The Making of Global Capitalism, 1500-1914


Winter 2014 quarter

Taught by

political economy, political science


previous college-level work in history, political economy, or the social sciences

Working together in a seminar format, students and faculty will establish an historical, theoretical, and analytical understanding of the birth of capitalism in the crisis of 16th century European feudalism, its rise and consolidation in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the development of the global political economy, and its first structural crisis accompanied by a major burst of imperial expansion in the late 19th century. We will find this topic to be steeped in controversy. Capitalism has transformed the world materially, socially, and ecologically. We will consider the interrelationships among these three categories as capitalism developed and changed through its formative period. Major analytical categories will be imperialism, colonialism, and globalism, the accompanying ecological transformations, and the rise of social classes in support of a resistance to these developments. We will study the rise of liberalism in its historical context, as well as its counterparts, conservatism and socialism. Understanding the trajectory, deep history and logic of historical capitalism will provide students the insights and tools necessary to assess the current historical moment. The program will require close and careful reading and discussion as well as considered and well-grounded writing. Our work will be conducted at an upper-division level, so students should have significant experience in close analytical reading, critical thinking and research writing.

Program Details

Preparatory for studies or careers in

History, political economy, political science, the non-quantitative social sciences, graduate school, and informed citizenship

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.


Date Revision
February 25th, 2013 New program added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 20314

Go to to register for this program.

Need Help Finding the Right Program?

Contact Academic Advising for help in answering your questions, planning your future and solving problems.