Marx’s Capital: The Basement Tapes
The 2015 Institute on Culture and Society (ICS)
Sponsored by the Marxist Literary Group (MLG)
June 24-28, 2015, Georgetown University

The first volume of Capital was the only one completed by Marx and published during his lifetime. Volumes II and III were published by Engels, some ten years after Marx’s death, from unfinished manuscripts; Theories of Surplus Value was published after Engels’s death. Volume I has, with good reason, assumed renewed currency in the years since the global financial crisis of 2007-8, but the “later” volumes — written before Volume I was prepared for publication — have remained largely the province of specialists. This is unfortunate, not only because these volumes begin to fill in the system of which Volume I is a sketch, and not only because some of Capital’s alleged blind spots and deficiencies are preemptively addressed there, but because some of Marx’s most potent and controversial thinking on political economy emerges in these pages. In a departure from recent practice, this year’s Institute on Culture and Society will center on an intensive series of reading groups on the posthumous volumes of Marx’s Capital. Accepted papers may take the form of considered responses to some aspect of Capital, to be circulated in advance of the Institute but intended as preparation for discussion in the reading groups rather than as material for direct discussion. Alternatively, papers may take the more traditional form of round-table presentations of 5-8 minutes, on any topic that bears substantially on issues relevant to Marxist theory and practice, from Heraclitus and the dialectic to race and capital accumulation. Both kinds of papers will be listed on the program by presenter’s name and presentation title. Additionally, the Institute welcomes the participation of non-presenters. In addition to roundtable proposals and paper proposals of both kinds, we invite proposals to lead reading sessions discussing particular sections of the posthumous volumes of Capital, or questions, issues, problems, or connections raised by them. The aim of this Institute is not only to study these volumes in depth, but to move them out of the exclusive province of specialists and to open them up to a diversity of approaches, interpretations, valences, and relevancies. In recent years articulations with feminism and queer theory have become a particular strength of the ICS, and engagements with research on race, postcolonial history, and other vectors of inequality are warmly encouraged. Please send reading group session proposals (title, section or sections to be discussed, discussion facilitator or facilitators, and a very brief justification), paper proposals of either kind (title and 250-word abstract), roundtable proposals (title, presenters’ paper proposals, and a very brief justification), or intention to participate without presenting to by February 1, 2015.


Arriving in Banff

All of the talks will take place in the Max Bell Building room 252. It is on the western edge of the Banff Centre Campus about five minutes from Reception.

Please refer to a map of the Banff Centre here: Banff Centre Map

Arriving Thursday, June 12

If you are arriving by shuttle you will be dropped off just outside of the Professional Development Centre. Head inside to check in to your rooms. The folks at the front desk can direct you to your rooms, good spots for dinner, and make suggestions about how to spend your evening. I highly recommend meandering around the Banff Centre and, perhaps even more highly, recommend you head up to the Banff Hot Springs. It’s a fairly inexpensive and short cab ride and a wonderful way to relax after a day of travelling.

Arriving Friday, June 13

If you are arriving in time to make the first panel at 3:00 p.m. you may wish to leave leave your luggage at Reception in the Professional Development Centre. Refer to the map above to situate yourself and find the Max Bell Building. There folks at the Banff Centre can also help you to find where you are going. You will be able to check in at 4:00 p.m., though you may wish to wait until after the last panel of the day.

Arriving Any Other Time

Please feel free to check in at Reception and get settled in your room before heading over to Max Bell to find the Institute.


Breakfast and Lunch will be in the Vistas Dining Room. They are buffet style meals and cater to all food requirements. Look for the MLG ICS label on the table to top to find other delegates from the Institute.

Dinners are open, since we are having talks after dinner in the evening, it is recommended that you stay on Campus, returning to Vistas or going for change at the Maclab.

Suggested Reading

While we are not holding reading groups as part of this year’s Institute, we thought some people might like a little airplane reading. Here is a short list of articles that are central to this year’s theme and to the work we’ve been doing to put the Institute together:
Peter Hitchcock, “Oil in the American Imaginary,” New Formations 69 (2010): 81-97.
Stephanie LeMenager, “The Aesthetics of Petroleum, after Oil!” American Literary History 24.1 (2012): 59–86.
Timothy Mitchell, “Carbon Democracy,” Economy and Society 38:3 (2009): 399-432.
Claus Peter Ortlieb, “A Contradiction between Matter and Form: On the Significance of the Production of Relative Surplus Value in the Dynamic of Terminal Crisis,” Marxism and the Critique of Value (Chicago: MCM’ Publishing, 2008): 77-121.
Imre Szeman, “Conclusion: On Energopolitics,” Anthropological Quarterly 87.2 (2014): 453-464.
Daniel Tanuro, “Marxism, Energy, and Ecology: The Moment of Truth,” trans. Richard Fidlar, Capitalism Nature Socialism 21.4 (2010): 89-101.
Marina Vishmidt,  “To Die and Leave Silk for Capital,” Post-Fordism and its Discontents, Ed. by Gal Kirn, 305-325

Patricia Yaeger, “Editor’s Column: Literature in the Ages of Wood, Tallow, Coal, Whale Oil, Gasoline, Atomic Power, and Other Energy Sources,” PMLA 126.2 (2011): 305-310.
Daniel Zamora “When Exclusion Replaces Exploitation”
If you would like access to any of these materials please email: mlgics2014 [at] gmail [dot] com

Room and Board

note that all costs below are the base costs from The Banff Centre. The actual costs for accommodations and meal plans will be less. At the present time we do not have the final budget in place. These costs will be updated when we have more information.

Accommodations: Single and double rooms are available at The Banff Centre
Superior Single $210/ night or Superior Double $105/ night each
Standard Single $199/ night or Standard Double $99.50/ night each

The Banff Centre’s conference package includes accommodation, wireless internet access in bedrooms, and delegate use of the Sally Borden Fitness & Recreation facility.

Mandatory Conference Meal Package: $337 per delegate, per stay, which includes five Vistas breakfasts, four Vistas lunches, four full day continuous refreshment breaks, one half day continuous refreshment break and food & beverage service charges.

Check-in: 4 p.m. June 13th / Check-out: 12 p.m. Noon June 18th

Reservations: If you would like to reserve a room, please send an email to with “Housing Reservation” in the subject line. In the body of the email, please include:

1) your name,
2) your choice of single room (by yourself) or a bed in a double room; standard or superior room,
3) if you indicated double room please include a preferred roommate (check with them first) and they should do the same,
4) whether you need to make special arrangements to arrive or depart on dates other than June 13th or 18th, and
5) your email address (for easy cutting and pasting).

Staying off-site: The Off-site Delegate Package is mandatory for all attendees not staying overnight at The Banff Centre as part of the conference room block. The $70 per day charge, excluding taxes, includes Vistas lunch, daily continuous refreshment break, food & beverage service charges, parking, and wireless internet access.

Sally Borden Recreation Facility: The Banff Centre’s Sally Borden Recreation Facility houses a 25 metre pool, steam rooms, whirlpool, weight room, full-sized gymnasium with indoor running track, badminton, squash court and climbing wall. These facilities will be available for general usage to all overnight guests of The Banff Centre at no extra charge. Applicable room rental charges will apply for Private Functions in the Sally Borden Recreation Facility.

Fine Print: All room rates are subject to an $8.00 per delegate per night Service Charge and applicable taxes.

Triple and quadruple accommodation is available at an additional cost of $20.00 per person, per day, subject to guestroom availability. The Banff Centre allows a maximum of four (4) adults per guestroom on a bed share basis.

In the event that a guest within your room block checks out prior to their confirmed check-out date, The Banff Centre will apply an early departure fee of $75 plus GST to the individuals account. Departure date must be confirmed at check-in to avoid an early departure fee.

Travel: Getting to Banff, AB

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is the most convenient to fly to when en route to Banff, AB.

From the airport one can rent a car or take a shuttle directly to The Banff Centre.

MLG -ICS 2014 delegates receive a 15% discount on the Banff Airporter for shuttle service between the Calgary Airport and Banff Centre. This brings the price including GST to $50.74 One Way and $101.48 Return. Click  Proceed through the reservation and type energy in the Apply Promotional code section on the final payment page to receive the discount. Or call (888) 449-2901 and mention you are attending the Energy and Environment conference to the staff.

Here is a link to all The Banff Centre centric directions you could want:

If you require any further information regarding travel please don’t hesitate to write

Announcing the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Institute on Culture and Society

The Institute on Culture and Society (ICS), founded in 1969 by Fredric Jameson, holds an interdisciplinary meeting on a different theme each year. This year’s tripartite theme is “Energy, Environment, Culture.” The conference will take place June 13-17, 2014 at The Banff Centre.

At ICS presentations and workshops run consecutively in order to allow everyone to contribute to an ongoing conversation, one that can develop and deepen over the course of the five days of the event. Moreover, the conference is in particular dedicated to being an open and encouraging forum for the presentation of graduate student work.

ICS 2014 offers an opportunity for international scholars at all levels, but especially graduate students, to advance research questions fundamental to disciplines concerned with the cultural impacts and politics of energy extraction and distribution, as well as the social impacts of environmental responses to energy in advanced and developing economies.

Take a look at the CFP and apply to ICS by sending an email to

ICS 2014 is sponsored by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chair in Cultural StudiesARIELMediationsReviews in Cultural Theorythe Marxist Literary Group, The University of Alberta (U of A) Faculty of Arts, U of A English and Film Studies, U of A Kule Institute for Advanced Study, Concordia University, St. Francis Xavier, York University, and the Banff Centre.