︎ Special Programs

In addition to hosting Intensive Study Courses and Open Seminars, the School of Materialist Research supports a wide range of Special Programs. This includes, but is not limited to, experimental studios, symposia, reading groups, summer schools, retreats, art and curatorial events, and more. All special programming is developed in consultation with SMR leadership.

If you have a proposal, please contact us at: schoolofmaterialistresearch@gmail.com

︎ Reid Kane: Marx and Engels and the Dialectic of Theory and Practice 

It is our pleasure to announce the Special Program "Marx and Engels and the Dialectic of Theory and Practice" to be delivered by Reid Kane beginning on 17th of  February 2024 at 18.30 CET / 12.30 EST in the course of 5 weekends. The program is open to everyone and free of charge - please email us at schoolofmaterialistresearch@gmail.com or by filling out this form to book your spot in the ZOOM classroom.  

Marx and Engels and the Dialectic of Theory and Practice

Today, Marx is commonly regarded as a social theorist, an economist, a philosopher. He is remembered for his materialist conception of history, his theory of surplus value, his inversion of the Hegelian dialectic. Yet as Engels observed in his eulogy for his longtime partner and friend, the "man of science. . . was not even half the man."

"For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation."

Marx became concerned with the science of history, and of political economy in particular, out of his dedication to revolutionary politics, recognizing science as "a historically dynamic, revolutionary force", a means by which to "clarify the confusion" of the revolutionary movement of his time, and above all, the class struggle of the industrial proletariat as its cutting edge.

More than a theory, Marxism is better understood as a revolutionary political strategy whose essence was critique. Marx no more considered practice subordinate to theory than the converse. Rather, he understood his role as an intellectual, a critical theorist, in relation to the practical struggle of the working class, to be mediated by a dialectic of theory and practice within the proletarian party. The essence of his contribution can only be grasped by understanding the role of the party as the locus of a dialectic of socialist ideas and proletarian social and political action: the means through which theoretical reflection could critically clarify the practical struggle of the movement, and the struggle critically clarify the significance of that theory.

In this series of seminars, we will reconstruct the intellectual and political development of Marx and Engels in its historical context, in order to elucidate their conception of, and practical role within, the proletarian party: the nature of their participation in the dialectical development of the consciousness and social being of the proletarian movement, and thus, in the revolutionary transformation of society under, through, and beyond capitalism.

Session 1: Marx and Engels and the revolutionary dialectic of history

10,000 BCE - 1843 CE

In this first session, we will begin by reconstructing the context of Marx's historical moment up to the beginning of his political career, with his appointment as editor of the German liberal newspaper, the Rheinische Zeitung. We will simultaneously use this as an opportunity to demonstrate the dialectical conception of history that Marx and Engels inherited from the bourgeois philosophical tradition by way of Hegel. Particular emphasis will be placed on the historical role of "class struggles", the nature of social and political revolution, and why the bourgeois-revolutionary epoch was distinct from all history hitherto. This will culminate in Marx's first encounter, in the pages of the Rheinische Zeitung, with the "communism" of Moses Hess and Wilhelm Weitling and the class struggle of the English proletariat as reported by Engels; Marx's initial efforts to formulate his critique of Hegelian idealism, specifically as it was being taken up by his erstwhile friend and mentor, Bruno Bauer; and following the suppression of the newspaper, his plan to move to Paris and continue his revolutionary agitation from abroad.

Session 2: The ruthless criticism of everything existing: socialism, communism, and the class struggle of the proletariat

1843 - 1848

In this second session, we will follow the development of Marx's orientation toward the proletariat and the concomitant shift in his understanding of the relations between the state and society, philosophy and politics, theory and practice, ideology and material reality. This period opens with his arrival in Paris and the publication of the sole issue of the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher, which he co-edited with fellow young Hegelian Arnold Ruge. Marx soon had a falling-out with Ruge, and met and formed his famous partnership with Engels. We will follow the initial formation of the "Marx-Engels party" in the critique of the Young Hegelians and the True Socialists, their establishing of the Communist Correspondence Committee to promote their "critical communism" within the democratic-revolutionary movement, and their subsequent invitation to join and lead the reorganization of the revolutionary secret society, the League of the Just, into a "pure propaganda society", rechristened as the Communist League. This provides the essential, and oft neglected, backdrop for the culminating event of this period, the publication of The Manifesto of the Communist Party on the eve of the revolutions of 1848.

Session 3: The awakening of the dead: The proletarian revolution and the Bonapartist counter-revolution

1848 - 1863

In this third session, we will recount the fateful events of revolutions of 1848-50, and the role played within these revolutions by the proletarian party, and more specifically by Marx and Engels and the Communist League. Marx and Engels participated both practically and theoretically through their "organ of democracy", the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, through which they both reflected upon the unfolding events not only in Germany, but internationally, and sought to drive the revolutionary struggle forward by means of agitation. As the revolution entered into crisis and ultimately collapsed, Marx and Engels were driven to retreat and critically reassess, to consider and propagate the lessons of the revolution, and to chart a course forward in spite of the triumph of the forces of reaction and the destruction of the revolutionary movement. This culminated in Marx's return to political economy, and Engels's return to his father's Manchester factory, in order to theoretically clarify the lessons of this experience while the "old mole" of revolution burrowed its way through purgatory.

Session 4: The victory of a principle: The critique of political economy and the self-emancipation of the working class

1864 - 1872

In this fourth session, we will consider the role of Marx's critique of political economy and the resurrection of the revolutionary movement, led by the working class, "after violent and temporarily fruitless exertions" left it in an "unhealthy" condition and in need of "rest". The outbreak of the Civil War in the USA instigated a "new era of ascendancy for the working classes", giving rise to the formation of the International Working Man's Association, which solicited Marx's participation and ultimately his leadership. The publication of the first volume of Capital, and the role of Marx and Engels in the First International, laid the theoretical and practical foundations for the subsequent development of the international socialist movement. Following the Paris Commune and the conflict with Bakunin, Marx and Engels saw the First International as exhausted, having fulfilled its historical purpose, and reoriented themselves toward a new phenomenon emerging in Germany: the proletarian party as a mass organization engaged in social and political action, and thereby leading the "bourgeois" struggle against the reactionary state.

Session 5: The revolution in permanence: The proletarian party and the conquest of political power

1873 - 1895

In this fifth and final session, we will consider the efforts of Marx and Engels to provide guidance to the leaders of the German workers' party, as well as similar efforts across Europe and in the United States. In this period, Marx and Engels reflected upon the entire course of their experience as critical participants in the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and sought to impart what they'd learned to the movement. Residing in England, where the class struggle remained relatively dormant, afforded them the "great advantage" of having "the peace one needs if one is to go on with one's theoretical work." Marx and Engels considered such work to be of indispensable value, the basis upon which the movement had been reforged after the disastrous defeats of 1848, and raised to a higher level than it had ever previously attained.

Following Marx's death, Engels lamented that "I cannot yet see who could take the place of Marx and myself. What younger men have attempted in this line is worth little, indeed, for the most part less than nothing." We will conclude by considering the legacy Engels bequeathed to posterity on behalf of the "Marx party": the irreplaceable testament of their collected writings. Engels devoted the last years of his life to editing the unfinished manuscripts of the remaining volumes of Capital, and producing a series of articles and prefaces and afterwords to their earlier publications, situating their words and deeds with respect to the lessons gleaned from the totality of their experiences, as well as carrying on "the enormous correspondence, formerly shared out between Marx and myself", in order to "maintain intact, in so far as it is in my power, the many threads from all over the world which spontaneously converged upon Marx's study."

︎ SMR Summer Schools 2024: The School of "The Feminine in an Age of Anthropological Transformation" with Julia Kristeva   

It is our great pleasure to announce that the SMR Summer School 2024 under the course-direction of prof. Julia Kristeva will take place next September (exact dates to be announced in October) and will feature profs. Miglena Nikolchina and Katerina Kolozova as supporting instructors. The Topic of the school and its tentative title is "The Feminine in an Age of Anthropological Transformation." Call for applications will be launched next month through our website and social media.

︎ PROGRAMS 2023:

Special Program: School of Materialist Research
September 8th, 2023 18.30 CET or 12.30 EST

Chair: John Ó Maoilearca

Anthony Paul Smith

Katerina Kolozova

Jonathan Fardy

Rocco Gangle

John Ó Maoilearca

Register Here

Special program: Summer School in Amsterdam,
June 3-July 28


Collaboration between Center for Philosophical Technology (CPT at ASU) and School for Materialist Research
CPT Directors: Adam Nocek and Stacey Moran

(Professor of Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

(Head of Design, Goldsmiths University of London, UK)

(Professor of Environmental Design, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt)

(Co-Director, Baltan Laboratories, Eindhoven, Netherlands)

(Co-Founder, Studio ThusThat, Amsterdam, Netherlands )  



Philippe Morel's talk as part of the Architecture Panel has been rescheduled from March 10th to March 18th. If you have already registered on our Eventbrite you will still receive a Zoom link for the new date. If you have not yet registered for his talk, please make to sure to register for the 18th.

Architecture Panel (February/March 2022)

You can find all of the lectures on our YouTube channel here

The School of Materialist Research is proud to present the first of its “Special Programs,” which will be taking place over February/March 2022. Below you will find further information on the speakers and talks, as well as the dates. More information will be available soon. All of the talks will take place at 18:30 CET/12:30 EST, and you can find the registration link for all of them below.

Register Here

Claudia Pasquero
February 8th

Title: "BIT.BIO.BOT / Collective Experiments in Biotechnological Architecture"

Roberto Bottazzi
February 15th

Title: "Omnia per Omnia [anything by anything]"

Ludger Hovestadt 
February 16th

Title: "A Circular Genealogy of Computing"

Gerald Nestler
March 11th

Title: "Forensics and Finance: Metadata Resolution and the Performativity of Finance"

Vera Bühlmann 
March 12th

Title: "Bodies of Thinking, and the Fascist Affect"

Philippe Morel
March 18th

Title: "Matter as Machine"