Apr 01, 2023  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog

SO 203 - Capital: Origins of the Modern World System

Credit Hours: 3

This seminar involves a close and critical reading of volume one of Karl Marx’s Capital as a way into understanding the origins of the modern world system. Special attention will be paid to Marx’s integrated social science, the weaving together of sociology, economics, history and politics (and even philosophy), and to his extensive scholarship. Indeed, Marx’s work in Capital is also studied as a model of scholarship.

Fulfills SUNY General Education – Social Sciences.

Course Outcomes
At the end of the course, the student should be able to explain:

  • categories such as exchange-value, use-value, value, and surplus value as distinguished from more commonsensical or mainstream terms such as worth, value, and price;
  • the historical development of exchange and money in the context of and as a consequence of major social transformations;
  • the development of the modern world system as a result of the decay of feudal social relations;
  • the role of historical periodization in social scientific thought;
  • the origins of the industrial and scientific/technological revolutions in the context of the modern world system;
  • the distinction between the characteristics of generalized commodity production from all previous historical periods in which commodities were produced;
  • why capitalism may be viewed as the most revolutionary social system in world history;
  • the relationship between capital accumulation and the development of 17th to 19th century colonialism;
  • a dialectical materialist approach to the development of knowledge and real relations;
  • the application of such concepts as negation and negation of the negation as they apply to social forces;
  • the role of abstraction in the development of new knowledge;
  • alienation in modern society;
  • commodity fetishism in modern society; and
  • historical materialist methodology as it applies to the analyses of social transformations.

Prerequisites: Any AN, EC, HI, SO course OR participation in the Honors program OR permission of the instructor.
F (C, N, S)