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Political Economy

The political economy minor investigates the nature and consequences of the dynamic interaction between political and economic forces.  These forces are shaped and driven by a complex array of social relationships and interests, and are expressed through a diverse range of processes that operate at the local, national, and global levels.  Courses in the minor explore the political-economic dynamic from multiple disciplinary perspectives, historical angles and conceptual approaches.

To earn a minor in political economy, students must complete five courses: two required core courses and three electives.  The core courses, located in the departments of Economics, International Affairs, and Sociology-Anthropology introduce students to various theories of political economy and examine their application to significant national and international patterns and developments.

The elective courses are distributed into three concentrations and one class must be taken from each.  Classes in the first concentration, “Global Dynamics,” explore how living and working conditions throughout the world are shaped by the interrelationship between national and global political and economic processes.  Classes in the second concentration, “National Structures and Power,” examine the ways in which the roots and exercise of power, as well as socio-cultural dynamics, are structured by the political-economic relationship as it emerges in a unique national context.  Classes in the third concentration, “Cultural Forces and Social Movements,” investigate theoretically and practically the importance and interplay of culture, power, resistance and social change.  

Potential employers and graduate programs seek liberal arts graduates who have strong analytical skills and knowledge of contemporary events; a political economy minor offers evidence of such preparation.  Reflecting the sponsoring faculty’s broad array of training and interests, the minor highlights a wide range of topics and potential applications.  Examples include the interplay between social relations and the organization of production; the relationship between governments and markets in determining national development, power, and political stability; the ways in which ideas, discourse, gender, race, and identity affect and interact with political and economic forces to structure social environments; the influence of state power on the global economy; and the role of social movements in promoting economic and political change.

Students may enhance any major through the addition of a minor in political economy. Those interested in becoming a political economy minor should schedule a meeting with one of the sponsoring faculty to discuss program offerings and develop a curricular plan.

Political Economy

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