Who's Got What? Political Economy through Food, Culture and Social Movements


Fall 2013, Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

political economy
feminist economics

Political economy asks basic but often overlooked questions: who has what, who does what work, why, how it got to be that way and how to change it. Given this starting point, what do some of the most basic and everyday things around us look like through the lens of political economy? How could we better understand our food system, popular culture and social movements using this interdisciplinary set of questions and perspectives? For example, we'll look at how apples are grown and harvested, World War Z , and what's grown out of the Occupy Movement, each as its own window into the way the economic system we were born into works, and how people just like us are responding to it and trying to remake the world. Through these explorations of food systems, popular culture and social movements, we will get a better understanding of the ways in which society itself becomes hierarchical and divided by race, class, gender and sexuality.

In fall quarter, our guiding question will ask how capitalism evolved and came to be the way it is. How did relationships based on food, popular culture and social movements influence and become influenced by the emergence, development and concrete workings of U.S. political economy in the 20 th century? In tandem with the evolution of the capitalist system, we will examine competing historical visions of political economy put forth by indigenous struggles, immigrant struggles, anti-slavery struggles, the feminist movement, the labor movement. At the same time, we will emphasize the lives of exploited and marginalized people as they encountered capitalism as an economic system. Through this work we will work to become better readers of our texts and of the world.

In winter quarter, we will examine the interrelationship between the U.S. political economy and the changing global system, as well as U.S. foreign policy. We will study the causes and consequences of the globalization of capital and its effects on our daily lives, international migration, the role of multilateral institutions and the meaning of various trade agreements and regional organizations and alliances. We will look at the impact of the global order on our food system and explore the politics of culture, as people negotiate and contest new emerging regimes of labor, property and citizenship. Through protests, revolutions and riots, social movements continue to raise core questions regarding democracy, power, equality and the relationship between citizens, the state and the global economy, providing fruitful alternative analytical perspectives for the study of capitalist globalization and transnational networks. This quarter's work will allow us to deepen and strengthen our analytical skills.

In spring, we will focus our efforts to learn from diverse, community-based institutions that offer us alternative visions of how to organize social and economic activity, in accordance with the basic principles of human rights, ethical labor practices and cooperative work and decision-making, through processes that respect the integrity of our environment and ecology. Working in conjunction with Evergreen's Center for Community-Based Learning and Action, schools, advocacy groups, veteran's rights groups and other nonprofit organizations, students are invited to examine strategies put forward by popular education models, immigrant rights advocates, gay/lesbian/transgender advocates and community-based economic models. In our last quarter, we will work to further develop our communication skills, organization and accountability.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

non-governmental organizations, advocacy, public policy, law and legal rights, education, public health, alternative justice systems, graduate school in social science, history, law, geography and political economy.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through The Greener Store.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$100 in fall and winter and $150 in spring for overnight field trips.


Date Revision
March 4th, 2014 Spring fee has increased to $150.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen ONLY ; 100% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 36


Course Reference Number

Fr (16 credits): 10137

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number

Fr (16 credits): 20135

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number

Fr (16 credits): 30118

Go to my.evergreen.edu 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.