Marxs Materialism Praxis and Human Emancipation


Academic Freedom Network
10 or 15 ECTS
Wednesdays 18.15 pm (CET) / 12.15 pm (EST) 
15 WEEKS (04.11.20 - 10.02.21)


This online course is organized and funded by the Academic Freedom Network. The Academic Freedom Network was established by the partnership of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Academics in Solidarity at FU-Berlin, Off-University, Einstein Fellows Research Group at HU-Berlin and The New University in Exile Consortium, The New School, NY, USA. The Academic Freedom Network is a project as part of the Berlin Center for Global Engagement (BCGE).

Marx’s critical project has arguably been the most influential body of philosophical work since Lao Tzu and Aristotle. At the heart of Marx’s critical philosophy is his materialism. This seminar aims to introduce the distinctive features and revolutionary essence of Marx’s materialism via analysis of primary texts, with a particular emphasis on Marx’s concepts of “praxis” as a philosophical category, “practical criticism,” and “practical materialism.” The weekly sessions will correspond to Marx’s famous Theses on Feuerbach. The widely quoted eleventh thesis, “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it,” will be considered at various points throughout the seminar. To ground each thesis, we will conduct a close reading of passages from various texts, including Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right; The Holy Family; The Communist Manifesto; Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy; Economic Manuscripts of 1861-1863; The German Ideology; and Capital. At the same time, our discussions will be enriched by examples from today’s social and political struggles for human emancipation in various parts of the world.


Learning Aims

• An understanding to investigate, identify, and discuss Marx’s materialist philosophy

• assess the significance of Marx’s materialism in relation to his philosophy of praxis

• demonstrate the significance of materialism and praxis in Marx’s overall philosophy

• examine the ways in which Marx’s materialism can enrich our critical analysis of society and relations of power


A full outline of the course syllabus can be found here.



Saladdin Ahmed teaches political theory and international relations at Union College in Schenectady, New York, and he holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa. In his book Totalitarian Space and the Destruction of Aura (SUNY, 2019), he investigates old versus new forms of totalitarianism. Currently, he is at work on a book project on revolutionary philosophy. His academic articles have appeared in Telos, Critique, Critical Race and Whiteness Studies, Philosophical Frontiers, and Forum Philosophicum, among others. His thought pieces can be found on Al-Jazeera, The Jerusalem Post, The European, openDemocracy, Institute for Social Ecology, and Telos.

Siyaves Azeri has started his new position as a professor of philosophy at the School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen in Siberia, Russian Federation. Following his dismissal from his position at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey and having been banned from public employment, by the decree law 679, alongside hundreds of other academicians, issued by the Erdogan administration on 6 January 2017, he worked as a visiting researcher at the École Normal Supérieure in Paris from September 2017 to August 2018 and, for the following two years, at the Université de Lorraine, Archives Henri-Poincaré-Philosophie et Recherches sur les Sciences et les Technologies (AHP-PReST) in Nancy, France. Azeri is also an associate of the Thesis Twelve: Mardin Value-form Circle. He writes on a large gamut of subjects in different international journals and books. His areas of interest include Hume’s empiricism, Kant’s transcendentalism, Marxian materialism, the problem of consciousness, and the critique of epistemology.