The Specter That Haunts Political Science: The Neglect and Misreading of Marx in International Relations and Comparative Politics

The Specter That Haunts Political Science: The Neglect and Misreading of Marx in International... Abstract We compiled an original database of syllabi for introductory, graduate courses from top-ranked US departments to assess the extent to which elite international relations and comparative politics scholars engage with Marx. Analysis of those syllabi overwhelmingly demonstrates that even superficial engagement with Marx or the Marxist tradition is exceedingly rare. We argue that the reasons behind this near-total absence are more political than intellectual and include the embrace of the defeatist, neoliberal logic of the “end of history.” While mainstream disengagement from Marx is perhaps unsurprising, many “critical” political scientists also ignore and/or misread Marx, often because of his purported Eurocentrism. Though Marx’s writings at times evince ethnocentric biases, Marx engaged in extensive efforts to grapple with the specificity of the non-European world. Further, these critics fail to account for how thinkers around the globe have found value in and made theoretical contributions to the universalist Marxist story. We analyze two such cases: the African anticolonial leader Amílcar Cabral and the Peruvian Marxist theorist and activist José Carlos Mariátegui. We argue that this superficial engagement, misreading, and sometimes the outright ignoring of Marx hinders the discipline’s ability to address important real-world problems or theoretical debates, let alone make political science matter. Marx, Marxism, graduate education, postcolonialism, intersectionality Given his status as one of history’s most influential thinkers, one would expect that Karl Marx, along with Marxist thought in general, would garner significant attention within political science. Yet with the partial exception of political theorists (Sculos and Walsh 2015), relatively few US political scientists seriously engage with his work. Many ignore him entirely. To assess the extent to which this lack of engagement with Marx is reflected in how political science is taught and reproduced, we have compiled an original database of syllabi for introductory, graduate courses in international relations (IR) and comparative politics (CP) from the top-ranked departments in the United States. Analysis of these syllabi provides overwhelming support for the assertion that substantive—or even superficial—engagement with Marx or the Marxist tradition is exceedingly rare within these subfields’ mainstreams.1 As we argue, Marx’s near-total absence from elite, graduate education in these subfields is due to factors that are simultaneously intellectual and political. These include: a refusal to analytically separate Marxism from the (failed) Soviet Union; the rise of quantitative, hypothesis-testing research and the concomitant decline of social or grand theory (Oren 2016); an ideological commitment to scientific “objectivity” and “neutrality,” with a corresponding aversion to scholarship that advances a political agenda that challenges the status quo; and the embrace of the defeatist, neoliberal logic of the “end of history.” In other words, while there are certainly academic motives behind mainstream political science’s disregard for Marx, the discipline is also clearly haunted by the ideological specter of Marx and Marxism (Callinicos 1996, 10). While mainstream disengagement from Marx is perhaps unsurprising, the failure to seriously engage with Marx or the Marxist tradition is in fact much more widespread. Indeed, both mainstream and many self-avowedly critical political scientists ignore and/or misread Marx. Accordingly, we extend our analysis by examining the argument, common to many mainstream and especially postcolonial thinkers, that Marx was a Eurocentric theorist whose writings are of little to no use to efforts that analyze the non-European world or associated questions relating to race and other axes of identity. Though Marx’s writings are at times infused with ethnocentric biases, such strident accusations of Eurocentrism overlook his analysis of the “intersections” between race, class, gender, and national identity, as well as his attempts to grapple with the specificity of the non-European world. Crucially, in turn, these critics fail to account for how thinkers and movements around the globe have found value in and made theoretical contributions to the universalist Marxist story. Here, we briefly analyze two such cases: the African anticolonial leader Amílcar Cabral and the Peruvian Marxist theorist and activist José Carlos Mariátegui. As their efforts demonstrate, reading Marx vis-à-vis the colonial world produced both theoretical development and modification within the Marxist tradition as well as important insights that were instrumental in national liberation struggles. Overall, we argue that this superficial engagement, misreading, and—in some cases—outright ignoring of Marx hinders political science’s ability to address important real-world problems or theoretical debates, let alone make the discipline matter. Ignorance is Not Bliss: Why We Need Marx Before analyzing the extent to which and reasons why Marx is largely ignored and/or misread in political science, we must first engage in the straightforward—if rather curious—task of explaining why this is a problem that needs to be addressed. It is a straightforward endeavor because all we wish to establish is that Marx’s thought is worthy of sustained engagement (and not that he was necessarily “right”). And it is curious because one does not expect to have to justify the importance of reading one of history’s most influential and cited authors. Yet based on the observed tendency to caricaturize and/or ignore Marx, circumstances obligate us to make the case for Marx’s continuing relevance. Why Marx Was Right—Or, at Least Worth Paying Attention To Sure, Marx was an important political thinker who wrestled with capitalist modernization and its discontents, but really, who cares? From Adam Smith (Hoffman 2013) to Edmund Burke (O’Neill 2016), social scientists often engage in misguided readings of classic thinkers. Why should we be particularly troubled by the tendency to misread Marx, or even ignore him entirely? Our initial response is, again, straightforward. As Tucker (1978, ix) notes in the preface to the widely used The Marx-Engels Reader, “A knowledge of the writings of Marx and Engels is virtually indispensable to an educated person in our time, whatever his political position or social philosophy.” Indeed, their thought “has profoundly affected ideas about history, society, economics, ideology, culture, and politics,” as well as “the nature of social inquiry itself” (ibid.). Here, one might add that Marx is of course part of the triumvirate of essential classic social theorists, along with Max Weber and Émile Durkheim. Tucker (ibid.) continues: “Not to be well grounded in the writings of Marx and Engels is to be insufficiently attuned to modern thought,” and also to be “self-excluded” from the debates that define “most contemporary societies” as well as those that have shaped the trajectories of the aforementioned disciplines. A political scientist who largely overlooks Marx is akin to a specialist in English literature with only passing knowledge of Shakespeare. Accordingly, rather than having to defend the proposition that Marx is worthy of close reading, it should be the turn of those who caricaturize and studiously ignore Marx to justify their own lack of thorough engagement with a thinker who has done more than nearly any other to influence both our social world and how it is studied. Yet there is also a more sophisticated response: that Marx, far from fading into irrelevance, is especially relevant for our current times. Various reasons make this so. First, his analysis—though of course not without its flaws—was remarkably prescient. For example, long before “globalization” became an inescapable buzzword, Marx had already encapsulated the core of at least the economic aspects of this fuzzy concept by observing that “[t]he need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere” (Marx and Engels [1888] 1978, 476). Given that we live in hypercapitalist times in which nearly everything is seemingly being marketized, capitalist globalization is creating an increasingly global system defined by “time-space compression” (Harvey 1990), and extreme market fundamentalism—neoliberalism—has become orthodoxy, Marx’s analysis seems more relevant than ever. As Eagleton (2011, 2) puts it, “as long as capitalism is still in business, Marxism must be as well.” Capitalism’s global triumph—the so-called end of history and the fact that capitalist logic “has penetrated just about every aspect of human life and nature itself” (Wood 1997)—should thus make us more attuned to Marx, not less. In turn, along with capitalism’s global spread, so too have we borne witness to global crises (such as the 2008 global financial meltdown), increased global inequality and the oppositional movements it has spurred (including Occupy Wall Street and the Bernie Sanders campaign in the United States), and globalized repression in the name of capital accumulation (ranging from dispossession of the indigenous Mapuche by loggers in southern Chile to violence against union leaders and striking workers the world over). As Eagleton (2011, 8–9) again observes, such issues are precisely the ones “on which Marxism has acted and reflected for almost two centuries. One would expect, then, that it might have a few lessons to teach the present.” Whatever one makes of Marx’s normative positions concerning how to overcome these maladies, we are at least obligated to engage with his critique. Second, many of the objections launched against Marx are simply wrong. As we explore below, while Marx is typically rejected by postcolonial and other thinkers for his supposedly crude universalism and corresponding inability as a Eurocentric theoretician to conceptualize uniquely Global South/Third World realities, Marx indeed has long been a source of inspiration for myriad thinkers and movements all across the globe. From the Chilean student movement of the past decade to anti-austerity protests in Greece that began in earnest in 2010, our understanding of today’s mass mobilizations would be much richer if we were to understand and grapple with Marx’s complex and nuanced critique of the capitalist system. Further, while we are said to live in intersectional times that should lead us to dismiss Marx and his entire brand of class reductionism, this critique is based on, at best, a partial reading of Marx. As Anderson (2015) argues, while Marx of course did not address all of today’s issues, he did understand that “race, class, and gender were concrete categories that intersected in various ways—and sometimes coalesced in a revolutionary fashion—across the historical modes of production that he analyzed.” For example, “for Marx, uprooting slavery and racism in America was not only a political question of constitutional amendments and civil rights bills, but also one that concerned the economic structures of society” (Anderson 2015). In times defined by racialized police violence, mass incarceration, and inequality, Marx thus clearly remains a worthy interlocutor. One may of course reasonably disagree with various aspects of Marx’s political program, normative commitments, or social analysis. Yet what is not intellectually justifiable in our attempts to grapple with contemporary politics, as we argue below, is to neglect to engage with his thought. Such a lack of engagement, as we demonstrate, is based more on neoliberal ideological commitments than on a scientific desire to understand the world around us. Haunting the Haunted: The (Dis)Engagement of Political Science with, or from, Marx To analyze Marx’s place in today’s political science landscape, we have sought to discover what graduate students in top ten US political science programs read in introductory courses in IR and CP.2 For consistency’s sake, we focus on courses taught during the 2015–2016 academic year.3 We chose to focus on top ten programs as they are representative of and play a disproportionate role in shaping the discipline’s “mainstream,” both in the United States and around the world.4 Indeed, there is little reason to expect substantial variation in non-top-ten Ph.D.-granting institutions (Colgan 2016), given that—as our random sample demonstrates—just more than 62 percent of tenurable or tenured faculty in the top fifty departments graduated from these very same top-ten programs.5 We collected twenty-two such syllabi: ten for introductory CP courses, and twelve for IR.6 We counted the total numbers of required and recommended readings and how often Marx’s writings appear in either category. We then counted how many works written by Marx were required or suggested in these courses. The results appear in Tables 1 and 2. Table 1 Syllabi requiring or recommending Marx’s writing   Total syllabi  # Syllabi with Marx required  # Syllabi with Marx recommended  CP  10  1  1  IR  12  0  0  Total  22  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  4.55%  4.55%    Total syllabi  # Syllabi with Marx required  # Syllabi with Marx recommended  CP  10  1  1  IR  12  0  0  Total  22  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  4.55%  4.55%  View Large Table 2 Total required or recommended readings of Marx   Total # required readings  Total # recommended readings  Total # required readings of Marx  Total # suggested readings of Marx  CP  664  1036  1  1  IR  826  724  0  0  Total  1490  1760  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.07%  0.06%    Total # required readings  Total # recommended readings  Total # required readings of Marx  Total # suggested readings of Marx  CP  664  1036  1  1  IR  826  724  0  0  Total  1490  1760  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.07%  0.06%  View Large Marx is almost completely absent from both tables. Only in the CP course at MIT was one of Marx’s texts required (The Communist Manifesto). In a corresponding course at Harvard, it was recommended that students read the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte in the week dedicated to research methodologies.7 We then counted how many Marxist or Marxist-inspired authors/texts were assigned as required or suggested readings. To be included, we determined that the text must fulfill at least one of the following three criteria:8 The author self-identifies as Marxist or following the Marxist tradition (for instance, Lenin). The author uses a Marxist framework of analysis and/or advocates for a Marxist political project. The former refers to the presumption that the socioeconomic structure and class struggle are the fundamental (though not the only) factors explaining the phenomenon under investigation. Internationally, this means that capitalist expansion and capital accumulation, with their concomitant uneven development, are the core elements that explain international political phenomena (for example, as delineated by dependency theory).9 The author acknowledges the Marxist tradition with its limitations and attempts to complement it by incorporating other elements not thoroughly considered by Marx without abandoning the centrality of the socioeconomic structure and class relations. A prime example is Anderson’s (1991)Imagined Communities.10 Our results appear in Table 3. Table 3 Syllabi requiring or recommending Marxist readings   Total syllabi  Syllabi with required readings  Syllabi with recommended readings  Comparative politics  10  6  3  International relations  12  1  3  Total  22  7  6  Percentage  100.00%  31.82%  27.27%    Total syllabi  Syllabi with required readings  Syllabi with recommended readings  Comparative politics  10  6  3  International relations  12  1  3  Total  22  7  6  Percentage  100.00%  31.82%  27.27%  View Large From the perspective that Marx deserves to be read, the above numbers are more promising. However, when the amount of Marxist readings is compared to total readings (see Table 4), the data again highlight Marx’s absence. Table 4 Total Marxist required or recommended readings   Total required readings  Total recommended readings  Total required Marxist readings  Total recommended Marxist readings  Comparative politics  664  1036  13  14  International relations  826  724  1  3  Total  1490  1760  14  17  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.94%  0.97%    Total required readings  Total recommended readings  Total required Marxist readings  Total recommended Marxist readings  Comparative politics  664  1036  13  14  International relations  826  724  1  3  Total  1490  1760  14  17  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.94%  0.97%  View Large These data appear to suggest that the discipline’s leading lights believe Marx has very little to say to their subfields. This absence becomes even more glaring given that many of these introductory IR courses dedicate a significant amount of time to the study of international political economy. Yet not even these syllabi assign a single text by Marx, despite the fact that he produced some of history’s most important analyses of the international political-economic system. In some cases, Marx’s absence is also particularly puzzling. For example, an introductory CP course at University California–Berkeley dedicates an entire week to the study of class without a single writing by Marx.11 Similarly, even though many of these IR and CP syllabi include a substantial focus on structural forces, Marx and Marxist authors are not read in these sessions. Where on the one hand, as we argue here, Marx is often (somewhat unfairly) criticized by mainstream scholars for giving too much explanatory force to economic structures; on the other hand, when students in elite graduate programs study the influence of structures, economic and otherwise, they seemingly do so without sustained engagement with the Marxist tradition. Further, this contradiction passes without comment in the discipline. Instructors assign readings covering topics such as poverty and prosperity, revolutions and regime change, political structures, and the balance between structure and agency without including Marx or even tenuously Marxist authors. For example, Harvard’s introductory IR course features two weeks dedicated to structural explanations. Yet no readings by Marx or Marxist authors are assigned for these sessions, save for the partial exception of Ashley (1984), which is a suggested (but not required) reading and engages with Marx without adopting a Marxist position per se. The data also reinforce the conclusions of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project, which finds that Marxism has lost substantial ground as an IR paradigm since the 1980s and is being taught less and less in this subfield, particularly in the United States (Maliniak etal. 2011). Concomitantly, Katzenstein, Keohane, and Krasner (1998) have shown that constructivism has replaced Marxism as the principal challenger to realism and liberalism. According to the TRIP Project, the perception of Marxism as being read in the discipline has dropped systematically and significantly since the 1990s. In fact, “[i]n 2008, IR scholars thought that Marxism was less prominent than either feminism or the English School” (Maliniak etal. 2011, 444). Analyzing the time devoted to each paradigm in introductory IR classes from 2004 to 2008, the TRIP data show a decline in Marxism from 14 percent in 2004 to 7 percent in 2006 and then an increase to 10 percent in 2008.12 This is half the time dedicated to realism or liberalism and 7 percent less than the time dedicated to nonparadigmatic readings. Further, these data reveal that Marxist articles are the least published type of articles in the field. Interestingly, paradigmatic articles are cited more than nonparadigmatic articles, with the exception of articles that adopt a Marxist approach; these are cited less than nonparadigmatic ones. In the TRIP survey, participants were asked to choose the most prominent IR scholars. Not a single scholar named by US respondents identifies with Marxism. Given the preceding, it is no surprise that Maliniak etal. (2011, 450) conclude that, “Marxist theory has all but disappeared.” Based on our own analysis and the data collected by the TRIP Project, we observe two important trends. First, Marxism has suffered a huge decline in elite US graduate training in these fields, to the point of being almost completely abandoned. Second, Marx and Marxists are so infrequently read or assigned that there is a real risk that graduate students are being trained to respond to (if not reject) a caricaturized version of Marx and Marxism without having ever seriously engaged with either. So, Why Has Marx Been Abandoned? In 1999, Gamble argued that Marxism was widely perceived by academics to be in a terminal crisis. While for most of the twentieth century a critical engagement with Marx and Marxism was an essential part of social science, Gamble (1999, 1) indicated that “a new generation of social scientists is growing up, which has little or no contact with Marxist ideas and Marxist methods of analysis.” To its dishonor, political science appears to have been precocious in its abandonment of Marx and Marxism. As leading realist IR scholar Walt (1998, 34) comments, Marxist theories of international politics “were largely discredited before the Cold War even ended” and “succumbed to [their] various failings.”13 In contrast, we suggest that this abandonment of Marxism in US CP and IR was largely not the product of Marxism’s intellectual “failings,” but rather can be attributed to: the (troubling) association of Marxism with and the fall of the Soviet Union, an adherence to the end of history ideology with its acceptance of capitalism and liberalism as the only game in town, the desire to avoid a modern 1968-style college uprising, and the triumph of the ideology of so-called scientific neutrality. We will briefly consider these in turn. Although the characterization of the Soviet Union as Marxist was endlessly rejected by many Marxists, and although its tenets and policies resonated in only the most superficial of ways with Marx’s ideas, the Soviet Union’s fall provided a useful opportunity for Marx’s detractors who promoted the idea that Marx and Marxism were also withering away. It was, in other words, “guilt by association” (Kellner 1995, xi). As we argue, this inability—or refusal—to separate Marx from Soviet authoritarianism continues to inform mainstream political science’s rejection of Marx. Likewise, the perceived need to accept capitalism and full integration into the global market has become the new universal wisdom (Gamble 1999, 3). Fukuyama’s (1992),The End of History became the mantra for those arguing against Marxism and any possibility of social or economic reform that challenges the existing capitalist and neoliberal structures. Fukuyama proposes that there is no alternative to capitalism and liberal democracy, thus rendering Marx passé. This implies capitalist triumphalism is accompanied by a cultural pessimism that represents a neoconservative version of Baudrillard (1975) and similar authors, who proclaim the existence of a “post-historical” world devoid of meaning, in which private consumerism attempts, unsuccessfully, to fill the emptiness left by the disappearance of the great metaphysical and political struggles of time’s past (Callinicos 1989). It is no coincidence that Fukuyama was a student of Samuel Huntington, who in 1968 expressed concern about the disorder that an increase in mass political participation could cause if not channeled through an adequate institutional framework. As he wrote, “[u]rbanization, increases in literacy, education, and media exposure all give rise to enhanced aspirations and expectations, which, if unsatisfied, galvanize individuals and groups into politics. In the absence of strong and adaptable political institutions, such increases in participation mean instability and violence” (Huntington 1968, 48). Further, in the midst of the civil rights movement and campus revolts across the United States and the world, Huntington argued that the higher the level of education of the unemployed, alienated, or dissatisfied person, the more extreme his/her destabilizing behavior. “Alienated graduate students prepare revolutions,” he wrote (Huntington 1968, 48). This work reveals Huntington’s real fear concerning the revolutionary potential of university students. To him, the study of Marx and other thinkers who advocate not only for a critical reading of society’s structures and politics, but also call for action, had the potential to create revolutionary elements, bringing disorder and chaos to society. The ideology of scientific neutrality, which posits the separation of facts from values, together with the argument that the main, and almost exclusive, role of social scientists is to contribute to their disciplines (as opposed to the “real world”), is connected with Huntington’s fears and suggests the rejection of any body of thought that envisions the unity of theory and praxis. As Gunnell (1993, 7) contends, “in a highly pluralistic society, the authority for knowledge seemed to require speaking with a neutral voice grounded in scientific values and facts.” According to Taylor (1994, 547), positive political science—as embodied by the remaking of political science in the image of economics through the meteoric rise of rational choice theory, formal modeling, and advanced statistical techniques—claimed to have become value-free and in so doing had liberated itself from political philosophy.14 Indeed, the scientific method is said to allow for the dispassionate study of the empirical world, without metaphysical presuppositions or value biases (Taylor 1994, 547). Marx, on the other hand, is portrayed as an ideological thinker whose normative commitments introduce bias into his observations. Yet, when we want to understand the reasons behind social phenomena and answer why questions, it is impossible not to interpret the evidence we observe (Taylor 1971). And it is here that values, and normative theory, enter. As Harvey (1973, 24) remarks, to regard reality as independent of human perception and action is itself “idiotic and ideological.” The problem with arguments to the contrary is that they fail to recognize that “value-free” political science is itself both an ideological position, and, indeed, a myth. Many critics, such as Popper, argue that there is nothing scientific about Marxism because its propositions cannot be scientifically tested (Mandel 1976, 25). Yet, as Mandel (1976) posits, there are very simple ways to test whether Marx was “wrong.” For example, one could discredit Marx by discovering that the more capitalist industry develops, the smaller the average factory becomes, the less it depends upon new technology, the more its capital is supplied by the workers themselves, and the greater the share of surplus value they accumulate. Yet, plainly, none of this has occurred. Others argue that the lack of working-class revolutions in advanced industrialized countries is a sign of Marx’s predictive failure. Yet only an oversimplified reading of Marx—precisely the type that prevails in political science—suggests that revolutions will occur without human agency. Indeed, while Marx of course argues that the inherent contradictions of capitalist society will provoke a revolutionary situation, this requires the development of revolutionary consciousness, for “material forces can only be overthrown by material forces, but theory itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses” (Marx [1844] 1978, 60). In this vein, Marx and Engels wrote the Manifesto precisely to convince the masses to rise up and engage in class struggle. Indeed, this radical, political message is precisely what Huntington and his fellow travelers most feared. Openly normative discussions in political science, and in this sense Marx too, have been pushed toward political theory. And in turn, it is no coincidence that political theory is under attack as the subfield that does not deal with “science.” As Cavarero (2002) indicates, the canon of science became the criteria for defining appropriate work. The consequence is that everything else is rejected as metaphysics, “a sort of literary production lacking in scientific rigor” that is seen as “untrustworthy” (Cavarero 2002, 510).15 Similarly, Berlin previously argued that political theory would never become a science because it deals with normative questions that are specifically philosophical (Grant 2002, 577). If we further consider the fact that capitalism, according to Brown (2002), has become an almost unchallengeable fact for political theorists, then the future of Marx in political science in general may seem doomed. To summarize, there are numerous reasons—both individual and structural—that have led to the abandonment or rejection of Marx. Yet it appears that they are more political than intellectual. That is, the collective lack of engagement with Marx’s writings seems to be based less on their own intellectual merit (or lack thereof) and more on their political ramifications. Marx poses two problems for political scientists. First, he contradicts current norms in favor of “navel-gazing” by suggesting that our chief ambition should be to contribute to society, not the discipline. And second, even if one rejects his political arguments, engaging with Marx tells us that we should take political positions, be politically active, and question our role as academics in maintaining or challenging the status quo. Marx wants us not only to interpret the world, but to change it. For those who proffer the problematic (and ideological) notion that social science can and should be value-free or promote the political pessimism of the end of history, Marx is thus indeed a haunting specter. Between Readings and Misreadings: On Marx, Intersectionality, and the Charge of Eurocentrism Our analysis of graduate syllabi reveals in unequivocal fashion that, at least in pedagogical terms, Marx has largely vanished from the IR and CP mainstreams. As we detail above, the reasons for this abandonment are more political than intellectual in nature. That the mainstream has largely dismissed Marx does not necessarily mean that Marx is absent from these subfields as a whole, for indeed both enjoy a significant degree of theoretical diversity at least at the margins. Yet even most “critical” scholars in these areas have abandoned Marx. In this section, we analyze one of the principal reasons behind this lack of engagement: namely, the charge that Marx is a Eurocentric thinker who has little to say about the non-European world. Below, we document how both mainstream and especially critical thinkers—both within and beyond the aforementioned top-ranked departments—have constructed this “Eurocentric Marx.”16 Subsequently, we turn to Marx’s own voluminous, but largely overlooked, writings on colonialism and imperialism, focusing in particular on the cases of China and India. Though Marx of course was at times weighed down by Eurocentric and modernist baggage, he nevertheless made serious and repeated efforts to grapple with non-European realities. And indeed, as noted by Bieler (2016), “[w]hen analyzing concrete struggles, Marx was careful not to generalize his findings from one country to another.” Further, as we explore at the end of this section, the fact that so many non-European thinkers would take the baton from Marx and both use and modify the Marxist tradition to analyze their own realities is an additional argument against the attempt to dismiss Marx as simply another modernist, Eurocentric product of the Enlightenment. The Construction of a Eurocentric Marx The finding that Marx is not being taught in the discipline’s centers of power is somewhat ironic given that many key thinkers in these subfields readily acknowledge both their own training in Marxist theory and how their reactions to (or against) this literature shaped their thoughts and scholarly trajectories. For example, let us take the case of Drezner (2013), who acknowledges having “read a lot of Marx in college and graduate school” and argues that “a return to Marx seems entirely appropriate” for his “critique of capitalist political economy,” even though he believes that there are “some Very Big Things that Marx got wrong—badly, world-historically wrong.”17 While he posits his blockbuster Theories of International Politics and Zombies as a review of “existing international relations theories,” he justifies his lack of engagement with Marx therein using the following tortured logic: “[t]o be blunt, this project is explicitly prohuman, whereas Marxists would likely sympathize more with the zombies” (Drezner 2015,18). Notably, while Drezner added coverage of feminism to the 2015 “revived” edition—he had previously lumped feminists together with Marxists as “sympathiz[ing] more with the zombies” (2011, 17)—Marx’s specter continues to be absent from the text. Although we were taken aback by the extent to which Marx and Marxist authors are absent from the above courses, the general trend we identify will likely be unsurprising to many readers. Indeed, for years critical voices—such as those of the Caucus for a New Political Science—have alleged that the discipline’s mainstream is status-quo-oriented (if not conservative) and uninterested, or perhaps even fearful of, systemic critique (Barrow 2008). Still, it is tempting to believe that profound engagement with Marx and the Marxist tradition have continued to flourish in more hospitable surroundings outside of the mainstream. Yet this is largely not the case. While significant numbers of scholars—particularly outside of the United States and in the subfields of comparative and global political economy—continue to keep the Marxist flame alive, it has repeatedly been pointed out that many thinkers from the dominant “critical” intellectual traditions of our time—postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postcolonialism—have joined the mainstream in either neglecting or rejecting Marx (Dirlik 2000; Bartolovich and Lazarus 2002; Chibber 2013). Reasons vary, and include a tendency to embrace the aforementioned end of history ideology, the notion that universalism (of the Marxist or other varieties) is invariably a dirty word and the presumption that Marx is an irredeemably Eurocentric thinker. Accordingly, while vibrant pockets of Marx-influenced scholars remain in IR and CP, they are small and concentrated outside of political science’s US core, and largely isolated from their fields’ mainstreams. Here, we focus on the last of the aforementioned charges against Marx: his purported Eurocentrism. While it is by no means the sole reason for which “critical” scholars choose to dismiss Marx, it is of special interest in the present context, for assertions of Marx’s ineradicable European character are common to many critical and mainstream scholars. As such, this section proceeds by analyzing Marx’s Eurocentric credentials. Despite Marx’s fairly extensive engagement with the non-European world, Avineri (1969, 1)—who compiled such writings in the landmark (but relatively unknown) volume, Karl Marx on Colonialism and Modernization—recounted that “Marx is usually considered a European thinker, primarily interested in the impact of industrialization on Western society.” In fact, Marx is often identified in such terms in the political science mainstream, even today. Marx “focused on capitalism in Europe,” according to a recent IR textbook, which falsely goes on to imply that only “neo-Marxists”—and not Marx himself—have demonstrated any interest in “developing countries” (Jackson and Sørensen 2016, 51). Indeed, Ahmad (2015, 199–200) argues that the accusation of “Marx’s Eurocentrism was manufactured mainly in Anglo-American discourses” and exported once the “1960s uprisings had been contained.” To the extent that Marx’s non-European writings are acknowledged, we again typically receive only a caricatured version. In Gilpin’s (1987, 271) rendering, “Marx believed the external force of Western imperialism” was necessary to move non-Western societies through the predetermined stages of history, and that such capitalist expansion, even if carried out violently, represented “a step forward for humanity.” Though Marx indeed made such crude assertions, Gilpin (1987, 271) neglects to mention that Marx’s views on these matters evolved and that he would in fact become the first major European thinker to oppose the British imperial project in India. And despite referring to Avineri’s text as an “excellent collection,” nor does Gilpin (1987, 271) repeat Avineri’s (1969, 19) assertion that Marx came to believe that both India and the British working class were “being exploited for the benefit of the English ruling classes through British rule in India.” Postcolonial thinkers have often been even less generous in their assessments of Marx’s non-European credentials. They have tended to see Marxism as “indelibly Eurocentric, [and] complicit with the dominative master-narratives of modernity (including that of colonialism itself)” (Bartolovich 2002, 1). As such, “it has … become perfectly acceptable” for postcolonial scholars “to make no mention of Marxism, even when the situations described seem to call out for it” (ibid.). And, “[w]hen the subject of Marxism is brought up, it is typically with hostility” (Bartolovich 2002, 9).18 Of course, a critique of Marx’s “Orientalism” has been standard fare at least since Said’s (1978) classic homonymous work.19 For Kayaoglu (2010, 199), Marx was guilty of subscribing to the very same ideology of “European normative exclusivity and supremacy”—which “was constructed in conjunction with the creation of inferiority of the Other”—as his liberal and other contemporaries. For his part, Hobson (2012, 20) refers in The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics to “the paternalist Eurocentrism of Marx” and other disparate thinkers. Tellingly, he entitles one of the book’s chapters, “Eurocentric Imperialism: Liberalism and Marxism, c. 1830–1914.” Yet without seeking to diminish the importance of the very real oversights, biases, and flaws that undergird Marx’s non-European writings (Chowdhry and Nair 2002, 7), it is simply not the case that Marx deserves to be equated in these counts with liberalism, which unabashedly served as imperialism’s and colonialism’s chief ideological enabler. To be sure, the “broadly Marxist tradition” of anti-imperialist thinkers merits criticism for its “concentration on the histories of Europe and North America” (Saurin 2006, 34). More generally, Gruffydd Jones (2006, 12) is doubtlessly correct to note that “even critical IR” has “turned almost exclusively to Europe’s heritage of critical thought” while studiously ignoring (if not deriding the contributions of) non-European thinkers, including those whom we analyze below. But this is not a call for turning our backs on Marx. The problem, as Gruffydd Jones (2011, 48) observes, is not “turn[ing] fruitfully” to European thinkers such as Marx, but “persistently overlook[ing] other sources of critique.” Thus, as Chowdhry and Nair (2002, 17) suggest by drawing from Fanon, Marxism needs to be “stretched”—not discarded—“to better accommodate the historical interpellation of race, gender, and class” that characterizes international politics. Though they too refer to “the Eurocentrism of Marx” and reject Marxism’s “universalist assumptions,” theirs is at least a call for dialogue, not rejection (Chowdhry and Nair 2002, 22–23).20 Our Reading We read Marx as a thinker who, despite his flaws and oversights, made serious attempts to wrestle with non-Western realities. There is in fact a growing body of revisionist scholarship that supports this assertion and questions the dominant, Eurocentric characterization of Marx (Bartolovich and Lazarus 2002; Achcar 2013; Pradella 2015). Indeed, for a Eurocentric thinker, Marx had a great deal to say about European exploitation of the rest of the world. Particularly in his oft-overlooked New York Tribune articles, Marx frequently addressed Britain’s crimes in India, China, and elsewhere. He argued that the West’s prosperity depended on the slave and opium trades and that Western powers would hastily use force to impose their continuance (Ledbetter 2007, xxv). As Marx ([1853c] 2007, 3) wrote concerning the British opium trade in China, [w]hatever the social causes, whatever religious, dynastic, or national shape they may assume, that have brought about the chronic rebellions subsisting in China … and now gathered together in one formidable revolution, the occasion of this outbreak has unquestionably been afforded by the English cannon forcing upon China that soporific drug called opium. And referring to British behavior in China, Marx ([1857] 2007, 23) declared … this most unrighteous war has been waged. The unoffending citizens and peaceful tradesmen of Canton have been slaughtered, their habitations battered to the ground, and the claims of humanity violated, on the flimsy pretense that “English life and property are endangered by the aggressive acts of the Chinese!” The British Government and the British people … know how false and hollow are such charges. While Marx may not have been the most outspoken advocate for colonialism’s victims, he did not ignore them. He addressed British colonialism (and its crimes) as historical facts and part of the natural development of capital accumulation. Nonetheless, Marx took a strong stand in favor of the abolition of slavery in the United States and the liberation of Fenian (Irish republican) prisoners in England. Marx strove to convince the First International and British working-class leaders to support the Irish rebels, condemning British atrocities in Ireland and praising British workers’ opposition to slavery in the US south.21 Marx saw the US Civil War as a major battle for human emancipation, which would force white labor in the United States and Britain to take a stand against slavery. At the same time, Marx saw in Irish nationalism a source of opposition to British and global capital (Anderson 2010). It is interesting to note how Marx, when addressing the Civil War, and especially in regard to Ireland and Irish workers, connected race and ethnicity as part of the exploitation generated by capitalism, showing how the bourgeoisie benefited from working-class racial divisions and animosities.22 For example, Marx bitterly complained about how working-class consciousness was debilitated by anti-Irish prejudice (Anderson 2010, 145).23 Further, as Avineri (1968, 24) comments, “nothing could be more scathing than [Marx’s] exposé of the sheer inhumanity of the British opium trade with China, or the cruelties inflicted by the British on India in the wake of the Mutiny.” Avineri (1969, 28) fittingly goes on to observe that, while “one can criticize Marx on many counts,” nonetheless “one has to admit that few nineteenth-century thinkers and social theorists grasped as well the long-range implications of European colonial expansion for the socioeconomic structure of non-European society” and that “even fewer had a comparable vision of the degree of world historical change brought about by the corrosive influence of Western commerce.” His writings on India in particular, including the passage below, illustrate precisely the duality of Marx’s thought. Deeply disturbed by the barbarity of British colonialism but shedding few tears for the social order it was uprooting, in 1853, in one of his regular contributions to the Tribune (Marx [1853a] 2007, 213), he wrote, “I share not the opinion of those who believe in a golden age of Hindostan.” He had few qualms about the destruction of precapitalist India,24 which he saw as a necessary evil for the advancement of capitalism and—sooner or later—a revolution (Jani 2002). In that sense, as Marx ([1853a] 2007, 219) wrote, British imperialism was “an unconscious tool of history.” Yet as Jani (2002) indicates, to arrive from here to the accusation that Marx was Eurocentric and a supporter of British imperialism requires a huge leap of faith. Indeed, several caveats are in order. First, Marx was certainly a product and creature of Europe who suffered from many of the same ethnocentric vices as his contemporaries (Bartolovich 2002). Yet he was also “a trilingual, cosmopolitan intellectual” who lived a life of exile, engaged extensively with the non-European and colonized worlds, and displayed an increasing propensity over the course of his life to wrestle with local particularities (Anderson 2010, 1).25 Anderson writes: In the 1840s, he held to an implicitly unilinear perspective, sometimes tinged with ethnocentrism, according to which non-Western societies would necessarily be absorbed into capitalism and then modernized via colonialism and the world market. But over time, his perspective evolved toward one that was more multilinear, leaving the future development of these societies as an open question. (2010, 2) While critics are prone to cite Marx’s reference to “Oriental despotism” as absolute proof of his Eurocentric tendencies, it is thus important to consider how his thought evolved in a more pluralist direction over time (Tansel 2015). As Achcar has argued, “any comment on Marx’s attitude towards India that considers his 1853 articles alone, without exploring the whole history of his statements on India until his last writings, and builds on those articles in order to formulate a general judgment on his ‘Orientalist’ or ‘Eurocentric’ bias, is fundamentally flawed and unsound” (quoted in Kumar 2014). Further, Pradella (2015, 120) indicates that Marx saw capitalism as a globalized system, rooted in colonial exploitation and slavery, and in the early 1850s he changed his “previous unidirectional view of international revolution, tracing a relation between proletarian struggle in the metropolis and anticolonial movement in the colonies.” Revolts and revolutions in the colonies would deepen the inherent contradictions of capitalism, accelerating the outbreak of the proletarian revolution in Europe. Specifically, he argued that its demise would come from the interaction between non-European liberation movements and European proletariat revolutions, which he noted vis-à-vis the Taiping Revolution in China (Pradella 2015). Second, Marx’s analysis indeed appears (relatively) praiseworthy when juxtaposed with the standards of his time. Contrary to other classical thinkers such as John Locke, John Stuart Mill, or Edmund Burke, Marx never directly advocated imperial policies or actions. He had no investments in companies involved in exploiting British colonies, as did Locke (the Royal African Company) (Macpherson 1980, x) and Mill (East India Company) (Collini 1989, ix), nor did he lend ideological support to imperialism, as did Burke (O’Neill 2016). In fact, while liberal heroes such as Mill were arguing for “benevolent despotism” in Britain’s handling of the colonies, Marx’s 1853 writing on India “constitutes the first instance of a major European thinker supporting India’s independence” (Anderson 2010, 238). Again, whatever his biases and flaws, Marx hardly warrants being tarred with the same Eurocentric brush. If by Eurocentrism we mean a worldview that makes Europe the center of the globe, “then Marx of the India articles is not Eurocentric,” according to Jani (2002, 94). Marx was a product of the European Enlightenment, but also among its strongest critics. And he was keenly aware of how colonial exploitation benefited European capitalism, as he expressed in Capital (Marx 1976, 931), as well as the broader ills of imperialism. As he wrote concerning British rule in India, [t]he profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked … Did they not, in India, to borrow an expression of that great robber, Lord Clive himself, resort to atrocious extortion, when simple corruption could not keep pace with their rapacity? (Marx [1853b] 2007, 224) These are strange words for a supposedly Eurocentric, Orientalist thinker who is invested in “European normative exclusivity and supremacy.” Our position is thus in accord with the great Egyptian economist Amin (2009, 89), who acknowledges that Eurocentrism “is strong” among Western Marxists, some of whom have over the years adopted “pro-imperialist” positions. He further notes that Marxism “inherits a certain evolutionist perspective that prevents it from tearing down the Eurocentric veil of the bourgeois evolutionism against which it revolts” (Amin 2009, 156). Yet it is also the case that “the tools developed by Marxism have the potential capacity to surpass [these] contradictions,” for “Marxism was founded on an awareness of the historical limits of the culture of the Enlightenment in relation to its real social content: namely, the rationalization of the national, European, and global capitalist project” (Amin 2009, 190). Indeed, while Marxism—“vulgar” and otherwise—succumbed to the temptation to extrapolate from Europe to fashion a universal model, this occurred “despite Marx’s precautions,” for Marx himself “was careful about making hasty generalizations” about the non-European world (Amin 2009, 191; emphasis added). Thus, we must “go beyond the construct proposed by Marx” but without “throwing the baby out with the bath water” or abandoning “universalism” entirely (Amin 2009, 156, 190). Marxist Engagements from the Non-European World In fact, “many [twentieth-century] movements for independence and national development in the colonial and Third Worlds drew,” and still draw, “their political inspiration from Marxism” (Matin 2011, 5). As Acharya and Buzan observe, … it is not difficult in parts of East Asia to find Marxists who interpret Marx’s opposition to liberalism (capitalism) as placing him outside the West. The idea that a thinker so deeply embedded in Western philosophy and sociology as Marx could be seen as non-Western comes as a big surprise to Westerners who encounter it. (2010, 238) This should not “surprise” us. It is indeed notable that while Marx has so often been dismissed in the West as crudely universalist and Eurocentric, countless non-European thinkers, leaders, and activists have found inspiration in Marx (Aguilar 1978; Bartolovich and Lazarus 2002; Prashad 2016). The best and brightest have not been passive readers of Marx or sought to slavishly apply his ideas and concepts to their circumstances (which Marx himself would also not have wanted). Rather, they have adopted certain parts of the Marxist tradition while modifying or discarding others, just as we would expect of any thinker who is seeking to reconcile insights derived from one set of surroundings with their own, local realities. Here, we briefly examine two such thinkers: Amílcar Cabral and José Carlos Mariátegui. Cabral, the great anticolonial leader of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, in his “Brief Analysis of the Social Structure in Guinea” (1974), nicely embodies this balancing act. Here, he engages in a nuanced analysis of agrarian Guinea’s class dynamics, noting that while there are indeed “wage-earners,” he is “careful not to call these groups the proletariat or working class ” (1974). He observes the existence of another group for whom “we have not yet found the exact term,” and in general notes that he is “not trying to stretch alien concepts” (1974). Cabral comments: “we looked for the working class in Guinea and did not find it,” though they were able to discover “our little proletariat,” particularly among boat- and dockworkers (1974). While it may be “absurd” to consider that there could be “a working class mentality” without “the material conditions of the working class,” which Guinea plainly did not have, Cabral mentions that “in fact we managed to inculcate these ideas into a large number of people” (1974). Crucially, local conditions and particularities are fundamental to his analysis. While Marx had (in)famously argued that precapitalist societies had no history (Avineri 1969, 10–13), per his progressive, modernist view that “history” only began after feudalism had been swept away, Cabral (1974) asserts the opposite: There is a preconception held by many people, even on the left, that imperialism made us enter history at the moment when it began its adventure in our countries. This preconception must be denounced: for somebody on the left, and for Marxists in particular, history obviously means the class struggle. Our opinion is exactly the contrary. We consider that when imperialism arrived in Guinea it made us leave history—our history. We agree that history in our country is the result of class struggle, but we have our own class struggles in our own country. The immediate task facing Guinea, then, is not a European-style class struggle, but the struggle for “national liberation,” for which “unity of all the social strata is a prerequisite for success” (Cabral 1974). In this monumental task, the “African petty bourgeoisie” must be the ones to “tak[e] control of the state apparatus when the colonial power is destroyed,” since only they “have learned how to manipulate [it]” (Cabral 1974). He—we—cannot mechanically apply Marx to Guinea because “[t]he working class hardly exists as a defined class; it is just an embryo” (Cabral 1974). Further, “[t]here is no economically viable bourgeoisie because imperialism prevented it being created” (Cabral 1974). What we find here are both engagement with and significant departures from Marx’s thought—especially in regard to materialism/idealism (and the creation of working-class consciousness), class dynamics and nomenclature, and the notions of the stages of history, or even history itself. Cabral observes: “you must connect all these things up with the history and conditions of Africa” (1974).26 As we have argued, and contrary to conventional readings, (later) Marx would presumably have agreed with at least the spirit of this endeavor. A second example can be found in José Carlos Mariátegui, a Peruvian agitator and writer from the early twentieth century who dedicated his short life to political struggle and the development of Marxist thought vis-à-vis the Latin American context and who is said to be responsible for “the most interesting and insightful Marxist writings on Latin America” (La Botz 2012). As the editors of a recent anthology of his writings note, Mariátegui “energetically and actively engaged with European thought, working out new methods to analyze the problems of non-Western societies like his own,” and “develop[ed] a creative Marxist analysis that was oriented toward the specific historical reality of Peru and Latin America in the 1920s” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 13).27 Particularly notable were Mariátegui’s elaboration of an “open,” “non-sectarian,” and anti-Stalinist Marxism, his focus on the role of “subjective elements” such as “political education,” and his argument that rural peasants and indigenous peoples—often seen, at least in the former case, as forming a “reactionary class” in orthodox Marxist analysis—had revolutionary potential (Vanden and Becker 2011, 13). In other words, he argued that even a largely preindustrial, feudal society such as Peru was potentially ripe for socialist revolution. He thus analyzed “the problem of the Indian from a socialist point of view,” which led him to focus on “their right to land” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 69). Though feudalism persisted in Peru, and there was no “true capitalist class” to bring about its “liquidation,” Mariátegui argued that Peru should avoid “the liberal solution,” which would entail “breaking up the large landholdings to create small properties” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 70). Instead, “our agrarian problem has a fundamental indisputable and concrete factor that gives it a special character” and suggests a different path forward: “the survival of the community and elements of practical socialism in Indigenous agriculture and life” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 71). This Inca or agrarian socialism thus provided a basis for “collective management of agriculture” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 239). Yet it is not a fundamental upending of Marx’s story, warts and all. As he writes in his elaboration of the “Programmatic Principles of the Socialist Party” of Peru, [b]ut this, like the stimulation that freely provides for the resurgence of Indigenous peoples, the creative manifestation of its forces and native spirit, does not mean at all a romantic and antihistorical trend of reconstructing or resurrecting Inca socialism, which corresponded to historical conditions completely bypassed, and which remains only as a favorable factor in a perfectly scientific production technique, that is, the habits of cooperation and socialism of Indigenous peasants. Socialism presupposes the technique, the science, the capitalist stage. It cannot permit any setback in the realization of the achievements of modern civilization, but on the contrary it must methodically accelerate the incorporation of these achievements into national life. (Vanden and Becker 2011, 239) Whatever one makes of Mariátegui’s conceptualization of Inca socialism, his theory of history, or his reference to “modern civilization,” this represents an honest effort to bring a Marxist and socialist analysis to the level of Peruvian reality. The larger point is that these and many other Third-World thinkers have used Marx as a lens to shed light on their own circumstances and relations, adopting certain concepts, theories, and ideas while dropping or modifying others. It is indeed natural, considering Marx’s position regarding colonialism, for non-European thinkers fighting colonialism to engage with Marx. In the process, they have contributed greatly to the richness, vibrancy, and heterogeneity of the Marxist tradition (Bartolovich 2002, 3). They argue alongside of but also with Marx, but do not immediately cast him aside as a Eurocentric thinker. In this regard, one may also consider current engagement with Marx by Kurdish rebels and Latin American student activists. It is indeed unfortunate that so many political scientists (and others) not only tend to overlook such instances of fruitful cross-pollination between Marxist theory and non-European realities, but also largely neglect to engage in more of the same. Per Avineri’s (1968, 31) prognosis from almost half a century prior, “[t]he irony of history may thus make Marx into a respectable, even fashionable, subject for academic discourse in a relatively affluent and bourgeois West, while in the non-European world an ideology relating itself to Marxism, yet overlooking most of what he said about the non-European world, may be politically triumphant.” Though perhaps overly sanguine concerning Marx’s staying power in the “bourgeois West,” let alone Marxism’s triumph elsewhere, he was correct to perceive the magnitude of Marx’s influence in the non-European world. Marx may have been a creature of Europe, but the legacy of his ideas “belong” as much to the non-European world as to anyone (Bartolovich 2002, 10). Conclusion This article has sought to answer two basic questions: Is Marx seriously read in IR and CP? And if not, why? Based on analysis of a newly compiled database of graduate syllabi from introductory courses in these subfields from the top-ranked US departments, the answer to the first question is an almost absolute “no.” Whereas Marx used to be standard fare even in undergraduate courses (D’Anieri 2014, 100), it is now exceedingly rare for Marx—or any Marxist author, even broadly defined—to be assigned. As we have seen, such writings do not even appear when the thematic areas under consideration—such as “social class”—surely require engaging with Marx’s thought. While further analysis is required to assess the extent to which Marx is read in other subfields or disciplines, or within non-US political science programs, the trend we have identified at the heights of the IR and CP US-based mainstream could not be clearer. Among the reasons for Marx’s near-total absence, we focus on the critique—common to many mainstream and especially critical scholars—that Marx is an irredeemably Eurocentric thinker who has little to say to the non-European world.28 While Marx was a product of Europe who was invested in the notion of universal theory and conceptualizing capitalism at the systemic level, he also “strove to avoid formalistic and abstract universals,” as evidenced by his repeated attempts “to work out the specific ways in which the universalizing powers of capital and class were manifesting themselves in particular societies or social groups” (Anderson 2010, 244). As Avineri notes, Marx’s writings on Asia, though far from flattering to anyone who has cherished a romantic image of pristine Oriental purity reigning supreme before the advent of the Western barbarians, abound with criticisms of European hypocrisy in Asia, its double standards, and the wanton cruelty implicit in the introduction of Western commerce in Asian society. (1969, 24) Accordingly, we should be highly suspicious of efforts to tar Marx with the Eurocentric brush. In turn, as we explore through briefly analyzing the thought of Cabral and Mariátegui, there is a long tradition of non-European thinkers who have thoughtfully engaged with Marx. Rather than serving as mere conveyor belts for Marx’s ideas, or rejecting him as a modernist and universalist product of the European Enlightenment, they have instead read Marx and adapted him to their local realities, thus generating new practical and theoretical insights. As Tucker (1978, ix) correctly points out, “[n]o other intellectual has so powerfully shaped the mind of modern left-wing radicalism in most parts of the world.” It is of course highly ironic that it has become so fashionable for Western academics to dismiss Marx as Eurocentric even as so many non-European thinkers on the ground have sought to claim him as one of their own. Yet while this and other intellectual challenges to Marx are frequently invoked, we argue that a key factor motivating the rejection of Marx is instead political. It is the discipline’s embrace of the ideologies of the end of history—accompanied by what Eagleton (2011, 6) refers to as “a creeping sense of political impotence”—and value-free scientific “neutrality.” In other words, Marx has become a haunting specter for contemporary, US political science precisely because he challenges both the discipline’s attachment to the liberal-capitalist order and its detachment from open political engagement. What, then, should be the place of Marx in our discipline? In light of recent economic crises, increasing inequality, and frequent challenges to the neoliberal model, there is much to gain from engaging with Marx. The point, again, is not to thoughtlessly reproduce his arguments or overlook his flaws (Callinicos 1996), but to actually read one of history’s most important thinkers so that we may glean and generate insights that will advance our understanding of the social world, as well as our ability to act in it. As Eagleton notes, [t]he Communist Manifesto has been described as … the single most influential text written in the nineteenth century. Very few thinkers, as opposed to statesmen, scientists, soldiers, religious figures, and the like, have changed the course of actual history as decisively as its author. There are no Cartesian governments, Platonist guerrilla fighters, or Hegelian trade unions. Not even Marx’s most implacable critics would deny that he transformed our understanding of human history. (2011, x) Whatever our normative or intellectual positions, it is thus incumbent upon us to grapple with his contributions. Unfortunately, at present, it appears that most political scientists are willing to do anything to and with Marx—from downplaying his importance, to producing and reproducing blatant mischaracterizations of his arguments, and ignoring him entirely. Except to read him. Footnotes 1 The extent to which the same is true outside of the United States is beyond the scope of the current analysis. However, there is prima facie evidence to suggest that engagement with Marx is indeed more common in at least certain other countries. For example, in commenting on the “transatlantic divide” between United States and British international political economy, Cohen (2007, 213) identifies in the latter “a more relaxed attitude toward Marxism or other leftist doctrines, which reinforced a critical disposition toward markets and their consequences.” 2 We utilize the US News and World Report ranking, available at: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-political-science-schools&specialty=&name=&zip=&program_rank=top_10&sort=&sortdir. The top ten US political science graduate programs are: (1) Harvard University; (2-tie) Princeton University; Stanford University; (4-tie) University of Michigan; Yale University; (6) University of California, Berkeley; (7) Columbia University; (8-tie) Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of California, San Diego; (10-tie) Duke University; University of California, Los Angeles. 3 Three of the syllabi correspond to the 2014–2015 academic year. However, we were informed by the instructors that they would be using the same syllabi for the 2015–2016 academic year. 4 We are aware that the status of Marx may be different outside of the United States, as well as in other disciplines, or in colleges and universities with a teaching as opposed to research focus. Such comparisons provide an interesting basis for future research. 5 To assess the disproportionate influence of top-ten programs, we divided the remainder of the top fifty into four groups (11–20, 21–30, 31–40, 41–50) and randomly chose three institutions from each range. They are: University of Chicago (ranked #12, with 78.9% of tenurable and tenured faculty from top-ten programs); New York University ($15 [tied], 63.8%); University of Wisconsin-Madison (#15 [tied], 51.5%); Northwestern University (#21 [tied], 81.4%); University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (#23 [tied], 52%); University of Washington (#28 [tied], 51.9%); Rice University (#32 [tied], 25%); University of Virginia (#36 [tied], 67.4%); University of Notre Dame (#36 [tied]; 66.7%); University of Colorado Boulder (#45 [tied], 35.7%); Rutgers University-New Brunswick (#45 [tied], 57.1%); and Brown University (#45 [tied], 81.5%). While there is fairly wide variation in this sample, notably it does not appear to correlate to any significant degree to the program’s position within the top fifty. 6 There are twelve IR syllabi (instead of ten) because at Stanford the introductory course was taught twice in the past academic year, while Yale has a sequence of two introductory courses. University California–San Diego does the same in CP; however, as we were unable to obtain one of these syllabi, only ten entered into our analysis. 7 Given that Marx considered dialectics to be his main methodological approach, which he developed in Capital, this would be a more fitting text than the 18th Brumaire to present Marx’s methodology, if that were the intention. 8 It is worth noting that we sought to give the benefit of the doubt to the courses under examination by being generous in our inclusion of texts. 9 Examples in this category include: Esping-Andersen (1990), Cardoso and Faletto (1979), Wallerstein (1974), and Polanyi (1944). 10 Further examples include: Evans (1979), Rueschemeyer, Huber, and Stephens (1992), Ashley (1984), and Wallerstein (1986). 11 The instructors assigned Eidlin (2014), which reviews the evolution of class identity, as understood by Marx and Weber, from a central and clear analytical concept to a more complex and nuanced one, as well as the decline of class-based politics. They also assigned Roberts (2002), which analyzes the decline of class cleavages in Latin America despite social inequalities. While Marx lingers in the background of these articles, the absence of writings by Marx himself or those of more Marxist-inclined authors is nevertheless problematic. The instructors also assigned Marshall and Bottomore (1992). 12 This increase does not seem to be significant vis-à-vis the overall perception that Marx is virtually absent from IR. Nonetheless, further research may show that Marx is increasingly being read in certain areas within political science, perhaps as an attempt to grapple with the global economic crisis and its ongoing effects. 13 As would-be supporting evidence, Walt (1998, 34) observes that “[t]he extensive history of economic and military cooperation among the advanced industrial powers showed that capitalism did not inevitably lead to conflict. The bitter schisms that divided the communist world showed that socialism did not always promote harmony.” Among the errors of analysis and interpretation contained in these pithy lines, it is especially fitting to note that Marxist theory of course does not preclude intercapitalist cooperation (as repeatedly argued by Karl Kautsky and others). Further, as discussed below, it is highly troubling to blindly associate Marx and Marxism with the self-proclaimed socialism of Cold War–era authoritarian regimes. We would like to thank one of the reviewers for directing our attention toward this source and quote. 14 As a corollary to our analysis, we also examined the frequency with which texts in social and political theory are assigned in the aforementioned courses. Weber is required four times (0.3%) and suggested four times (0.2%) in four different syllabi. Other classic theorists, such as Durkheim, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Hume, Aristotle, de Tocqueville, Popper, Kuhn, and Lakatos are required in seven instances (0.5%) and suggested in fifteen (0.9%). On the one hand, it appears that social and political theory in general are under attack; yet, our contention is that the abandonment of Marx responds to specific ideological perspectives and is even more critical than these other cases given that the syllabi we have reviewed specifically address capitalism, globalization, and class, all issues about which Marx was a foundational thinker. 15 Here, one may be tempted to point to the rise of constructivism in IR in particular as countering the notion that there is a sustained attack in political science on all forms of anti/non/post-positivist research. Yet the version of constructivism that has become a leading IR paradigm is precisely the “thin” form that is far more amenable to value-free, positivist norms (Wendt 1999). We thank one of the reviewers for pushing us to develop our thoughts on this matter. 16 In the present context, we understand Eurocentrism as the intellectual tendency to downplay, dismiss, and ignore concerns, ideas, and thinkers from beyond the European world and its offshoots. Eurocentrism also embodies the tendency to regard as exceptional and universalize based on the European experience while denying the validity of other ways of thinking, acting, or knowing. 17 Notably, this is reminiscent of Wolff’s (2003) conclusion in Why Read Marx Today?: “Marx’s grandest theories are not substantiated. But he is not to be abandoned”—for he “remains the most profound and acute critic of capitalism, even as it exists today” (Wolff 2003, 125–26). Again, whether or not Marx was right, there is little intellectual justification for perpetuating obliviousness to his work. 18 There are exceptions. In the magisterial Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction, Young (2001, 6–7) argues—rightly or wrongly—that postcolonialism “operates within the historical legacy of Marxist critique” and “incorporates a Marxism developed outside, and generally neglected in the west, a flexible Marxism responsive to local conditions in” Latin America, Asia, and Africa. In his nuanced estimation, “Marx’s specific writings on colonialism … are productive if problematic” (Young 2001, 105). 19 Anderson criticizes Said for basing many of his complaints against Marx on Marx’s use of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan poems. In his article on “British Rule in India,” Marx quoted the following stanza: Should this torture then torment us Since it brings us greater pleasure? Were not through the rule of Timur Souls devoured without measure? For his part, Anderson posits that there is evidence that Marx is using the poem to characterize the British colonialist perspective rather than his own (Anderson 2010, 17). 20 As Bartolovich (2002, 1) observes, “[t]he neglect (even ignorance) of Marxism in postcolonial studies has often been countered by the reflexive dismissal of the entire field of postcolonial studies by Marxist writers.” 21 The British bourgeoisie and political leadership expected the workers to protest the North’s embargo against the South and southern cotton in particular. This had a detrimental effect on the British economy and indeed directly affected British labor; however, the workers stood firm in their antislavery position. 22 Taylor (2016) also argues that capitalism has used racism to justify plunder, conquest, and slavery, as well as to generate divisions inside the working class and allow the bourgeoisie to impede the formation of a broader multiracial working-class coalition. 23 Anderson (2010) further shows how Marx and Engels used the oppressive situation of Irish peasants and workers as an example of capitalist social relations and the repressive nature of the British government. 24 Ahmad (2015, 203) indicates that Marx’s attack on the “obnoxious cruelties of the Brahminical caste system” was very much welcome, and “no Indian Marxist … has ever taken offense at the abusive language Marx used about the caste system.” 25 Pradella sustains that “Marx’s investigation into precapitalist societies … was not due to his journalistic activity but responded to a noncontingent interest, present from the beginning of his elaboration of historical materialism” (2015, 170). 26 Notably, “Cabral did not proclaim himself a Marxist nor adhere to rigid and orthodox formulations.” Yet, “he was faithful both to the Marxist method and to the proposition that good theory not only may be based on the ideas of others but also must be subject to concrete and historical conditions of real experiences that test theory” (Chilcote 1991, 20). 27 On Marx and Marxism in Latin America, see Liss (1984) and Löwy (1992). 28 For examples of such assertions in mainstream political science, see the above section, “The Construction of a Eurocentric Marx.” Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their especially helpful and thoughtful comments, along with Estefanía Martínez and Jany Méndez for their (unremunerated) research assistance. 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The Great Transformation . New York: Farrar & Rinehart. Pradella Lucia. 2015. Globalisation and the Critique of Political Economy: New Insights from Marx’s Writings . New York: Routledge. Prashad Vijay, ed. 2016. Communist Histories, Volume 1.  New Delhi: LeftWord Books. Roberts Kenneth M. 2002. “ Social Inequalities without Class Cleavages in Latin America’s Neoliberal Era.” Studies in Comparative International Development  36 ( 4): 3– 33. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Rueschemeyer Dietrich, Huber Evelyn Stephens, Stephens John D. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Said Edward W. 1978. Orientalism.  New York: Pantheon Books. Saurin Julian. 2006. “ International Relations as the Imperial Illusion; or, the Need to Decolonize IR.” In Decolonizing International Relations , edited by Jones Branwen Gruffydd, 23– 42. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 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Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Wolff Jonathan. 2003. Why Read Marx Today ? New York: Oxford University Press. Wood Ellen Meiksins. 1997. “ Back to Marx.” Monthly Review  49 ( 2). Accessed December 29, 2016. http://monthlyreview.org/1997/06/01/back-to-marx/. Young Robert J. C. 2001. Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction . Malden, MA: Blackwell. © The Author (2017). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Studies Perspectives Oxford University Press

The Specter That Haunts Political Science: The Neglect and Misreading of Marx in International Relations and Comparative Politics

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Abstract

Abstract We compiled an original database of syllabi for introductory, graduate courses from top-ranked US departments to assess the extent to which elite international relations and comparative politics scholars engage with Marx. Analysis of those syllabi overwhelmingly demonstrates that even superficial engagement with Marx or the Marxist tradition is exceedingly rare. We argue that the reasons behind this near-total absence are more political than intellectual and include the embrace of the defeatist, neoliberal logic of the “end of history.” While mainstream disengagement from Marx is perhaps unsurprising, many “critical” political scientists also ignore and/or misread Marx, often because of his purported Eurocentrism. Though Marx’s writings at times evince ethnocentric biases, Marx engaged in extensive efforts to grapple with the specificity of the non-European world. Further, these critics fail to account for how thinkers around the globe have found value in and made theoretical contributions to the universalist Marxist story. We analyze two such cases: the African anticolonial leader Amílcar Cabral and the Peruvian Marxist theorist and activist José Carlos Mariátegui. We argue that this superficial engagement, misreading, and sometimes the outright ignoring of Marx hinders the discipline’s ability to address important real-world problems or theoretical debates, let alone make political science matter. Marx, Marxism, graduate education, postcolonialism, intersectionality Given his status as one of history’s most influential thinkers, one would expect that Karl Marx, along with Marxist thought in general, would garner significant attention within political science. Yet with the partial exception of political theorists (Sculos and Walsh 2015), relatively few US political scientists seriously engage with his work. Many ignore him entirely. To assess the extent to which this lack of engagement with Marx is reflected in how political science is taught and reproduced, we have compiled an original database of syllabi for introductory, graduate courses in international relations (IR) and comparative politics (CP) from the top-ranked departments in the United States. Analysis of these syllabi provides overwhelming support for the assertion that substantive—or even superficial—engagement with Marx or the Marxist tradition is exceedingly rare within these subfields’ mainstreams.1 As we argue, Marx’s near-total absence from elite, graduate education in these subfields is due to factors that are simultaneously intellectual and political. These include: a refusal to analytically separate Marxism from the (failed) Soviet Union; the rise of quantitative, hypothesis-testing research and the concomitant decline of social or grand theory (Oren 2016); an ideological commitment to scientific “objectivity” and “neutrality,” with a corresponding aversion to scholarship that advances a political agenda that challenges the status quo; and the embrace of the defeatist, neoliberal logic of the “end of history.” In other words, while there are certainly academic motives behind mainstream political science’s disregard for Marx, the discipline is also clearly haunted by the ideological specter of Marx and Marxism (Callinicos 1996, 10). While mainstream disengagement from Marx is perhaps unsurprising, the failure to seriously engage with Marx or the Marxist tradition is in fact much more widespread. Indeed, both mainstream and many self-avowedly critical political scientists ignore and/or misread Marx. Accordingly, we extend our analysis by examining the argument, common to many mainstream and especially postcolonial thinkers, that Marx was a Eurocentric theorist whose writings are of little to no use to efforts that analyze the non-European world or associated questions relating to race and other axes of identity. Though Marx’s writings are at times infused with ethnocentric biases, such strident accusations of Eurocentrism overlook his analysis of the “intersections” between race, class, gender, and national identity, as well as his attempts to grapple with the specificity of the non-European world. Crucially, in turn, these critics fail to account for how thinkers and movements around the globe have found value in and made theoretical contributions to the universalist Marxist story. Here, we briefly analyze two such cases: the African anticolonial leader Amílcar Cabral and the Peruvian Marxist theorist and activist José Carlos Mariátegui. As their efforts demonstrate, reading Marx vis-à-vis the colonial world produced both theoretical development and modification within the Marxist tradition as well as important insights that were instrumental in national liberation struggles. Overall, we argue that this superficial engagement, misreading, and—in some cases—outright ignoring of Marx hinders political science’s ability to address important real-world problems or theoretical debates, let alone make the discipline matter. Ignorance is Not Bliss: Why We Need Marx Before analyzing the extent to which and reasons why Marx is largely ignored and/or misread in political science, we must first engage in the straightforward—if rather curious—task of explaining why this is a problem that needs to be addressed. It is a straightforward endeavor because all we wish to establish is that Marx’s thought is worthy of sustained engagement (and not that he was necessarily “right”). And it is curious because one does not expect to have to justify the importance of reading one of history’s most influential and cited authors. Yet based on the observed tendency to caricaturize and/or ignore Marx, circumstances obligate us to make the case for Marx’s continuing relevance. Why Marx Was Right—Or, at Least Worth Paying Attention To Sure, Marx was an important political thinker who wrestled with capitalist modernization and its discontents, but really, who cares? From Adam Smith (Hoffman 2013) to Edmund Burke (O’Neill 2016), social scientists often engage in misguided readings of classic thinkers. Why should we be particularly troubled by the tendency to misread Marx, or even ignore him entirely? Our initial response is, again, straightforward. As Tucker (1978, ix) notes in the preface to the widely used The Marx-Engels Reader, “A knowledge of the writings of Marx and Engels is virtually indispensable to an educated person in our time, whatever his political position or social philosophy.” Indeed, their thought “has profoundly affected ideas about history, society, economics, ideology, culture, and politics,” as well as “the nature of social inquiry itself” (ibid.). Here, one might add that Marx is of course part of the triumvirate of essential classic social theorists, along with Max Weber and Émile Durkheim. Tucker (ibid.) continues: “Not to be well grounded in the writings of Marx and Engels is to be insufficiently attuned to modern thought,” and also to be “self-excluded” from the debates that define “most contemporary societies” as well as those that have shaped the trajectories of the aforementioned disciplines. A political scientist who largely overlooks Marx is akin to a specialist in English literature with only passing knowledge of Shakespeare. Accordingly, rather than having to defend the proposition that Marx is worthy of close reading, it should be the turn of those who caricaturize and studiously ignore Marx to justify their own lack of thorough engagement with a thinker who has done more than nearly any other to influence both our social world and how it is studied. Yet there is also a more sophisticated response: that Marx, far from fading into irrelevance, is especially relevant for our current times. Various reasons make this so. First, his analysis—though of course not without its flaws—was remarkably prescient. For example, long before “globalization” became an inescapable buzzword, Marx had already encapsulated the core of at least the economic aspects of this fuzzy concept by observing that “[t]he need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere” (Marx and Engels [1888] 1978, 476). Given that we live in hypercapitalist times in which nearly everything is seemingly being marketized, capitalist globalization is creating an increasingly global system defined by “time-space compression” (Harvey 1990), and extreme market fundamentalism—neoliberalism—has become orthodoxy, Marx’s analysis seems more relevant than ever. As Eagleton (2011, 2) puts it, “as long as capitalism is still in business, Marxism must be as well.” Capitalism’s global triumph—the so-called end of history and the fact that capitalist logic “has penetrated just about every aspect of human life and nature itself” (Wood 1997)—should thus make us more attuned to Marx, not less. In turn, along with capitalism’s global spread, so too have we borne witness to global crises (such as the 2008 global financial meltdown), increased global inequality and the oppositional movements it has spurred (including Occupy Wall Street and the Bernie Sanders campaign in the United States), and globalized repression in the name of capital accumulation (ranging from dispossession of the indigenous Mapuche by loggers in southern Chile to violence against union leaders and striking workers the world over). As Eagleton (2011, 8–9) again observes, such issues are precisely the ones “on which Marxism has acted and reflected for almost two centuries. One would expect, then, that it might have a few lessons to teach the present.” Whatever one makes of Marx’s normative positions concerning how to overcome these maladies, we are at least obligated to engage with his critique. Second, many of the objections launched against Marx are simply wrong. As we explore below, while Marx is typically rejected by postcolonial and other thinkers for his supposedly crude universalism and corresponding inability as a Eurocentric theoretician to conceptualize uniquely Global South/Third World realities, Marx indeed has long been a source of inspiration for myriad thinkers and movements all across the globe. From the Chilean student movement of the past decade to anti-austerity protests in Greece that began in earnest in 2010, our understanding of today’s mass mobilizations would be much richer if we were to understand and grapple with Marx’s complex and nuanced critique of the capitalist system. Further, while we are said to live in intersectional times that should lead us to dismiss Marx and his entire brand of class reductionism, this critique is based on, at best, a partial reading of Marx. As Anderson (2015) argues, while Marx of course did not address all of today’s issues, he did understand that “race, class, and gender were concrete categories that intersected in various ways—and sometimes coalesced in a revolutionary fashion—across the historical modes of production that he analyzed.” For example, “for Marx, uprooting slavery and racism in America was not only a political question of constitutional amendments and civil rights bills, but also one that concerned the economic structures of society” (Anderson 2015). In times defined by racialized police violence, mass incarceration, and inequality, Marx thus clearly remains a worthy interlocutor. One may of course reasonably disagree with various aspects of Marx’s political program, normative commitments, or social analysis. Yet what is not intellectually justifiable in our attempts to grapple with contemporary politics, as we argue below, is to neglect to engage with his thought. Such a lack of engagement, as we demonstrate, is based more on neoliberal ideological commitments than on a scientific desire to understand the world around us. Haunting the Haunted: The (Dis)Engagement of Political Science with, or from, Marx To analyze Marx’s place in today’s political science landscape, we have sought to discover what graduate students in top ten US political science programs read in introductory courses in IR and CP.2 For consistency’s sake, we focus on courses taught during the 2015–2016 academic year.3 We chose to focus on top ten programs as they are representative of and play a disproportionate role in shaping the discipline’s “mainstream,” both in the United States and around the world.4 Indeed, there is little reason to expect substantial variation in non-top-ten Ph.D.-granting institutions (Colgan 2016), given that—as our random sample demonstrates—just more than 62 percent of tenurable or tenured faculty in the top fifty departments graduated from these very same top-ten programs.5 We collected twenty-two such syllabi: ten for introductory CP courses, and twelve for IR.6 We counted the total numbers of required and recommended readings and how often Marx’s writings appear in either category. We then counted how many works written by Marx were required or suggested in these courses. The results appear in Tables 1 and 2. Table 1 Syllabi requiring or recommending Marx’s writing   Total syllabi  # Syllabi with Marx required  # Syllabi with Marx recommended  CP  10  1  1  IR  12  0  0  Total  22  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  4.55%  4.55%    Total syllabi  # Syllabi with Marx required  # Syllabi with Marx recommended  CP  10  1  1  IR  12  0  0  Total  22  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  4.55%  4.55%  View Large Table 2 Total required or recommended readings of Marx   Total # required readings  Total # recommended readings  Total # required readings of Marx  Total # suggested readings of Marx  CP  664  1036  1  1  IR  826  724  0  0  Total  1490  1760  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.07%  0.06%    Total # required readings  Total # recommended readings  Total # required readings of Marx  Total # suggested readings of Marx  CP  664  1036  1  1  IR  826  724  0  0  Total  1490  1760  1  1  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.07%  0.06%  View Large Marx is almost completely absent from both tables. Only in the CP course at MIT was one of Marx’s texts required (The Communist Manifesto). In a corresponding course at Harvard, it was recommended that students read the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte in the week dedicated to research methodologies.7 We then counted how many Marxist or Marxist-inspired authors/texts were assigned as required or suggested readings. To be included, we determined that the text must fulfill at least one of the following three criteria:8 The author self-identifies as Marxist or following the Marxist tradition (for instance, Lenin). The author uses a Marxist framework of analysis and/or advocates for a Marxist political project. The former refers to the presumption that the socioeconomic structure and class struggle are the fundamental (though not the only) factors explaining the phenomenon under investigation. Internationally, this means that capitalist expansion and capital accumulation, with their concomitant uneven development, are the core elements that explain international political phenomena (for example, as delineated by dependency theory).9 The author acknowledges the Marxist tradition with its limitations and attempts to complement it by incorporating other elements not thoroughly considered by Marx without abandoning the centrality of the socioeconomic structure and class relations. A prime example is Anderson’s (1991)Imagined Communities.10 Our results appear in Table 3. Table 3 Syllabi requiring or recommending Marxist readings   Total syllabi  Syllabi with required readings  Syllabi with recommended readings  Comparative politics  10  6  3  International relations  12  1  3  Total  22  7  6  Percentage  100.00%  31.82%  27.27%    Total syllabi  Syllabi with required readings  Syllabi with recommended readings  Comparative politics  10  6  3  International relations  12  1  3  Total  22  7  6  Percentage  100.00%  31.82%  27.27%  View Large From the perspective that Marx deserves to be read, the above numbers are more promising. However, when the amount of Marxist readings is compared to total readings (see Table 4), the data again highlight Marx’s absence. Table 4 Total Marxist required or recommended readings   Total required readings  Total recommended readings  Total required Marxist readings  Total recommended Marxist readings  Comparative politics  664  1036  13  14  International relations  826  724  1  3  Total  1490  1760  14  17  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.94%  0.97%    Total required readings  Total recommended readings  Total required Marxist readings  Total recommended Marxist readings  Comparative politics  664  1036  13  14  International relations  826  724  1  3  Total  1490  1760  14  17  Percentage  100.00%  100.00%  0.94%  0.97%  View Large These data appear to suggest that the discipline’s leading lights believe Marx has very little to say to their subfields. This absence becomes even more glaring given that many of these introductory IR courses dedicate a significant amount of time to the study of international political economy. Yet not even these syllabi assign a single text by Marx, despite the fact that he produced some of history’s most important analyses of the international political-economic system. In some cases, Marx’s absence is also particularly puzzling. For example, an introductory CP course at University California–Berkeley dedicates an entire week to the study of class without a single writing by Marx.11 Similarly, even though many of these IR and CP syllabi include a substantial focus on structural forces, Marx and Marxist authors are not read in these sessions. Where on the one hand, as we argue here, Marx is often (somewhat unfairly) criticized by mainstream scholars for giving too much explanatory force to economic structures; on the other hand, when students in elite graduate programs study the influence of structures, economic and otherwise, they seemingly do so without sustained engagement with the Marxist tradition. Further, this contradiction passes without comment in the discipline. Instructors assign readings covering topics such as poverty and prosperity, revolutions and regime change, political structures, and the balance between structure and agency without including Marx or even tenuously Marxist authors. For example, Harvard’s introductory IR course features two weeks dedicated to structural explanations. Yet no readings by Marx or Marxist authors are assigned for these sessions, save for the partial exception of Ashley (1984), which is a suggested (but not required) reading and engages with Marx without adopting a Marxist position per se. The data also reinforce the conclusions of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project, which finds that Marxism has lost substantial ground as an IR paradigm since the 1980s and is being taught less and less in this subfield, particularly in the United States (Maliniak etal. 2011). Concomitantly, Katzenstein, Keohane, and Krasner (1998) have shown that constructivism has replaced Marxism as the principal challenger to realism and liberalism. According to the TRIP Project, the perception of Marxism as being read in the discipline has dropped systematically and significantly since the 1990s. In fact, “[i]n 2008, IR scholars thought that Marxism was less prominent than either feminism or the English School” (Maliniak etal. 2011, 444). Analyzing the time devoted to each paradigm in introductory IR classes from 2004 to 2008, the TRIP data show a decline in Marxism from 14 percent in 2004 to 7 percent in 2006 and then an increase to 10 percent in 2008.12 This is half the time dedicated to realism or liberalism and 7 percent less than the time dedicated to nonparadigmatic readings. Further, these data reveal that Marxist articles are the least published type of articles in the field. Interestingly, paradigmatic articles are cited more than nonparadigmatic articles, with the exception of articles that adopt a Marxist approach; these are cited less than nonparadigmatic ones. In the TRIP survey, participants were asked to choose the most prominent IR scholars. Not a single scholar named by US respondents identifies with Marxism. Given the preceding, it is no surprise that Maliniak etal. (2011, 450) conclude that, “Marxist theory has all but disappeared.” Based on our own analysis and the data collected by the TRIP Project, we observe two important trends. First, Marxism has suffered a huge decline in elite US graduate training in these fields, to the point of being almost completely abandoned. Second, Marx and Marxists are so infrequently read or assigned that there is a real risk that graduate students are being trained to respond to (if not reject) a caricaturized version of Marx and Marxism without having ever seriously engaged with either. So, Why Has Marx Been Abandoned? In 1999, Gamble argued that Marxism was widely perceived by academics to be in a terminal crisis. While for most of the twentieth century a critical engagement with Marx and Marxism was an essential part of social science, Gamble (1999, 1) indicated that “a new generation of social scientists is growing up, which has little or no contact with Marxist ideas and Marxist methods of analysis.” To its dishonor, political science appears to have been precocious in its abandonment of Marx and Marxism. As leading realist IR scholar Walt (1998, 34) comments, Marxist theories of international politics “were largely discredited before the Cold War even ended” and “succumbed to [their] various failings.”13 In contrast, we suggest that this abandonment of Marxism in US CP and IR was largely not the product of Marxism’s intellectual “failings,” but rather can be attributed to: the (troubling) association of Marxism with and the fall of the Soviet Union, an adherence to the end of history ideology with its acceptance of capitalism and liberalism as the only game in town, the desire to avoid a modern 1968-style college uprising, and the triumph of the ideology of so-called scientific neutrality. We will briefly consider these in turn. Although the characterization of the Soviet Union as Marxist was endlessly rejected by many Marxists, and although its tenets and policies resonated in only the most superficial of ways with Marx’s ideas, the Soviet Union’s fall provided a useful opportunity for Marx’s detractors who promoted the idea that Marx and Marxism were also withering away. It was, in other words, “guilt by association” (Kellner 1995, xi). As we argue, this inability—or refusal—to separate Marx from Soviet authoritarianism continues to inform mainstream political science’s rejection of Marx. Likewise, the perceived need to accept capitalism and full integration into the global market has become the new universal wisdom (Gamble 1999, 3). Fukuyama’s (1992),The End of History became the mantra for those arguing against Marxism and any possibility of social or economic reform that challenges the existing capitalist and neoliberal structures. Fukuyama proposes that there is no alternative to capitalism and liberal democracy, thus rendering Marx passé. This implies capitalist triumphalism is accompanied by a cultural pessimism that represents a neoconservative version of Baudrillard (1975) and similar authors, who proclaim the existence of a “post-historical” world devoid of meaning, in which private consumerism attempts, unsuccessfully, to fill the emptiness left by the disappearance of the great metaphysical and political struggles of time’s past (Callinicos 1989). It is no coincidence that Fukuyama was a student of Samuel Huntington, who in 1968 expressed concern about the disorder that an increase in mass political participation could cause if not channeled through an adequate institutional framework. As he wrote, “[u]rbanization, increases in literacy, education, and media exposure all give rise to enhanced aspirations and expectations, which, if unsatisfied, galvanize individuals and groups into politics. In the absence of strong and adaptable political institutions, such increases in participation mean instability and violence” (Huntington 1968, 48). Further, in the midst of the civil rights movement and campus revolts across the United States and the world, Huntington argued that the higher the level of education of the unemployed, alienated, or dissatisfied person, the more extreme his/her destabilizing behavior. “Alienated graduate students prepare revolutions,” he wrote (Huntington 1968, 48). This work reveals Huntington’s real fear concerning the revolutionary potential of university students. To him, the study of Marx and other thinkers who advocate not only for a critical reading of society’s structures and politics, but also call for action, had the potential to create revolutionary elements, bringing disorder and chaos to society. The ideology of scientific neutrality, which posits the separation of facts from values, together with the argument that the main, and almost exclusive, role of social scientists is to contribute to their disciplines (as opposed to the “real world”), is connected with Huntington’s fears and suggests the rejection of any body of thought that envisions the unity of theory and praxis. As Gunnell (1993, 7) contends, “in a highly pluralistic society, the authority for knowledge seemed to require speaking with a neutral voice grounded in scientific values and facts.” According to Taylor (1994, 547), positive political science—as embodied by the remaking of political science in the image of economics through the meteoric rise of rational choice theory, formal modeling, and advanced statistical techniques—claimed to have become value-free and in so doing had liberated itself from political philosophy.14 Indeed, the scientific method is said to allow for the dispassionate study of the empirical world, without metaphysical presuppositions or value biases (Taylor 1994, 547). Marx, on the other hand, is portrayed as an ideological thinker whose normative commitments introduce bias into his observations. Yet, when we want to understand the reasons behind social phenomena and answer why questions, it is impossible not to interpret the evidence we observe (Taylor 1971). And it is here that values, and normative theory, enter. As Harvey (1973, 24) remarks, to regard reality as independent of human perception and action is itself “idiotic and ideological.” The problem with arguments to the contrary is that they fail to recognize that “value-free” political science is itself both an ideological position, and, indeed, a myth. Many critics, such as Popper, argue that there is nothing scientific about Marxism because its propositions cannot be scientifically tested (Mandel 1976, 25). Yet, as Mandel (1976) posits, there are very simple ways to test whether Marx was “wrong.” For example, one could discredit Marx by discovering that the more capitalist industry develops, the smaller the average factory becomes, the less it depends upon new technology, the more its capital is supplied by the workers themselves, and the greater the share of surplus value they accumulate. Yet, plainly, none of this has occurred. Others argue that the lack of working-class revolutions in advanced industrialized countries is a sign of Marx’s predictive failure. Yet only an oversimplified reading of Marx—precisely the type that prevails in political science—suggests that revolutions will occur without human agency. Indeed, while Marx of course argues that the inherent contradictions of capitalist society will provoke a revolutionary situation, this requires the development of revolutionary consciousness, for “material forces can only be overthrown by material forces, but theory itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses” (Marx [1844] 1978, 60). In this vein, Marx and Engels wrote the Manifesto precisely to convince the masses to rise up and engage in class struggle. Indeed, this radical, political message is precisely what Huntington and his fellow travelers most feared. Openly normative discussions in political science, and in this sense Marx too, have been pushed toward political theory. And in turn, it is no coincidence that political theory is under attack as the subfield that does not deal with “science.” As Cavarero (2002) indicates, the canon of science became the criteria for defining appropriate work. The consequence is that everything else is rejected as metaphysics, “a sort of literary production lacking in scientific rigor” that is seen as “untrustworthy” (Cavarero 2002, 510).15 Similarly, Berlin previously argued that political theory would never become a science because it deals with normative questions that are specifically philosophical (Grant 2002, 577). If we further consider the fact that capitalism, according to Brown (2002), has become an almost unchallengeable fact for political theorists, then the future of Marx in political science in general may seem doomed. To summarize, there are numerous reasons—both individual and structural—that have led to the abandonment or rejection of Marx. Yet it appears that they are more political than intellectual. That is, the collective lack of engagement with Marx’s writings seems to be based less on their own intellectual merit (or lack thereof) and more on their political ramifications. Marx poses two problems for political scientists. First, he contradicts current norms in favor of “navel-gazing” by suggesting that our chief ambition should be to contribute to society, not the discipline. And second, even if one rejects his political arguments, engaging with Marx tells us that we should take political positions, be politically active, and question our role as academics in maintaining or challenging the status quo. Marx wants us not only to interpret the world, but to change it. For those who proffer the problematic (and ideological) notion that social science can and should be value-free or promote the political pessimism of the end of history, Marx is thus indeed a haunting specter. Between Readings and Misreadings: On Marx, Intersectionality, and the Charge of Eurocentrism Our analysis of graduate syllabi reveals in unequivocal fashion that, at least in pedagogical terms, Marx has largely vanished from the IR and CP mainstreams. As we detail above, the reasons for this abandonment are more political than intellectual in nature. That the mainstream has largely dismissed Marx does not necessarily mean that Marx is absent from these subfields as a whole, for indeed both enjoy a significant degree of theoretical diversity at least at the margins. Yet even most “critical” scholars in these areas have abandoned Marx. In this section, we analyze one of the principal reasons behind this lack of engagement: namely, the charge that Marx is a Eurocentric thinker who has little to say about the non-European world. Below, we document how both mainstream and especially critical thinkers—both within and beyond the aforementioned top-ranked departments—have constructed this “Eurocentric Marx.”16 Subsequently, we turn to Marx’s own voluminous, but largely overlooked, writings on colonialism and imperialism, focusing in particular on the cases of China and India. Though Marx of course was at times weighed down by Eurocentric and modernist baggage, he nevertheless made serious and repeated efforts to grapple with non-European realities. And indeed, as noted by Bieler (2016), “[w]hen analyzing concrete struggles, Marx was careful not to generalize his findings from one country to another.” Further, as we explore at the end of this section, the fact that so many non-European thinkers would take the baton from Marx and both use and modify the Marxist tradition to analyze their own realities is an additional argument against the attempt to dismiss Marx as simply another modernist, Eurocentric product of the Enlightenment. The Construction of a Eurocentric Marx The finding that Marx is not being taught in the discipline’s centers of power is somewhat ironic given that many key thinkers in these subfields readily acknowledge both their own training in Marxist theory and how their reactions to (or against) this literature shaped their thoughts and scholarly trajectories. For example, let us take the case of Drezner (2013), who acknowledges having “read a lot of Marx in college and graduate school” and argues that “a return to Marx seems entirely appropriate” for his “critique of capitalist political economy,” even though he believes that there are “some Very Big Things that Marx got wrong—badly, world-historically wrong.”17 While he posits his blockbuster Theories of International Politics and Zombies as a review of “existing international relations theories,” he justifies his lack of engagement with Marx therein using the following tortured logic: “[t]o be blunt, this project is explicitly prohuman, whereas Marxists would likely sympathize more with the zombies” (Drezner 2015,18). Notably, while Drezner added coverage of feminism to the 2015 “revived” edition—he had previously lumped feminists together with Marxists as “sympathiz[ing] more with the zombies” (2011, 17)—Marx’s specter continues to be absent from the text. Although we were taken aback by the extent to which Marx and Marxist authors are absent from the above courses, the general trend we identify will likely be unsurprising to many readers. Indeed, for years critical voices—such as those of the Caucus for a New Political Science—have alleged that the discipline’s mainstream is status-quo-oriented (if not conservative) and uninterested, or perhaps even fearful of, systemic critique (Barrow 2008). Still, it is tempting to believe that profound engagement with Marx and the Marxist tradition have continued to flourish in more hospitable surroundings outside of the mainstream. Yet this is largely not the case. While significant numbers of scholars—particularly outside of the United States and in the subfields of comparative and global political economy—continue to keep the Marxist flame alive, it has repeatedly been pointed out that many thinkers from the dominant “critical” intellectual traditions of our time—postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postcolonialism—have joined the mainstream in either neglecting or rejecting Marx (Dirlik 2000; Bartolovich and Lazarus 2002; Chibber 2013). Reasons vary, and include a tendency to embrace the aforementioned end of history ideology, the notion that universalism (of the Marxist or other varieties) is invariably a dirty word and the presumption that Marx is an irredeemably Eurocentric thinker. Accordingly, while vibrant pockets of Marx-influenced scholars remain in IR and CP, they are small and concentrated outside of political science’s US core, and largely isolated from their fields’ mainstreams. Here, we focus on the last of the aforementioned charges against Marx: his purported Eurocentrism. While it is by no means the sole reason for which “critical” scholars choose to dismiss Marx, it is of special interest in the present context, for assertions of Marx’s ineradicable European character are common to many critical and mainstream scholars. As such, this section proceeds by analyzing Marx’s Eurocentric credentials. Despite Marx’s fairly extensive engagement with the non-European world, Avineri (1969, 1)—who compiled such writings in the landmark (but relatively unknown) volume, Karl Marx on Colonialism and Modernization—recounted that “Marx is usually considered a European thinker, primarily interested in the impact of industrialization on Western society.” In fact, Marx is often identified in such terms in the political science mainstream, even today. Marx “focused on capitalism in Europe,” according to a recent IR textbook, which falsely goes on to imply that only “neo-Marxists”—and not Marx himself—have demonstrated any interest in “developing countries” (Jackson and Sørensen 2016, 51). Indeed, Ahmad (2015, 199–200) argues that the accusation of “Marx’s Eurocentrism was manufactured mainly in Anglo-American discourses” and exported once the “1960s uprisings had been contained.” To the extent that Marx’s non-European writings are acknowledged, we again typically receive only a caricatured version. In Gilpin’s (1987, 271) rendering, “Marx believed the external force of Western imperialism” was necessary to move non-Western societies through the predetermined stages of history, and that such capitalist expansion, even if carried out violently, represented “a step forward for humanity.” Though Marx indeed made such crude assertions, Gilpin (1987, 271) neglects to mention that Marx’s views on these matters evolved and that he would in fact become the first major European thinker to oppose the British imperial project in India. And despite referring to Avineri’s text as an “excellent collection,” nor does Gilpin (1987, 271) repeat Avineri’s (1969, 19) assertion that Marx came to believe that both India and the British working class were “being exploited for the benefit of the English ruling classes through British rule in India.” Postcolonial thinkers have often been even less generous in their assessments of Marx’s non-European credentials. They have tended to see Marxism as “indelibly Eurocentric, [and] complicit with the dominative master-narratives of modernity (including that of colonialism itself)” (Bartolovich 2002, 1). As such, “it has … become perfectly acceptable” for postcolonial scholars “to make no mention of Marxism, even when the situations described seem to call out for it” (ibid.). And, “[w]hen the subject of Marxism is brought up, it is typically with hostility” (Bartolovich 2002, 9).18 Of course, a critique of Marx’s “Orientalism” has been standard fare at least since Said’s (1978) classic homonymous work.19 For Kayaoglu (2010, 199), Marx was guilty of subscribing to the very same ideology of “European normative exclusivity and supremacy”—which “was constructed in conjunction with the creation of inferiority of the Other”—as his liberal and other contemporaries. For his part, Hobson (2012, 20) refers in The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics to “the paternalist Eurocentrism of Marx” and other disparate thinkers. Tellingly, he entitles one of the book’s chapters, “Eurocentric Imperialism: Liberalism and Marxism, c. 1830–1914.” Yet without seeking to diminish the importance of the very real oversights, biases, and flaws that undergird Marx’s non-European writings (Chowdhry and Nair 2002, 7), it is simply not the case that Marx deserves to be equated in these counts with liberalism, which unabashedly served as imperialism’s and colonialism’s chief ideological enabler. To be sure, the “broadly Marxist tradition” of anti-imperialist thinkers merits criticism for its “concentration on the histories of Europe and North America” (Saurin 2006, 34). More generally, Gruffydd Jones (2006, 12) is doubtlessly correct to note that “even critical IR” has “turned almost exclusively to Europe’s heritage of critical thought” while studiously ignoring (if not deriding the contributions of) non-European thinkers, including those whom we analyze below. But this is not a call for turning our backs on Marx. The problem, as Gruffydd Jones (2011, 48) observes, is not “turn[ing] fruitfully” to European thinkers such as Marx, but “persistently overlook[ing] other sources of critique.” Thus, as Chowdhry and Nair (2002, 17) suggest by drawing from Fanon, Marxism needs to be “stretched”—not discarded—“to better accommodate the historical interpellation of race, gender, and class” that characterizes international politics. Though they too refer to “the Eurocentrism of Marx” and reject Marxism’s “universalist assumptions,” theirs is at least a call for dialogue, not rejection (Chowdhry and Nair 2002, 22–23).20 Our Reading We read Marx as a thinker who, despite his flaws and oversights, made serious attempts to wrestle with non-Western realities. There is in fact a growing body of revisionist scholarship that supports this assertion and questions the dominant, Eurocentric characterization of Marx (Bartolovich and Lazarus 2002; Achcar 2013; Pradella 2015). Indeed, for a Eurocentric thinker, Marx had a great deal to say about European exploitation of the rest of the world. Particularly in his oft-overlooked New York Tribune articles, Marx frequently addressed Britain’s crimes in India, China, and elsewhere. He argued that the West’s prosperity depended on the slave and opium trades and that Western powers would hastily use force to impose their continuance (Ledbetter 2007, xxv). As Marx ([1853c] 2007, 3) wrote concerning the British opium trade in China, [w]hatever the social causes, whatever religious, dynastic, or national shape they may assume, that have brought about the chronic rebellions subsisting in China … and now gathered together in one formidable revolution, the occasion of this outbreak has unquestionably been afforded by the English cannon forcing upon China that soporific drug called opium. And referring to British behavior in China, Marx ([1857] 2007, 23) declared … this most unrighteous war has been waged. The unoffending citizens and peaceful tradesmen of Canton have been slaughtered, their habitations battered to the ground, and the claims of humanity violated, on the flimsy pretense that “English life and property are endangered by the aggressive acts of the Chinese!” The British Government and the British people … know how false and hollow are such charges. While Marx may not have been the most outspoken advocate for colonialism’s victims, he did not ignore them. He addressed British colonialism (and its crimes) as historical facts and part of the natural development of capital accumulation. Nonetheless, Marx took a strong stand in favor of the abolition of slavery in the United States and the liberation of Fenian (Irish republican) prisoners in England. Marx strove to convince the First International and British working-class leaders to support the Irish rebels, condemning British atrocities in Ireland and praising British workers’ opposition to slavery in the US south.21 Marx saw the US Civil War as a major battle for human emancipation, which would force white labor in the United States and Britain to take a stand against slavery. At the same time, Marx saw in Irish nationalism a source of opposition to British and global capital (Anderson 2010). It is interesting to note how Marx, when addressing the Civil War, and especially in regard to Ireland and Irish workers, connected race and ethnicity as part of the exploitation generated by capitalism, showing how the bourgeoisie benefited from working-class racial divisions and animosities.22 For example, Marx bitterly complained about how working-class consciousness was debilitated by anti-Irish prejudice (Anderson 2010, 145).23 Further, as Avineri (1968, 24) comments, “nothing could be more scathing than [Marx’s] exposé of the sheer inhumanity of the British opium trade with China, or the cruelties inflicted by the British on India in the wake of the Mutiny.” Avineri (1969, 28) fittingly goes on to observe that, while “one can criticize Marx on many counts,” nonetheless “one has to admit that few nineteenth-century thinkers and social theorists grasped as well the long-range implications of European colonial expansion for the socioeconomic structure of non-European society” and that “even fewer had a comparable vision of the degree of world historical change brought about by the corrosive influence of Western commerce.” His writings on India in particular, including the passage below, illustrate precisely the duality of Marx’s thought. Deeply disturbed by the barbarity of British colonialism but shedding few tears for the social order it was uprooting, in 1853, in one of his regular contributions to the Tribune (Marx [1853a] 2007, 213), he wrote, “I share not the opinion of those who believe in a golden age of Hindostan.” He had few qualms about the destruction of precapitalist India,24 which he saw as a necessary evil for the advancement of capitalism and—sooner or later—a revolution (Jani 2002). In that sense, as Marx ([1853a] 2007, 219) wrote, British imperialism was “an unconscious tool of history.” Yet as Jani (2002) indicates, to arrive from here to the accusation that Marx was Eurocentric and a supporter of British imperialism requires a huge leap of faith. Indeed, several caveats are in order. First, Marx was certainly a product and creature of Europe who suffered from many of the same ethnocentric vices as his contemporaries (Bartolovich 2002). Yet he was also “a trilingual, cosmopolitan intellectual” who lived a life of exile, engaged extensively with the non-European and colonized worlds, and displayed an increasing propensity over the course of his life to wrestle with local particularities (Anderson 2010, 1).25 Anderson writes: In the 1840s, he held to an implicitly unilinear perspective, sometimes tinged with ethnocentrism, according to which non-Western societies would necessarily be absorbed into capitalism and then modernized via colonialism and the world market. But over time, his perspective evolved toward one that was more multilinear, leaving the future development of these societies as an open question. (2010, 2) While critics are prone to cite Marx’s reference to “Oriental despotism” as absolute proof of his Eurocentric tendencies, it is thus important to consider how his thought evolved in a more pluralist direction over time (Tansel 2015). As Achcar has argued, “any comment on Marx’s attitude towards India that considers his 1853 articles alone, without exploring the whole history of his statements on India until his last writings, and builds on those articles in order to formulate a general judgment on his ‘Orientalist’ or ‘Eurocentric’ bias, is fundamentally flawed and unsound” (quoted in Kumar 2014). Further, Pradella (2015, 120) indicates that Marx saw capitalism as a globalized system, rooted in colonial exploitation and slavery, and in the early 1850s he changed his “previous unidirectional view of international revolution, tracing a relation between proletarian struggle in the metropolis and anticolonial movement in the colonies.” Revolts and revolutions in the colonies would deepen the inherent contradictions of capitalism, accelerating the outbreak of the proletarian revolution in Europe. Specifically, he argued that its demise would come from the interaction between non-European liberation movements and European proletariat revolutions, which he noted vis-à-vis the Taiping Revolution in China (Pradella 2015). Second, Marx’s analysis indeed appears (relatively) praiseworthy when juxtaposed with the standards of his time. Contrary to other classical thinkers such as John Locke, John Stuart Mill, or Edmund Burke, Marx never directly advocated imperial policies or actions. He had no investments in companies involved in exploiting British colonies, as did Locke (the Royal African Company) (Macpherson 1980, x) and Mill (East India Company) (Collini 1989, ix), nor did he lend ideological support to imperialism, as did Burke (O’Neill 2016). In fact, while liberal heroes such as Mill were arguing for “benevolent despotism” in Britain’s handling of the colonies, Marx’s 1853 writing on India “constitutes the first instance of a major European thinker supporting India’s independence” (Anderson 2010, 238). Again, whatever his biases and flaws, Marx hardly warrants being tarred with the same Eurocentric brush. If by Eurocentrism we mean a worldview that makes Europe the center of the globe, “then Marx of the India articles is not Eurocentric,” according to Jani (2002, 94). Marx was a product of the European Enlightenment, but also among its strongest critics. And he was keenly aware of how colonial exploitation benefited European capitalism, as he expressed in Capital (Marx 1976, 931), as well as the broader ills of imperialism. As he wrote concerning British rule in India, [t]he profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked … Did they not, in India, to borrow an expression of that great robber, Lord Clive himself, resort to atrocious extortion, when simple corruption could not keep pace with their rapacity? (Marx [1853b] 2007, 224) These are strange words for a supposedly Eurocentric, Orientalist thinker who is invested in “European normative exclusivity and supremacy.” Our position is thus in accord with the great Egyptian economist Amin (2009, 89), who acknowledges that Eurocentrism “is strong” among Western Marxists, some of whom have over the years adopted “pro-imperialist” positions. He further notes that Marxism “inherits a certain evolutionist perspective that prevents it from tearing down the Eurocentric veil of the bourgeois evolutionism against which it revolts” (Amin 2009, 156). Yet it is also the case that “the tools developed by Marxism have the potential capacity to surpass [these] contradictions,” for “Marxism was founded on an awareness of the historical limits of the culture of the Enlightenment in relation to its real social content: namely, the rationalization of the national, European, and global capitalist project” (Amin 2009, 190). Indeed, while Marxism—“vulgar” and otherwise—succumbed to the temptation to extrapolate from Europe to fashion a universal model, this occurred “despite Marx’s precautions,” for Marx himself “was careful about making hasty generalizations” about the non-European world (Amin 2009, 191; emphasis added). Thus, we must “go beyond the construct proposed by Marx” but without “throwing the baby out with the bath water” or abandoning “universalism” entirely (Amin 2009, 156, 190). Marxist Engagements from the Non-European World In fact, “many [twentieth-century] movements for independence and national development in the colonial and Third Worlds drew,” and still draw, “their political inspiration from Marxism” (Matin 2011, 5). As Acharya and Buzan observe, … it is not difficult in parts of East Asia to find Marxists who interpret Marx’s opposition to liberalism (capitalism) as placing him outside the West. The idea that a thinker so deeply embedded in Western philosophy and sociology as Marx could be seen as non-Western comes as a big surprise to Westerners who encounter it. (2010, 238) This should not “surprise” us. It is indeed notable that while Marx has so often been dismissed in the West as crudely universalist and Eurocentric, countless non-European thinkers, leaders, and activists have found inspiration in Marx (Aguilar 1978; Bartolovich and Lazarus 2002; Prashad 2016). The best and brightest have not been passive readers of Marx or sought to slavishly apply his ideas and concepts to their circumstances (which Marx himself would also not have wanted). Rather, they have adopted certain parts of the Marxist tradition while modifying or discarding others, just as we would expect of any thinker who is seeking to reconcile insights derived from one set of surroundings with their own, local realities. Here, we briefly examine two such thinkers: Amílcar Cabral and José Carlos Mariátegui. Cabral, the great anticolonial leader of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, in his “Brief Analysis of the Social Structure in Guinea” (1974), nicely embodies this balancing act. Here, he engages in a nuanced analysis of agrarian Guinea’s class dynamics, noting that while there are indeed “wage-earners,” he is “careful not to call these groups the proletariat or working class ” (1974). He observes the existence of another group for whom “we have not yet found the exact term,” and in general notes that he is “not trying to stretch alien concepts” (1974). Cabral comments: “we looked for the working class in Guinea and did not find it,” though they were able to discover “our little proletariat,” particularly among boat- and dockworkers (1974). While it may be “absurd” to consider that there could be “a working class mentality” without “the material conditions of the working class,” which Guinea plainly did not have, Cabral mentions that “in fact we managed to inculcate these ideas into a large number of people” (1974). Crucially, local conditions and particularities are fundamental to his analysis. While Marx had (in)famously argued that precapitalist societies had no history (Avineri 1969, 10–13), per his progressive, modernist view that “history” only began after feudalism had been swept away, Cabral (1974) asserts the opposite: There is a preconception held by many people, even on the left, that imperialism made us enter history at the moment when it began its adventure in our countries. This preconception must be denounced: for somebody on the left, and for Marxists in particular, history obviously means the class struggle. Our opinion is exactly the contrary. We consider that when imperialism arrived in Guinea it made us leave history—our history. We agree that history in our country is the result of class struggle, but we have our own class struggles in our own country. The immediate task facing Guinea, then, is not a European-style class struggle, but the struggle for “national liberation,” for which “unity of all the social strata is a prerequisite for success” (Cabral 1974). In this monumental task, the “African petty bourgeoisie” must be the ones to “tak[e] control of the state apparatus when the colonial power is destroyed,” since only they “have learned how to manipulate [it]” (Cabral 1974). He—we—cannot mechanically apply Marx to Guinea because “[t]he working class hardly exists as a defined class; it is just an embryo” (Cabral 1974). Further, “[t]here is no economically viable bourgeoisie because imperialism prevented it being created” (Cabral 1974). What we find here are both engagement with and significant departures from Marx’s thought—especially in regard to materialism/idealism (and the creation of working-class consciousness), class dynamics and nomenclature, and the notions of the stages of history, or even history itself. Cabral observes: “you must connect all these things up with the history and conditions of Africa” (1974).26 As we have argued, and contrary to conventional readings, (later) Marx would presumably have agreed with at least the spirit of this endeavor. A second example can be found in José Carlos Mariátegui, a Peruvian agitator and writer from the early twentieth century who dedicated his short life to political struggle and the development of Marxist thought vis-à-vis the Latin American context and who is said to be responsible for “the most interesting and insightful Marxist writings on Latin America” (La Botz 2012). As the editors of a recent anthology of his writings note, Mariátegui “energetically and actively engaged with European thought, working out new methods to analyze the problems of non-Western societies like his own,” and “develop[ed] a creative Marxist analysis that was oriented toward the specific historical reality of Peru and Latin America in the 1920s” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 13).27 Particularly notable were Mariátegui’s elaboration of an “open,” “non-sectarian,” and anti-Stalinist Marxism, his focus on the role of “subjective elements” such as “political education,” and his argument that rural peasants and indigenous peoples—often seen, at least in the former case, as forming a “reactionary class” in orthodox Marxist analysis—had revolutionary potential (Vanden and Becker 2011, 13). In other words, he argued that even a largely preindustrial, feudal society such as Peru was potentially ripe for socialist revolution. He thus analyzed “the problem of the Indian from a socialist point of view,” which led him to focus on “their right to land” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 69). Though feudalism persisted in Peru, and there was no “true capitalist class” to bring about its “liquidation,” Mariátegui argued that Peru should avoid “the liberal solution,” which would entail “breaking up the large landholdings to create small properties” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 70). Instead, “our agrarian problem has a fundamental indisputable and concrete factor that gives it a special character” and suggests a different path forward: “the survival of the community and elements of practical socialism in Indigenous agriculture and life” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 71). This Inca or agrarian socialism thus provided a basis for “collective management of agriculture” (Vanden and Becker 2011, 239). Yet it is not a fundamental upending of Marx’s story, warts and all. As he writes in his elaboration of the “Programmatic Principles of the Socialist Party” of Peru, [b]ut this, like the stimulation that freely provides for the resurgence of Indigenous peoples, the creative manifestation of its forces and native spirit, does not mean at all a romantic and antihistorical trend of reconstructing or resurrecting Inca socialism, which corresponded to historical conditions completely bypassed, and which remains only as a favorable factor in a perfectly scientific production technique, that is, the habits of cooperation and socialism of Indigenous peasants. Socialism presupposes the technique, the science, the capitalist stage. It cannot permit any setback in the realization of the achievements of modern civilization, but on the contrary it must methodically accelerate the incorporation of these achievements into national life. (Vanden and Becker 2011, 239) Whatever one makes of Mariátegui’s conceptualization of Inca socialism, his theory of history, or his reference to “modern civilization,” this represents an honest effort to bring a Marxist and socialist analysis to the level of Peruvian reality. The larger point is that these and many other Third-World thinkers have used Marx as a lens to shed light on their own circumstances and relations, adopting certain concepts, theories, and ideas while dropping or modifying others. It is indeed natural, considering Marx’s position regarding colonialism, for non-European thinkers fighting colonialism to engage with Marx. In the process, they have contributed greatly to the richness, vibrancy, and heterogeneity of the Marxist tradition (Bartolovich 2002, 3). They argue alongside of but also with Marx, but do not immediately cast him aside as a Eurocentric thinker. In this regard, one may also consider current engagement with Marx by Kurdish rebels and Latin American student activists. It is indeed unfortunate that so many political scientists (and others) not only tend to overlook such instances of fruitful cross-pollination between Marxist theory and non-European realities, but also largely neglect to engage in more of the same. Per Avineri’s (1968, 31) prognosis from almost half a century prior, “[t]he irony of history may thus make Marx into a respectable, even fashionable, subject for academic discourse in a relatively affluent and bourgeois West, while in the non-European world an ideology relating itself to Marxism, yet overlooking most of what he said about the non-European world, may be politically triumphant.” Though perhaps overly sanguine concerning Marx’s staying power in the “bourgeois West,” let alone Marxism’s triumph elsewhere, he was correct to perceive the magnitude of Marx’s influence in the non-European world. Marx may have been a creature of Europe, but the legacy of his ideas “belong” as much to the non-European world as to anyone (Bartolovich 2002, 10). Conclusion This article has sought to answer two basic questions: Is Marx seriously read in IR and CP? And if not, why? Based on analysis of a newly compiled database of graduate syllabi from introductory courses in these subfields from the top-ranked US departments, the answer to the first question is an almost absolute “no.” Whereas Marx used to be standard fare even in undergraduate courses (D’Anieri 2014, 100), it is now exceedingly rare for Marx—or any Marxist author, even broadly defined—to be assigned. As we have seen, such writings do not even appear when the thematic areas under consideration—such as “social class”—surely require engaging with Marx’s thought. While further analysis is required to assess the extent to which Marx is read in other subfields or disciplines, or within non-US political science programs, the trend we have identified at the heights of the IR and CP US-based mainstream could not be clearer. Among the reasons for Marx’s near-total absence, we focus on the critique—common to many mainstream and especially critical scholars—that Marx is an irredeemably Eurocentric thinker who has little to say to the non-European world.28 While Marx was a product of Europe who was invested in the notion of universal theory and conceptualizing capitalism at the systemic level, he also “strove to avoid formalistic and abstract universals,” as evidenced by his repeated attempts “to work out the specific ways in which the universalizing powers of capital and class were manifesting themselves in particular societies or social groups” (Anderson 2010, 244). As Avineri notes, Marx’s writings on Asia, though far from flattering to anyone who has cherished a romantic image of pristine Oriental purity reigning supreme before the advent of the Western barbarians, abound with criticisms of European hypocrisy in Asia, its double standards, and the wanton cruelty implicit in the introduction of Western commerce in Asian society. (1969, 24) Accordingly, we should be highly suspicious of efforts to tar Marx with the Eurocentric brush. In turn, as we explore through briefly analyzing the thought of Cabral and Mariátegui, there is a long tradition of non-European thinkers who have thoughtfully engaged with Marx. Rather than serving as mere conveyor belts for Marx’s ideas, or rejecting him as a modernist and universalist product of the European Enlightenment, they have instead read Marx and adapted him to their local realities, thus generating new practical and theoretical insights. As Tucker (1978, ix) correctly points out, “[n]o other intellectual has so powerfully shaped the mind of modern left-wing radicalism in most parts of the world.” It is of course highly ironic that it has become so fashionable for Western academics to dismiss Marx as Eurocentric even as so many non-European thinkers on the ground have sought to claim him as one of their own. Yet while this and other intellectual challenges to Marx are frequently invoked, we argue that a key factor motivating the rejection of Marx is instead political. It is the discipline’s embrace of the ideologies of the end of history—accompanied by what Eagleton (2011, 6) refers to as “a creeping sense of political impotence”—and value-free scientific “neutrality.” In other words, Marx has become a haunting specter for contemporary, US political science precisely because he challenges both the discipline’s attachment to the liberal-capitalist order and its detachment from open political engagement. What, then, should be the place of Marx in our discipline? In light of recent economic crises, increasing inequality, and frequent challenges to the neoliberal model, there is much to gain from engaging with Marx. The point, again, is not to thoughtlessly reproduce his arguments or overlook his flaws (Callinicos 1996), but to actually read one of history’s most important thinkers so that we may glean and generate insights that will advance our understanding of the social world, as well as our ability to act in it. As Eagleton notes, [t]he Communist Manifesto has been described as … the single most influential text written in the nineteenth century. Very few thinkers, as opposed to statesmen, scientists, soldiers, religious figures, and the like, have changed the course of actual history as decisively as its author. There are no Cartesian governments, Platonist guerrilla fighters, or Hegelian trade unions. Not even Marx’s most implacable critics would deny that he transformed our understanding of human history. (2011, x) Whatever our normative or intellectual positions, it is thus incumbent upon us to grapple with his contributions. Unfortunately, at present, it appears that most political scientists are willing to do anything to and with Marx—from downplaying his importance, to producing and reproducing blatant mischaracterizations of his arguments, and ignoring him entirely. Except to read him. Footnotes 1 The extent to which the same is true outside of the United States is beyond the scope of the current analysis. However, there is prima facie evidence to suggest that engagement with Marx is indeed more common in at least certain other countries. For example, in commenting on the “transatlantic divide” between United States and British international political economy, Cohen (2007, 213) identifies in the latter “a more relaxed attitude toward Marxism or other leftist doctrines, which reinforced a critical disposition toward markets and their consequences.” 2 We utilize the US News and World Report ranking, available at: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-political-science-schools&specialty=&name=&zip=&program_rank=top_10&sort=&sortdir. The top ten US political science graduate programs are: (1) Harvard University; (2-tie) Princeton University; Stanford University; (4-tie) University of Michigan; Yale University; (6) University of California, Berkeley; (7) Columbia University; (8-tie) Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of California, San Diego; (10-tie) Duke University; University of California, Los Angeles. 3 Three of the syllabi correspond to the 2014–2015 academic year. However, we were informed by the instructors that they would be using the same syllabi for the 2015–2016 academic year. 4 We are aware that the status of Marx may be different outside of the United States, as well as in other disciplines, or in colleges and universities with a teaching as opposed to research focus. Such comparisons provide an interesting basis for future research. 5 To assess the disproportionate influence of top-ten programs, we divided the remainder of the top fifty into four groups (11–20, 21–30, 31–40, 41–50) and randomly chose three institutions from each range. They are: University of Chicago (ranked #12, with 78.9% of tenurable and tenured faculty from top-ten programs); New York University ($15 [tied], 63.8%); University of Wisconsin-Madison (#15 [tied], 51.5%); Northwestern University (#21 [tied], 81.4%); University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (#23 [tied], 52%); University of Washington (#28 [tied], 51.9%); Rice University (#32 [tied], 25%); University of Virginia (#36 [tied], 67.4%); University of Notre Dame (#36 [tied]; 66.7%); University of Colorado Boulder (#45 [tied], 35.7%); Rutgers University-New Brunswick (#45 [tied], 57.1%); and Brown University (#45 [tied], 81.5%). While there is fairly wide variation in this sample, notably it does not appear to correlate to any significant degree to the program’s position within the top fifty. 6 There are twelve IR syllabi (instead of ten) because at Stanford the introductory course was taught twice in the past academic year, while Yale has a sequence of two introductory courses. University California–San Diego does the same in CP; however, as we were unable to obtain one of these syllabi, only ten entered into our analysis. 7 Given that Marx considered dialectics to be his main methodological approach, which he developed in Capital, this would be a more fitting text than the 18th Brumaire to present Marx’s methodology, if that were the intention. 8 It is worth noting that we sought to give the benefit of the doubt to the courses under examination by being generous in our inclusion of texts. 9 Examples in this category include: Esping-Andersen (1990), Cardoso and Faletto (1979), Wallerstein (1974), and Polanyi (1944). 10 Further examples include: Evans (1979), Rueschemeyer, Huber, and Stephens (1992), Ashley (1984), and Wallerstein (1986). 11 The instructors assigned Eidlin (2014), which reviews the evolution of class identity, as understood by Marx and Weber, from a central and clear analytical concept to a more complex and nuanced one, as well as the decline of class-based politics. They also assigned Roberts (2002), which analyzes the decline of class cleavages in Latin America despite social inequalities. While Marx lingers in the background of these articles, the absence of writings by Marx himself or those of more Marxist-inclined authors is nevertheless problematic. The instructors also assigned Marshall and Bottomore (1992). 12 This increase does not seem to be significant vis-à-vis the overall perception that Marx is virtually absent from IR. Nonetheless, further research may show that Marx is increasingly being read in certain areas within political science, perhaps as an attempt to grapple with the global economic crisis and its ongoing effects. 13 As would-be supporting evidence, Walt (1998, 34) observes that “[t]he extensive history of economic and military cooperation among the advanced industrial powers showed that capitalism did not inevitably lead to conflict. The bitter schisms that divided the communist world showed that socialism did not always promote harmony.” Among the errors of analysis and interpretation contained in these pithy lines, it is especially fitting to note that Marxist theory of course does not preclude intercapitalist cooperation (as repeatedly argued by Karl Kautsky and others). Further, as discussed below, it is highly troubling to blindly associate Marx and Marxism with the self-proclaimed socialism of Cold War–era authoritarian regimes. We would like to thank one of the reviewers for directing our attention toward this source and quote. 14 As a corollary to our analysis, we also examined the frequency with which texts in social and political theory are assigned in the aforementioned courses. Weber is required four times (0.3%) and suggested four times (0.2%) in four different syllabi. Other classic theorists, such as Durkheim, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Hume, Aristotle, de Tocqueville, Popper, Kuhn, and Lakatos are required in seven instances (0.5%) and suggested in fifteen (0.9%). On the one hand, it appears that social and political theory in general are under attack; yet, our contention is that the abandonment of Marx responds to specific ideological perspectives and is even more critical than these other cases given that the syllabi we have reviewed specifically address capitalism, globalization, and class, all issues about which Marx was a foundational thinker. 15 Here, one may be tempted to point to the rise of constructivism in IR in particular as countering the notion that there is a sustained attack in political science on all forms of anti/non/post-positivist research. Yet the version of constructivism that has become a leading IR paradigm is precisely the “thin” form that is far more amenable to value-free, positivist norms (Wendt 1999). We thank one of the reviewers for pushing us to develop our thoughts on this matter. 16 In the present context, we understand Eurocentrism as the intellectual tendency to downplay, dismiss, and ignore concerns, ideas, and thinkers from beyond the European world and its offshoots. Eurocentrism also embodies the tendency to regard as exceptional and universalize based on the European experience while denying the validity of other ways of thinking, acting, or knowing. 17 Notably, this is reminiscent of Wolff’s (2003) conclusion in Why Read Marx Today?: “Marx’s grandest theories are not substantiated. But he is not to be abandoned”—for he “remains the most profound and acute critic of capitalism, even as it exists today” (Wolff 2003, 125–26). Again, whether or not Marx was right, there is little intellectual justification for perpetuating obliviousness to his work. 18 There are exceptions. In the magisterial Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction, Young (2001, 6–7) argues—rightly or wrongly—that postcolonialism “operates within the historical legacy of Marxist critique” and “incorporates a Marxism developed outside, and generally neglected in the west, a flexible Marxism responsive to local conditions in” Latin America, Asia, and Africa. In his nuanced estimation, “Marx’s specific writings on colonialism … are productive if problematic” (Young 2001, 105). 19 Anderson criticizes Said for basing many of his complaints against Marx on Marx’s use of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan poems. In his article on “British Rule in India,” Marx quoted the following stanza: Should this torture then torment us Since it brings us greater pleasure? Were not through the rule of Timur Souls devoured without measure? For his part, Anderson posits that there is evidence that Marx is using the poem to characterize the British colonialist perspective rather than his own (Anderson 2010, 17). 20 As Bartolovich (2002, 1) observes, “[t]he neglect (even ignorance) of Marxism in postcolonial studies has often been countered by the reflexive dismissal of the entire field of postcolonial studies by Marxist writers.” 21 The British bourgeoisie and political leadership expected the workers to protest the North’s embargo against the South and southern cotton in particular. This had a detrimental effect on the British economy and indeed directly affected British labor; however, the workers stood firm in their antislavery position. 22 Taylor (2016) also argues that capitalism has used racism to justify plunder, conquest, and slavery, as well as to generate divisions inside the working class and allow the bourgeoisie to impede the formation of a broader multiracial working-class coalition. 23 Anderson (2010) further shows how Marx and Engels used the oppressive situation of Irish peasants and workers as an example of capitalist social relations and the repressive nature of the British government. 24 Ahmad (2015, 203) indicates that Marx’s attack on the “obnoxious cruelties of the Brahminical caste system” was very much welcome, and “no Indian Marxist … has ever taken offense at the abusive language Marx used about the caste system.” 25 Pradella sustains that “Marx’s investigation into precapitalist societies … was not due to his journalistic activity but responded to a noncontingent interest, present from the beginning of his elaboration of historical materialism” (2015, 170). 26 Notably, “Cabral did not proclaim himself a Marxist nor adhere to rigid and orthodox formulations.” Yet, “he was faithful both to the Marxist method and to the proposition that good theory not only may be based on the ideas of others but also must be subject to concrete and historical conditions of real experiences that test theory” (Chilcote 1991, 20). 27 On Marx and Marxism in Latin America, see Liss (1984) and Löwy (1992). 28 For examples of such assertions in mainstream political science, see the above section, “The Construction of a Eurocentric Marx.” Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their especially helpful and thoughtful comments, along with Estefanía Martínez and Jany Méndez for their (unremunerated) research assistance. 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