Political Economy and Social Movements: Race, Class and Gender


Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 quarters

Taught by

economics, political economy
Martha Schmidt
feminist economics

We will examine the nature, development and concrete workings of modern capitalism and the interrelationship of race, class and gender in historical and contemporary contexts. Recurring themes will be the interaction of oppression, exploitation, social movements, reform and fundamental change, and the construction of alternatives to capitalism, nationally and globally. We will examine how social change has occurred in the past, present trends and alternatives for the future. We will examine different theoretical frameworks such as liberalism, Marxism, feminism, anarchism and neoclassical economics, and their explanations of the current U.S. and global political economy and of key issues such as education, the media, climate change, hunger, debt, immigration and the criminal justice system. There will be workshops on popular education and movement building skills.

In fall, the U.S. experience will be the focus, whereas winter quarter will have a global focus. We will begin with the colonization of the U.S., and the material and ideological foundations of the U.S. political economy from the 18th century to the present. We will explore specific issues including the slave trade, racial, gender and economic inequality, the labor movement and the western push to "American Empire." We will examine the linkages from the past to the present between the economic core of capitalism, political and social structures, and gender, race and class relations. Resistance and social movements will be a central theme. We will study microeconomics principles from a neoclassical, feminist economics and political economy perspective. Within microeconomics, we will study topics such as the structure and failure of markets, work and wages, growing economic inequality, poverty, debt as a means of dispossession, and the gender and racial division of labor.

In winter, we will examine the interrelationship between the U.S. political economy and the changing global system, and U.S. foreign policy. We will study causes and consequences of the globalization of capital and its effects in our daily lives, international migration, and the role of multilateral institutions and trade agreements. This program will analyze the response of societies such as Venezuela and Bolivia and social movements such as labor, feminist, anti-war, environmental, indigenous and youth and the global justice movement in the U.S. and internationally in opposing the global order. We will look at alternatives to neoliberal capitalism including socialism, participatory economies and community-based economies and study strategies for social change. We will study macroeconomics, including austerity and critiques of it, causes and solutions to the high rates of unemployment and underemployment and to economic instability. In winter quarter, as part of the 16 credits, there will be an optional internship for two credits in organizations and groups whose activities are closely related to the themes of this program or the opportunity to write a research paper on a relevant political economy topic.

Students will engage the material through seminars, lectures, guest speakers, films, workshops, synthesis papers based on program material and concepts, and take-home examinations.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

political economy, sociology, economics, history, education, community organizing, labor organizing, global justice movement, law, development and social work.

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.

Required Fees

$100 per quarter for overnight field trips.


Date Revision
September 22nd, 2014 Martha Schmidt has joined this team fall quarter.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 75


Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 10179
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 10597

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


Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Students should have knowledge of fall quarter material and have read key texts. Admission will be based upon interview and written response papers on key fall texts.  Interested students should contact the faculty.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 20096
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 20283

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

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