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HON 394: Global Classroom

Joint critical theory seminar hosted by Arizona State University and Universidade Federal do ABC

Harvey Wheeler asks Herbert Marcuse to define "Marxist humanism." The interview is conducted between sessions at the East-West dialog conference in 1969.

1977 interview with Bryan Magee on the BBC program Modern Philosophy

In this interview, Marcuse shares his perspective on the Frankfurt School, Marxism, the New Left movement, and aesthetics. A few notable concepts in the discussion include the “re-examination” of Marxian theory post-1968, the fusion of Marxism and psychoanalysis, and the role of aesthetics in social analysis.

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This speech was given at a rally at UC Berkeley following Angela Davis’s appointment as a faculty member at Berkeley. Her appointment was contested by the UC Board of Regents, catalyzing student protests. In this address, Marcuse and Davis lay out their conceptions of a critical theory of society, discussing the necessity of a comprehensive social critique as opposed to isolated criticisms of the rules made by the powers that be.

1996 documentary directed by Paul Alexander Juutilainen

In archival footage and interviews with Herbert Marcuse’s former students, Juutilainen’s documentary explores Marcuse’s career and the hardships he faced throughout his tenure at the University of California, San Diego. San Diego is the site of a major US Navy base, and many residents considered Marcuse a dangerous radical because of his engagement with students protesting the Vietnam War. Marcuse’s critique of capitalism and consumer society ran counter to the hegemonic ideology of his time.

Marcuse argues that prior to a revolutionary break from capitalism, there must first be a cultural break from the rationale of the system. Without such a break, new forms of domination are at risk of being created in the construction of a new society. From here he describes the political dimensions of aesthetics, and their role in creating a new rationality which isn’t built upon acquisition, competition, and exploitation.

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