For many people, the arguments and analysis of Karl Marx’s three-volume Das Kapital (or Capital: A Critique of Political Economy) are as relevant as ever. For many others, the work is a historical curiosity, dated relic, or worse. Before forming an opinion either way, it’s probably best to read the thing—or as much of the huge set of tomes as you can manage. (Vol. 1, Vol. 2. and Vol. 3.) Few thinkers have been as frequently misquoted or misunderstood, even, or especially, by their own adherents. And as with any dense philosophical text, when embarking on a study of Marx, it’s best to have a guide. One could hardly do better than David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.
Harvey’s work as a geographer focuses on cities, the increasingly predominant mode of human habitation, and he is the author of the highly popular, two-volume Companion to Marx’s Capital. The books grow out of lectures Harvey has delivered in a popular course at the City University. They’re very readable (check them out here and here), but you don’t have to read them—or attend CUNY—to hear Harvey himself deliver the goods. We’ve previously featured his Capital: Volume 1 lectures (at top, preceded by an interview with a colleague). Now Harvey has made his lectures on Capital, Volume II and some of Volume III available. Watch all twelve classes above or view them individually here. As Harvey admits in an interview before the first lecture, the neglected second volume of Marx’s masterwork is “a very difficult volume to get through,” due to its style, structure, and subject matter. With Harvey’s patient, enthusiastic guidance, it’s worth the trouble.
You can view the lectures from Harvey’s course on multiple platforms. Below we provide an easy-to-access list. You can also see all lectures on David Harvey’s website, where you can also download class notes.