Fall 2022 - HIST 463W D100

Rebellion and Revolution: Topics in the Theory and Practice of Resistance (4)

Dismembering Capitalism

Class Number: 3986

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 5004, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Explores ideas, people, and movements of social criticism and social justice, stressing history as a way to understand and engage the present. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 463W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Students with credit for HIST 412 or HIST 412W cannot take HIST 463W for further credit when offered with the course topic "Marxism." Writing.



“Dismembering Capitalism: A Look at Dr. Marx and the Anarchists”

“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.” Science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin

Faced with economic collapse, environmental disaster, and great inequality, people are asking important questions about capitalism and the state. Anarchists and Marxists have been asking these questions since the 19th century. We’ll examine their ideas to help us understand and question the world we live in and to think about alternatives. Drawing on your ideas, interests, and research will be central to the course.

There is an irony in talking about anarchism and Marxism in the bureaucratized, centralized, hierarchical, top-down university. See, for example, the mandatory note below on "academic integrity" that is a real buzzkill. However, we can be flexible and can shape the course so it works better for all of us. For now, I suggest we base grading on notes on weekly reactions to the readings, participation, a presentation to the seminar, and self-assessment. We’ll discuss and design this over the first few weeks of the course.



Why you might like the course:

  • The course is critical of much of what is taken for granted in our society.
  • People may give you odd looks when they see what you’re reading.
  • We’ll be talking with each other a lot, sharing questions and reactions and ideas to help us understand stuff.
  • We’ll work together to design much of the course. This means it is not tightly organized.
  • All of us will be responsible for the working of the seminar and how we will run it. This will take time.
  • There’s a lot of reading. Some of the reading is complicated.
  • You will learn more about Marx and anarchism than most professors know.
  • You will not be writing a formal paper. We’ll use other ways for you to express your ideas.
  • A good joke goes a long way with the instructor. Actually, so does a bad joke.

Why you might not like the course: See above



In addition to articles and other things in Canvas, we will read these books:

  • Ruth Kinna, The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism
  • Francis Dupuis-Déri, Thomas Déri, Anarchy Explained to My Father
  • Helen Razer, Total Propaganda: Basic Marxist Brainwashing for the Angry and the Young
  • Wayne Price, The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist Introduction to Marx’s Critique of Political Economy


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html