Marxist pedagogy

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Tue Apr 10 15:47:29 MDT 2001

One of the advantages of being at the bottom of the academic pecking order
is that one gets to teach huge classes of first years.`I tell you comrades
I have spoken to many, very many, smaller rallies and meetings.

  In one such group of 200+ I take a class in Media Text Analysis.  We
concentrate on providing intellectual schemata to facilitate critical
thinking.  This includes Leavis, psycholanalysis, structuralism.  There are
also three weeks on Marxism.  (I will post my lecture notes if there is any
particular interest).

However I am finding something like a bit more resistance from the students
to the Marxist section.  That has to do with their social composition which
is increasingly petty-bourgeois.  However another factor I think is that
paradoxically as the system becomes even more obviously a failure, there is
a tendency to cling all the more to it.  For me as an old existentialist
that is the moment when the slave realises in fear and trembling that the
master must be replaced and she or he must liberate themselves.

The point with the Marxist lectures is that they pose political questions
directly, and in a time of economic downturn and uncertainty there is
a  particular relevance to Marxism.

Generally it was the lectures on Freud and psychoanalysis that managed to
disturb the equanimity of the students because sexuality etc is after all a
very personal thing.  However it seems that the Marxism lectures have
reached that standard.



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