Spring 2016

Marx, Revolution, and the Law

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-232


Sarah Johnson (Section 01)


To what extent can we change our world by changing our laws? We will explore this question through an intensive study of Karl Marx’s writings. Although Marx is most widely known for his arguments about political economy and revolution, his earliest scholarly energies were devoted to jurisprudence, and throughout his life he frequently returned to questions about the law’s nature, possibilities, and limits. He did so not only in his analyses of the state and capitalism, but also in his efforts to document the aims and experiences of political radicals and democratic and labor movements as they navigated repressive legal systems, fought for legal reforms, and developed alternative visions of how to regulate social life. We will therefore draw on diverse genres of writing from across Marx’s life—including letters, newspaper articles, pamphlets, speeches, manuscripts, essays, and Capital, vol. 1—as we examine the relationship between the law and social transformation.

Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor S. Johnson.

If Overenrolled: priority given to LJST Majors


Attention to Writing


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017