative!