Spring 2021

Geography 099
Global Cities
Professor Pablo Bose

What does the global city look like? How has it been produced and reproduced? In this course, we will explore the idea of the global city, not only in its contemporary form, but also through earlier historical periods. We look at various manifestations and mutations, at failed experiments, reinventions and renewals in both the Global South and Global North. From London, New York and Paris to Tokyo, Mumbai and Beijing, from Dubai, Bangalore and Singapore to Toronto, Dublin and Sydney and many more besides, these are the nodes in interconnected networks of capital, labor, resources, and culture. We explore such flows and patterns of interdependencies with particular attention to issues such as inequality, governance, informality, and social justice.

Economics 060
Capitalism & Human Welfare
Professor Stephanie Seguino

The operation of capitalist economies – how they succeed and how they fail in promoting human welfare – is one of the most fundamental questions in the social sciences. Capitalism began to emerge as an economic system in the 1300s, replacing feudalism in many countries. Its impact has been one of rapid technological change and increased output of material goods and services. In the process, it has changed traditional ways of living, expanded the reach of commerce, and transformed social interaction. During this same time period, standards of living have risen in many parts of the world and life expectancy has increased. But capitalism has also been responsible for potentially catastrophic climate change, the degradation of the quality of work for many people, and growing economic inequality, among other problems. As a result, the dynamics of the capitalist system have failed to deliver the same level of improvements in social and economic well-being by class and across countries. Further, the emergence and expansion of capitalism was intimately related to processes of racial identity formation and racial inequality. And, while capitalism has progressively incorporated women into the labor force, undermining old forms of patriarchal domination, some forms of gender inequality within the family and in the economy remain particularly resistant to change under capitalism. This course asks - How does capitalism generate material well-being, when it fails to do so, why, and what can be done to improve human welfare in capitalist economies?

Fall 2020

Anthropology 059
Culture & Environment
Professor Luis Vivanco

This course examines the socio-cultural causes and consequences of environmental degradation around the world, as well as the efforts to solve these problems. We analyze the increasing globalization of human-nature interactions and environmental degradation and consider how solutions to environmental problems have dealt (or not dealt) with culturally-distinct definitions of nature and social change. We do this by examining several case studies of cultural and natural transformations, including (among others) the relationship between capitalism and environmental degradation, debates surrounding water and global warming, and the relationship of indigenous peoples to economic development processes and ecological change. We closely examine the political, moral, and cultural assumptions and operations of the global environmental movement, especially as it relates to non-Western cultures. Reflecting the inherently interdisciplinary and problem-centered character of environmental issues, this course introduces social scientific approaches to environmental problems and the study of environmentalism, drawing primarily from the discipline of cultural anthropology, and to a lesser extent from the disciplines of sociology, history, and political economy. The purpose of this course is to learn how to approach and reflect creatively and critically upon a number of key issues: increasingly globalized structures of inequality and dependence, the impact of development policies on specific peoples and ecosystems (and the resistance of some of those people to these policies), the global circulation of certain kinds of environmental activism, and processes of socio-cultural transformation in non-Western contexts. In other words, this course does not intend to provide right or wrong answers to the profoundly problematic issues it raises, but through case studies, to introduce and analyze patterns, persistent problems, and alternatives to solutions that have already been posed.

Political Science 094
Global Gender Inequality
Professor Caroline Beer

This course asks the question, “Why does the status of women vary so dramatically across countries?” and seeks to answer this question using social science research methods. The main assignment is a workshop style, multi-stage research/writing assignment about the status of women across the world. Each student chooses an indicator of gender equality, collects data on that indicator, and uses the data to test hypotheses about the causes of gender equality. The course includes dedicated time where we work on the research project.