5 Free Online Courses on Marx’s Capital from Prof. David Harvey

Geographer and Marxist scholar David Harvey did not set out to become a Marxist. He didn’t even know what a Marxist was. He simply started to read Marx one day, at the age of 35, because all of the other social science methods he had applied in his study of the housing market and social unrest in US cities “didn’t seem to be working well,” he says in a Jacobin interview. “So, I started to read Marx, and I found it more and more relevant…. After I cited Marx a few times favorably, people pretty soon said I was a Marxist. I didn’t know what it meant… and I still don’t know what it means. It clearly does have a political message, though, as a critique of capital.”

The word “Marxist” has been as much a defamatory term of moral and political abuse as it has a coherent description of a position. But ask Harvey to explain what Marx means in the German philosopher’s massive analysis of political economy, Capital, and he will gladly tell you at length. Harvey has not only read all three volumes of the work many times over, a feat very few can claim, but he has explicated them in detail in his courses at Johns Hopkins and the City University of New York since the 1970s. In the age of YouTube, Harvey posted his lectures online, and they became so popular they inspired a series of equally popular written companion books.

Why study a dead 19th-century socialist? What could he possibly have to say about the world of AI, COVID, and climate change? “I think Marx is more relevant today than ever before,” says Harvey. “When Marx was writing, capital was not dominant in the world. It was dominant in Britain and Western Europe and the eastern United States, but it wasn’t dominant in China or India. Now it’s dominant everywhere. So, I think Marx’s analysis of what capital is and its contradictions is more relevant now than ever.”

To illustrate, and exhaustively explain, the point, Harvey announced by tweet recently that he’s made 5 courses freely available online as videos and podcasts. Find links to all 5 courses below. Or find them in our collection: 1,700 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Reading Marx’s Capital Volume 1 with David Harvey – 2019 Edition

Reading Marx’s Capital Volume I with David Harvey – 2007 Edition

Reading Marx’s Capital Volume 2 with David Harvey

Reading Marx’s Grundrisse with David Harvey

Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason

Related Content: 

Marxism by Raymond Geuss: A Free Course 

A Short Animated Introduction to Karl Marx

David Harvey’s Course on Marx’s Capital: Volumes 1 & 2 Now Available Free Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Comments (7)
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  • Jonathan says:

    Shocker, a marxist college professor.

  • Sol Tavsanoglu says:

    I always admire Harvey. I did my PhD early 1990s. Through his books limits to capital, urbanisation of capital, urban consciousness I developed my understanding how the built environment is transformed. What is beneath it. I utilised his theorisation in order to structure my thesis’s theoretical structure and analysis of my case study.

    Over the years I admire his unbelievable energy, determination to make Marx’s writings accessible and show Marx relevance by writing and giving speeches very accessible for all ages of people. Of course his online free courses.

    Thank you, Harvey. You are always my hero..

  • James says:

    The problem with Karl Marx is he never did a day’s work in his life.

  • gwr says:

    James, you try writing something as comprehensive, deeply researched, insightful, profound and world altering as “Das Kapital” and then get back to me with that “day’s work” snark.

  • Fernando Parra says:

    Did Marx ever worked? The answer is simple. Marx worked assiduously all his adult life but not the conventional way as seen by a labourer or a teacher or an artist. He was a philosopher that spent years trying to explain the value of labour, capitalism, the economy and the philosophical paradigms of the relationship between political economy in the 19th century and beyond.

  • Len Berman says:

    If the amount of work required to read Capital is any indicator, Marx worked hard!
    I just discovered Marx through these courses.
    GREAT COURSES! Thank you Professor Harvey.
    The presentation is incredible, the content is foundational.
    I am in process of trying to work through the text alone, with only Prof. Harvey. Sadly short of give and take.
    Considering the situation, being a retired computer geek, and imagining others (students of Marx not computer geeks) in similar situations led me to create a mailing list for readers of Marx.Capital.v1.

  • Rich Morgan says:

    Dear Professor Harvey, I am an active union member in the Communication Workers of America for 45 years. About 2 years ago I started to read Marx’s Capital along with taking your online YouTube videos of your class atCUNY. The combination of your class which chapter by chapter and reading the book one chapter at a time slowly deepened my understanding of Marx.I take a. more European or Canadian take on things now. Also news events that used to make no sense to me make perfect sense”usually not for me s a worker”. Keep up the good work.I find it scholarly (like Prof Wolfs show on wpkn 89.5 Bridgeport CT)I rate it Highest Marx! Richard Morgan Brookhaven NY

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