THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY -- SPEAKERS WANTED

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Sat Jan 7 02:12:06 MST 1995


150 YEARS AFTER 'THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY': SPEAKERS WANTED

Details will follow later, but for now the barest essentials.  I
want to organize a conference program this year around the
sesquicentennial of THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY by Marx & Engels.  The aim
is not merely retrospective but perspective and prospective.  The
presentations should be sufficiently succinct so that in place of
boring one-way communication so characteristic of academic
conferences, there should be high-profile discussion and
communication from the audience, and they should have ample
opportunity to interact not only with the speakers/panelists but
with one another.  The speakers might consider themselves resource
persons whose role is to summarize what they know and lend their
expertise to the discussion.  I of course will be in charge of
this project and will also be one of the speakers.  I will explain
my topic another time, but I need a couple more panelists/speakers
so that there is some expertise on all relevant aspects of the
issues at hand.

Prospective speakers/panelists should possess any combination of
the following competencies:

--- knowledge of Marx's biography, esp. up to 1848 -- what he did,
when, and why

--- familiarity with the Young Hegelians and the context of Marx's
intellectual development in relation to them

--- knowledge of the development of historical materialism and the
innovations of THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY as well as its historical
significance

--- familiarity with secondary literature on THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY
and/or proximate works (esp. THE HOLY FAMILY)

In addition, the panelists should develop for themselves and for
the audience some contemporary perspective on this and proximate
works.  From a contemporary perspective, how would one judge the
controversies of the time?  Has Marx and Engels's fundamental
perspective been enlarged upon or superseded?  Are there analogous
issues going on today that would benefit from comparison with
issues germane to Marx's milieu?

I wish I could provide more detailed guidelines, but I will
confine myself to a few hints.  So far, in this discussion group,
the emphasis has been on definitions and the characterization of
ideology, but the context and purport of Marx and Engels' work has
been lost.   Also, in viewing the nature of ideology from the
light of current concerns, a 'postmodern' approach has been
suggested as an improvement.  I am not at all happy with this
outcome.  I am   NOT interested in any harping on what Marx didn't
do (eg. canonize the holy trinity of race-sex-class).  I am
interested in what Marx developed in relation to his time.  I am
more interested in what WE are not doing than what Marx didn't do.
Are we the Young Hegelians of today stewing in our own stagnation,
unable to make the leap to the next stage of development?

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