An Anthropology of Marxism

Second Edition

By Cedric J. Robinson

Preface by Avery F. Gordon, with a new foreword by H. L. T. Quan

204 pp., 6 x 9, notes, index

Not for Sale in the British Commonwealth (except Canada), the UK, or The Republic of Ireland

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4991-7
    Published: February 2019
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4990-0
    Published: February 2019
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-4992-4
    Published: January 2019
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5851-1
    Published: January 2019

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An Anthropology of Marxism offers Cedric Robinson’s analysis of the history of communalism that has been claimed by Marx and Marxists. Suggesting that the socialist ideal was embedded both in Western and non-Western civilizations and cultures long before the opening of the modern era and did not begin with or depend on the existence of capitalism, Robinson interrogates the social, cultural, institutional, and historical materials that were the seedbeds for communal modes of living and reimagining society. Ultimately, it pushes back against Marx’s vision of a better society as rooted in a Eurocentric society, and cut off from its own precursors. Accompanied by a new foreword by H.L.T. Quan and a preface by Avery Gordon, this invaluable text reimagines the communal ideal from a broader perspective that transcends modernity, industrialization, and capitalism.

About the Authors

Cedric J. Robinson (1940-2016) was professor of black studies and political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Black Marxism, Forgeries of Memory and Meaning, and An Anthropology of Marxism.
For more information about Cedric J. Robinson, visit the Author Page.

H. L. T. Quan is associate professor of justice and social inquiry at Arizona State University.
For more information about H. L. T. Quan, visit the Author Page.

Avery F. Gordon is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara
For more information about Avery F. Gordon, visit the Author Page.


“Invaluable. . . . Through meticulous research, An Anthropology of Marxism establishes a multilayered critique of Western ontological traditions and how said traditions continue to be situated within a very particular and limited genealogy of gendered inquiry.” —Current Anthropology

"Cedric Robinson was a great and wonderful man and a brilliant scholar. Everything he wrote is of incalculable value, and An Anthropology of Marxism is no exception. With great brilliance, clarity, and aplomb, it traces a broad, global history of socialism that predates the variations on that tradition that emerged in the work and wake of Marx and suggests, even more importantly, that socialism predates capitalism as well—indeed, that capitalism is the brutal regulatory mode that responds to socialism. Robinson not only extends a lifelong project devoted to the study, articulation and establishment of the alternative; he also lets us know, again, that the alternative is and has been at hand, that the alternative is closest not only to what we want but also to what we are. Both because of the revolutionary importance of its thesis and because of its erudition and elegance, this book remains indispensable."—Fred Moten, New York University

"As a theory with answers for everything, Marxism has become a covenant of faith for some and a whipping boy for others. But easy answers often fail to live up to the aesthetic, ethical, and sacred demands of liberation. In this rebuke of “evangelical politics,” Cedric Robinson sutures the conceptual architecture of scientific Marxism to its disinherited heretical intimates. An Anthropology of Marxism is a model of rigorous research that allows itself to be a vessel for the immaterial that is eminently perceivable to those who seek it. If you care about creativity, the will to survive, and cultivating love for all things, Robinson’s writing is a guide. In the face of brutality, murder, and vulgar racist vitriol, we can live."—Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, University of California, Irvine