Marxist Institute for Research (MIR)

The Marxist Institute for Research is a new initiative connecting faculty and graduate students across the UC system engaged in historical materialist-related research and pedagogy. It is designed as a lasting network to better serve researchers, especially graduate and early-career faculty, across the system by coordinating and making available scholarly and practical resources beyond the limits of any single campus or discipline. Marxist theory in its multiple variants offers a truly interdisciplinary mode of engagement (comprising philosophy, literary theory, aesthetics, history, sociology, geography, and politics) and therefore lends itself to the formulation of problems requiring researchers from more than one discipline or even subfield to solve. It opens the humanities to the social sciences in that a materialism that cannot form itself according to empirical actualities is no materialism at all. In requiring the skills of close reading, conceptualization, and synthetic thought that must be united with any immediate methodological application of theory, Marxist theory also emphasizes the value of humanistic approaches to the identification of  real-world objects of research. Therefore, the aim of the UC MIR is, first, to provide further opportunities for humanities and social science faculty and graduate students to participate in collaborative research projects; and, second, to provide a venue for bridging approaches to theory and method between the humanities and the social sciences.
A major objective of the Marxist Institute for Research is an annual Summer Seminar for UC graduate students, led by faculty from the UC system and beyond. Each year, 20-25 UC graduate students will participate in a fully funded 5-day summer school held at a UC Natural Reserve venue. Oriented each year by a pressing theme, the school will combine faculty-led seminars on Marxist pedagogy and selected research topics; workshops of student research and writing; public-facing engagements with community organizing groups; and guests drawn from within and without UC MIR’s Advisory Board comprising internationally admired scholars from Ruth Wilson Gilmore to Michael Hardt, Nancy Fraser to Robin Kelley.

The theme of the 2023 pilot summer school (in concert with the UCHRI’s annual theme of “Living through Upheaval”) is “Marxism in Transition” — addressing the present’s desperate volatility as object of study and context for rising global interest in adequate approaches to capitalism and its crisis character, while registering the scholarly and pedagogical need for Marxist thought to engage anticolonial thought, Black studies, gender studies, and other vital currents of contemporary theory. Through our transdisciplinary methodologies, theoretical breadth, and the gathered force of thinkers from across the system and beyond, the UC MIR hopes to address this interest and support the kinds of research that can develop our understandings of the present in an era of extraordinary need.

The deadline for graduate applications will be January 15, 2023.