Transition and Upheaval: Marxist Institute for Research

Charmaine Chua
Global Studies
UC Santa Barbara

Joshua Clover
UC Davis

Confronting living through upheaval, we inevitably confront living with upheaval. As accelerating climate collapse entwines with the limits to capitalist growth, each fixing the other in place, persisting catastrophes—physical and social—are foreseeable: from new weather patterns to food and fuel riots, from stagnant surplus populations to immiserated climate refugees, from ethnonationalist revanchism to liberatory struggles. In this context, we believe that the analytic resources provided by Marxist method and the critique of political economy, integrating transformative interventions regarding racialization, colonization, gender, and ongoing dispossession, are more useful than ever, provisioning both humanistic and social-scientific thought while demonstrating how such thought takes shape and gathers historical force.

Our Faculty Working Group coordinates research groups new and extant across the breadth of UC campuses toward theoretical and practical questions of historical transition, culminating in a summer seminar designed both for UC graduate students and for public engagement. This project is meant as well to survive as an ongoing network through the forging of a strategic plan, formation of relationships, shared and extended pedagogy, and the formalization of institutional bonds that allow for durable collaboration across time, creating a summer seminar that will eventually become a self-sustaining annual activity.