Fall 2023 - HIST 463W D100

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

Getting Marx: A Rebel's Guide

Class Number: 3502

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • 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.


Karl Marx Getting Marx: A Rebel's Guide

In 1845, Karl Marx observed that “philosophers have interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it.”

Today, as we face economic collapse, environmental disaster, and great inequality, his insights are even more important. We’ll examine his life and ideas to help us understand and question the world we live in and to think about alternatives. We will examine Marxist ideas on capitalism, the state, class, gender, the environment, and the writing of history, that is, historical materialism. Drawing on your ideas, interests, and experience will be central to the course.

Some of the reading is difficult, but we will take our time with it. Every academic field interprets and debates Marx and Marxist approaches, and so students from all disciplines are welcome. The course will also be useful for those interested in honours and graduate work.

Assessment: Short written responses to course materials (lectures, readings, seminars): 100%

There are no exams and no research paper. Instead, we'll consider regular reflections and comments compiled over the semester. We’ll talk more about this when we meet. Email me if you have questions about the course at leier@sfu.ca.



  • Marx, Freud, Einstein, by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon. This is a graphic novel. We're only going to read the Marx part. But it's important and it's the first thing we will read.
  • Helen Razer, Total Propaganda: Basic Marxist Brainwashing for the Angry and the Young. Not very long, informal, even rude, in style and language
  • Hadas Thier, A People's Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics
  • Material in Canvas


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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.