Carnegie Mellon University


September 11, 2017

Fall Events Focus on Karl Marx's Growing Popularity

By Stefanie Johndrow

Karl Marx was born nearly two centuries ago, but in the last 10 years he’s made a comeback. With his book sales up and his critique of capitalism seeming fresher than ever, artists, intellectuals and grassroots movements are taking a new look at some of Marx’s old ideas.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Kathy M. Newman and David Shumway are planning a series of events exploring Marx’s continued relevance. This fall marks the beginning of a year of events that will culminate in a 200th birthday celebration for Karl Marx in May of 2018.

“Inequality, especially in the US, is worse than it has been since the age of the Robber Barons," said Newman, associate professor of English in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "The richest Americans have claimed the largest share of recent economic growth, and the workers who created that growth aren’t getting their fair share. It makes sense that Marx, who was very critical of capitalism as an exploitative system, is making a comeback."

Schedule of Events

Why Marx Now: 200 Years Later 
Kathy M. Newman and David Shumway, Carnegie Mellon University
Thursday, Sept. 14 at 4:30 p.m. Porter Hall 100, CMU

Come find out why Marx still matters, and learn about the exciting year of speakers, art exhibits and events that are ahead.

The Young Karl Marx
Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6:45 p.m.
McConomy Auditorium, CMU

Attend the Pittsburgh premiere of the 2017 film “The Young Karl Marx.” Stick around after the screening for a Q&A moderated by Newman, Shumway, and Roger Rouse from the University of Pittsburgh.

Robotics, Pittsburgh and the End of Work 
Thursday, Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m.
Porter Hall 100, CMU

Pittsburgh has been constantly in the news as a futurist tech city since the arrival of Uber’s driverless cars. Some economists predict that robots will outnumber human workers as early as 2040. This panel discussion will talk about how we can plan for this seismic change in our economy and way of life. This event will feature a panel of CMU faculty including, Erica Fuchs, professor of engineering and public policy, Mark Kamlet, University Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Justin Laing, managing partner of Hillombo, LLC, (HNZ ‘10) and Alex Pazuchanics, assistant director of policy and planning for the City of Pittsburgh (HNZ ‘17).

The End of Work
Kathi Weeks and James Livingston
Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

Two experts on the topic of the end of work and its discontents, Weeks and Livingston will argue for a universal basic income and new ways of defining worth in a post-work society.

Building Communities of Power and Resistance in the Age of Trump
Jennifer Epps-Addison
Thursday, Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m.
Porter Hall 100, CMU

Epps-Addison, who heads the Center for Popular Democracy, will talk about how working people and people of color can fight for a bigger share of the pie during this time of widening inequality.

Love, Capital, and Writing Marx’s History
Mary Gabriel and Jonathan Sperber
Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Gabriel and Sperber will discuss what it was like to research and write biographies on Marx, and how two prize-winning historians can see the same person in such radically different ways.

Find out more about these events and keep an eye out for the continuing celebration this spring.