Summer Institute 2021: Marx and Marxism

In the summer of 2012, Douglas College began a project entitled the Summer Institute for Continental Philosophy. The institute takes the form of a third-year Philosophy course, PHIL 3380, attended by members of the Philosophy Department and other scholars, and includes a lecture by a visiting guest speaker. Students from all institutions are invited to attend.


This summer marks the ninth year of the Summer Institute in Continental Philosophy, and the first year organized by Dr. Devin Zane Shaw.

The Summer Institute for Continental Philosophy (2021) takes the theme Marx and Marxism: Revolution, Counter-Revolution, and Insurrection. Social unrest has marked almost the entire course of COVID-19 pandemic in numerous parts of the globe. In the United States, most notably, there were protests against measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, what has been called either typically George Floyd protests or the anti-police uprising, and the January 6th insurrection. Not all these events are the same—they are neither driven by similar motivations nor do they have similar ends. I propose in this course that the works of Marx, Luxemburg, Lenin, and Fanon, can provide critical tools to understanding the relationships between class, race, colonialism, revolution, counter-revolution, and insurrection.

Guest speakers to be announced.

Prerequisites: 9 prior credits in Philosophy or permission of the instructor.

Enrolment Requirements: Douglas students who have met the prerequisites can enrol directly.

PHIL 3380: Continental Philosophy is open to all post-secondary students with 9 credits in Philosophy (or suitable equivalents) and transfers for third-year credit to universities across British Columbia, including UBC and SFU.

Students currently enrolled in a BC post-secondary institution do NOT need to apply for admission to Douglas College in order to take this course. Students may apply to enrol into PHIL 3380 by completing and submitting the enrolment form and accompanying documents to Don Reimer, Associate Registrar, as per instructions on the form. All applications will be reviewed by the instructor. Please contact Dr. Shaw with any questions.


Required Readings

Many of the works of Marx and Marxism are freely available at Students are welcome to avail themselves of free editions of the required readings, though there may arise translation differences, edits or omissions, or other infelicities.

I will be working from the following volumes. They were reprinted by Verso a few years ago but now out of print again.

  • Karl Marx, “Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850,” and 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, in Surveys from Exile. Political Writings vol. 2. Ed. David Fernbach (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1973).
  • Karl Marx, “The Civil War in France,” in The First International and After. Political Writings vol. 3. Ed. David Fernbach (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1974).

These required textbooks are available at the Douglas College Bookstore:

  • Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Richard Philcox (New York: Grove Press, 2004). ISBN: 0802141323.

These required textbooks are available at the Douglas College Bookstore or available as free PDFs at

  • Rosa Luxemburg, Reform or Revolution? (Paris: FLP, 2020).
  • V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution (Paris: FLP, 2020).

Recommended readings will be suggested throughout the course.


Course Evaluation

1) Two essays, each worth 40% of the final grade. Essays must follow accepted academic conventions and must each be minimally 3000 words in length. Each essay must directly address material found in the course texts and must demonstrate some degree of familiarity with secondary literature on its topic. A short essay proposal (no more than 250 words) must be submitted and approved for both essays before students may proceed with their writing. A more specific handout about expectations will be distributed within the first two weeks of the course. Essays must be submitted via Blackboard.

  • First essay is due June 24th by 11:59pm.
  • Second essay is due July 29th by 11:59pm.

2) Research discussion, worth 20% of the final mark. This interview should be scheduled with the professor sometime between August 2nd and August 14th. The interview will be conducted via Blackboard Collaborate. It has NO pre-set questions and will generally focus upon philosophical questions which arise out of students' completed essay work.


Reading Schedule (Subject to Change)

May 13:           Introduction

May 20:           Marx, “Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850,” 35–62 (Part I)

May 27            Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 146–156; 169–195 (Parts I, III, IV)

June 3             Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 214–249 (Parts VI, VII)

June 10           Marx, “The Civil War in France,” 187–236.

June 17           Luxemburg, Reform or Revolution

June 24           Lenin, State and Revolution

July 1              College Closed

July 8              Lenin, State and Revolution

July 15            Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, “On Violence,” 1–62

July 22            Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, “Grandeur & Weakness of Spontaneity,” 63–96

July 29            Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, “On National Culture,” 145–180

August 5         Fanon, Wretched of the Earth



The Summer Institute for Continental Philosophy is directed by four Douglas College faculty, philosophers who have specialized in this area of Philosophy:

Dr. Devin Zane Shaw completed his PhD at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of three books, Philosophy of Antifascism: Punching Nazis and Fighting White Supremacy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2020), Egalitarian Moments: From Descartes to Rancière (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Freedom and Nature in Schelling's Philosophy of Art (Bloomsbury, 2010). He has also published articles in the area of political philosophy. 

Dr. John Bruin received his PhD from Guelph/McMaster with a dissertation on Husserl which was subsequently published by the University of Ottawa Press in 2001 under the title Homo Interrogans. Dr. Bruin has also published articles on Heidegger.

Dr. Robert Nicholls (retired) completed his PhD at the University of Waterloo in 1988 with a dissertation entitled Sense and Existence: Heidegger 1925-29. Dr. Nicholls has published essays on Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger, as well as in the areas of literary theory, philosophy of education and Eastern philosophy.

Dr. Mano Daniel (retired) completed his doctorate at the University of Waterloo with a dissertation on the work of Hannah Arendt. He co-edited the book Phenomenology of the Cultural Disciplines, and  has written papers in the areas of  environmental sustainability; philosophy of biography; philosophy and public policy; and the nature of apology.


Past Summer Institutes

Literatures of Commitment: Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre (Cancelled due to Covid.)
Scheduled Guest Speaker: Glen Sean Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene), associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the Department of Political Science at UBC, and author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (2014).
Interpreting Nietzsche
Guest Speaker: Robert B. Pippin, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago.
Existentialism and Psychology
Guest Speaker: Andrew Feldmar, Practising Existential Psychotherapist, Vancouver, BC
After Heidegger: a Survey of Continental Philosophy
Guest Speaker: Professor Alan Schrift, F. Wendell Miller Professor of Philosophy at Grinnell College, Iowa
Heidegger's Nietzsche Volumes
Guest Speaker: Professor Patricia Glazebrook, Director of the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Washington State University.
Heidegger's Essays: Basic Writings
Guest Speaker: Professor Raj Singh, Philosophy, Brock University
Marcuse: One-Dimensional Man
Guest Speaker: Professor Andrew Feenberg, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University
Heidegger's Being and Time
Guest Speaker: Professor Jeff Mitscherling, Philosophy, University of Guelph
Sartre's Being and Nothingness
Guest Speaker: Professor Bruce Baugh, Philosophy, Thompson Rivers University