A Marxist critique of higher education – David Harvey interview

A Marxist critique of higher education – David Harvey interview at FreshEd

To celebrate the 100th episode of FreshEd, I’ve saved an interview with a very special guest.

Back in October, I had the privilege of sitting down with Professor David Harvey during his visit to Tokyo. For those who don’t know him, David Harvey is considered “one of the most influential geographers of the later twentieth century.” He is one of the most cited academics in the humanities and social sciences and is perhaps the most prominent Marxist scholars in the past half century. He has taught a course on Marx’s Capital for nearly 40 years. It is freely available online, and I highly recommend it.

You can go online and find all sorts of interviews with David Harvey where he explains his work and understanding of Marx in depth.

For our conversation today, I thought it would be best to talk about higher education, a system David Harvey has experienced for over 50 years. Who better to give a Marxist critique of higher education than David Harvey himself?

David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York. His newest book is entitled Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason, which was published last month.

thanks to dmf for the link

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3 Responses to A Marxist critique of higher education – David Harvey interview

  1. He does not provide obvious answers to the question about the stranglehold that major commercial publishers have on journals and other outlets for young scholars. Considering there is a whole movement devoted to tackling this, and it is really an issue of academic freedom, rather disappointing.

    The most telling comment is that Harvey’s faculty Dean at CUNY once told him he needed to bring in research income! What a sad state our public universities are in, if figures like Harvey, with more ideas than all of the big grant-winners, are admonished in this way!

    • stuartelden says:

      Yes, I think that’s a key absence. The thing I thought was a shame was his inability or refusal to name people who he thought were doing valuable work on or by Marx of earlier generations. There were some vague comments about those in their twenties or thirties, but that seemed harsh on those between that age and his.

      • You are correct – what happened to all the other middle aged highly respected theorists and critical geographers – not up to scratch?

        I guess he is also sore that the anarchists, one in particular in this ‘middle age’ group, are now having considerable disagreements with the older Marxists, him included. This is some of the first true and credible disagreement he has faced from the critical left in geography – although there were some feminist and postmodernist critiques in the 1980s, if I recall correctly. A new form of disagreement was inevitable, since it concerns the role of the state. Some geographers have given up on it being a positive force for social change or for mitigating the worst effects of capitalist forces [yes I know Harvey wrote ‘Spaces of Hope’, challenged Stalinism, and wrote about the Paris Commune, but he is no anarchist.] . Critique comes from academics being just as productive and potentially influential as Harvey.

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