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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