2011-12 Catalog

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2011-12 Undergraduate Index A-Z

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Political Economy [clear]

Title   Offering Standing Credits Credits When F W S Su Description Preparatory Faculty Days Multiple Standings Start Quarters Open Quarters
Lori Blewett and Trevor Griffey
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter Persuasive efforts have shaped American history. The past is full of moments when individual women and men have been persuaded by others to act for a common cause, sometimes at great personal sacrifice. In this program, the ideological mechanism of persuasion, in both public and private discourse, will be the primary lens through which we analyze American history. What persuasive strategies were employed by historic social change advocates? Why were some strategies more successful than others? To help answer these questions, we will read texts that draw upon communication studies, American history, cultural studies, political economy, and social change theory. Students will also conduct their own investigations using a variety of analytical tools to examine primary historical documents including speeches, letters, news articles, advertisements, and other artifacts of persuasion. In order to foster students' capacity to engage in public debate and enhance their rhetorical skills, we will experiment with communicating in a variety of public media. In addition to writing traditional papers, students will report on their research in the form of group radio and television programs, oral presentations, and electronic news articles. Training in essential skills associated with these forms of communication will be spread throughout both quarters. In the winter, students will have the opportunity to conduct oral history interviews with contemporary social activists. Since rhetoric alone is rarely the impetus for social change, we will ground our investigations in the material history of competing social, economic, and political forces. We will study a wide range of social change efforts from across the political spectrum in order to better understand the evolution of U.S. history and its influence on current ideological conflicts and relations of power. We will give special attention to the role of the media in shaping public debate: from social movement broadsheets such as William Lloyd Garrison's to the work of muckraking journalists like Ida Tarbell, up through the present influence of corporate media and do-it-yourself blogs. Because of the media's ability to amplify, minimize, redirect, and even spark social activism, and because of the media's essential role in democratic decision-making, media history and political economy will be key elements in our investigations. communication, history, politics, rhetoric, social movement studies, journalism, and social advocacy. Lori Blewett Trevor Griffey Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall Winter
Martha Rosemeyer, Thomas Johnson and David Muehleisen
Signature Required: Winter 
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter What is a food system? Why does it matter? A battle for the future of our food system is being waged between competing visions. On one side is the global, industrial-based system that provides large quantities of inexpensive food along with significant environmental and social impacts. The competing vision is a local, community-based system that produces higher quality, more expensive food while seeking to minimize environmental and social impacts. We will explore these competing visions from a critical perspective of social and ecological sustainability. Critical questions that will inform our inquiry include: Can a humane, socially just agricultural system that minimizes environmental degradation meet the food needs of the world? Can farmers be stewards of the soil, biodiversity and landscape? Can we grow high-quality food that is available to everyone? How did we get into this food system predicament anyway? Are local, sustainable food systems best?This program will provide a broad, interdisciplinary study of agriculture. We will emphasize developing "systems" thinking and skills associated with community work, expository writing, laboratory and library research, as well as quantitative reasoning skills. Lectures will focus on ecological principles applied to agroecosystems, soil science and fertility management, crop and livestock management, as well as local to global food system structure, socio-economic aspects of agriculture and agricultural history. Labs will provide a hands-on introduction to soil ecology and fertility. Students will identify needs, gather data and write a report of relevance to developing a sustainable local food system. Multi-day field trips will allow students to visit farms working toward sustainability, meet key players in food system change and attend meetings such as the Washington Tilth Producers conference and Eco-Farm conference in California. : The Agroecology portion of fall quarter will emphasize energy flow and biodiversity as applied to agricultural systems, using Steve Gliessman's textbook, second edition. A social science approach will focus on the role that ideas and institutions have played in shaping US agriculture. We will work toward assessing the needs of our local food system. Seminar books will support our inquiry. Field trips, as well as attending the Tilth Conference in Yakima are planned. : The agroecology portion will focus on soil science, soil ecology and nutrient cycling. We will work with civic engagement as a way to move us toward our vision. A policy workshop focusing both on local and national policy such as the 2012 Farm Bill is planned. Students will gather data and write a report on a particular aspect appropriate to developing a local food system in Thurston County. There will be an emphasis on lab exercises, critical analysis, library research and expository writing. Seminar books will again support our inquiry. A field trip to attend the Eco-Farm conference in California will be part of the curriculum. Students interested in continuing their studies of agriculture in spring quarter can continue with with Donald Morisato and Martha Rosemeyer or with Dave Muehleisen and Stephen Bramwell. Farm, nursery and garden management; agriculture, food system and environmental consulting firms; state and county agricultural and natural resource agencies; and agricultural and food justice non-profit organizations. Martha Rosemeyer Thomas Johnson David Muehleisen Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall Winter
Jeanne Hahn
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 16 16 Day S 12Spring history, political economy, political science, secondary education, graduate school, and informed citizenship. Jeanne Hahn Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Peter Bohmer
Signature Required: Spring 
  Contract SO–SRSophomore - Senior 16 16 Day S 12Spring This is an opportunity for advanced students to create their own course of study and research in political economy, social movements or related subjects.  The faculty sponsor will suppport students in carrying out studies in social movements, national or global; alternate economic systems, the 1930's, the 1960's, Latin American studies, Greece, political economy, radical and revolutionary theory; the contemporary economic crisis, poverty, racism and anti-racism, labor studies and labor history, U.S. foreign policy, Cuba, history of economic thought, the economics of inequalithy, immigration, or 20th and 21st century U.S. history. Peter Bohmer Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Tom Womeldorff
Signature Required: Winter 
  Program SO–SRSophomore - Senior 16 16 Day W 12Winter This program is designed for students who are interested in critically studying economics beyond the introductory level. In the mornings, we will complete the equivalent of textbook intermediate macroeconomics which focuses primarily on the determinants of economic growth, employment rates, inflation and income distribution.  We will assess the "appropriate" roles for the federal government in the economy (e.g., determining the right fiscal and monetary policy mix, setting exchange rates and eliminating/creating trade barriers).  A standard intermediate macroeconomics textbook and workbook will be used. While there is no specific math prerequisite, extending our math skills will be an objective of the program. In the process, we will critically assess the limits of macroeconomic theory. For example, does the theory adequately consider income distribution effects of policy options?  Do macroeconomic prescriptions contribute to gender inequalities?  To what extent do ideological predispositions intersect with the science of economics, influencing prescriptions about the size of the money supply or the judged appropriateness of tax cuts?In afternoon seminars, we will survey areas of applied macroeconomics and gain a familiarity with the various schools of thought (i.e., Keynesian, Post-Keynesian, Monetarist, Austrian and Marxian approaches). Our readings will be chosen from literature written by economists for other economists as represented in academic journals such as the . Students will be involved in selecting some of the readings.Program activities will include lectures, workshops, exams, short research papers, and seminar. Tom Womeldorff Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Winter Winter
Lawrence Mosqueda
Signature Required: Spring 
  Program JR–SRJunior - Senior 16 16 Day S 12Spring "I am not a Marxist." -Karl Marx "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." -Karl Marx "Sit down and read. Educate yourself for the coming conflicts." -Mary Harris (Mother) Jones If one believes the current mass media, one would believe that Marxism is dead and that the "end of history" is upon us. As Mark Twain is reported to have said upon news accounts of his demise, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." The same, of course, is true for Marxist Theory. Few Americans have read more than , if that. Very few "educated" people have a clear understanding of Marx's concept of alienation, the dialectic, historical materialism, or his analysis of labor or revolutionary change. In this course we will examine the development of Marx's thought and Marxist Theory. We will read and discuss some of Marx's early and later writings as well as writings of Lenin and others. We will also explore concrete examples of how "dialectics" and "materialism" can be applied to race and gender issues. At the end of the program, students should have a solid foundation for the further study of Marxist analysis. social science and law, and education. Lawrence Mosqueda Tue Thu Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Anthony Zaragoza and Jeanne Hahn
  Program SO–SRSophomore - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter The world is undergoing profound change at the global, state and local levels. This program will introduce students to the major political-economic concepts and historical developments necessary for a deep and usable understanding of these changes. It is intended to provide a foundation for advanced work in political economy and the social sciences as well as enable students to become effective citizens and social agents. We will examine the historical construction and interrelated nature of the U.S. political economy, including its place in the larger world system and its operation at the local level. We will also consider the role social movements have played and examine possibilities for social justice, self-determination and equality.The nature, development and concrete workings of modern capitalism will be a major focus. This means our study will draw on a range of social science disciplines, including history, political science, economic history, sociology and cultural studies to develop a multidisciplinary, multilevel understanding of the concepts, historical periods and social movements which will form our curriculum.In fall, we will study the U.S. political-economic trajectory from the early national period to the current manifestation, neoliberalism. There will be a particular focus on key events, processes and periods such as migrations, social movements, economic crises, privatization, and industrialization, deindustrialization and automation. Throughout we will attempt to include a global and local context. Our studies of transformation will examine the relationship between building movement (ongoing changing conditions) and movement building (responses to these conditions) and constructions of race, class and gender relations in the context of these transformations.The winter will continue to focus on the interrelationships among the globalization process, the U.S. political economy, and changes at the local level. We will study the causes and consequences of the deepening globalization and technologizing of capital and its effects on daily lives. We will pay attention to the human consequences of imperialist globalization and resistance to it. Beginning in the fall but focused in the winter students will engage in a research project in which they examine the political economy of their own hometowns over the last several decades.Films will be shown throughout the program. There will be a substantial amount of reading in a variety of genres, which will be discussed in seminars. Workshops and role-playing exercises in economics, globalization, writing and organizing for social change will be used. Students will write a series of analytical essays, and learn about popular education, participatory research, and academic methodologies. education, labor, community and global justice, social services, history, law, nonprofit work, political economy and informed civic participation. Anthony Zaragoza Jeanne Hahn Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall
Lawrence Mosqueda
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall This program focuses on the issue of power in American society. In the analysis we will investigate the nature of economic, political, social, military, ideological and interpersonal power. The interrelationship of these dimensions will be a primary area of study. We will explore these themes through lectures, films, seminars, a journal and short papers. The analysis will be guided by the following questions, as well as others that may emerge from the discussions: What is meant by the term "power"? Are there different kinds of power and how are they interrelated? Who has power in American society? Who is relatively powerless? Why? How is power accumulated? What resources are involved? How is power utilized and with what impact on various sectors of the population? What characterizes the struggle for power? How does domestic power relate to international power? How is international power used? How are people affected by the current power structure? What responsibilities do citizens have to alter the structure of power? What alternative structures are possible, probable, necessary or desirable? In this time of war and economic, social and political crisis, a good deal of the program will focus on international relations in a systematic and intellectual manner. This is a serious class for serious people. Please be prepared to work hard and to challenge your and others' previous thinking. social sciences, law and education. Lawrence Mosqueda Tue Wed Thu Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall
Peter Bohmer
Signature Required: Spring 
  SOS SO–SRSophomore - Senior 10 10 Day and Evening S 12Spring Students will participate in and study topics related to the Occupy Movement.  As part of their SOS program, students will participate in the weekly Occupy Symposium. We will aanalyze and examine  diverse strategies and perspectives within the Occupy Movement, and develop skills valuable for building the occupy movement. The focus of one's study and participation can be the Occupy Movement in Olympia or in other locales. Studying similar movements in other countries such as "the Indignados" in Spain is also acceptable.  In addition to the Occupy Symposium, we will meet once a week as a group. Most of the work and credit will be based on participation and reflection in the Occupy and related social movements, although there will be some common readings. Peter Bohmer Mon Thu Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Jose Gomez and Michael Vavrus
  Program SO–SRSophomore - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter Howard Zinn (1922-2010), arguably more ably and comprehensively than any other historian, documented injustice and dissent as defining features of the United States from its founding to the present. His steadfast commitment to democratic values, justice and equality, along with his assurance that "small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress," have also inspired countless Americans to protest unjust laws, policies and practices. In this program, we will use Zinn's life and works as a framework to study the centrality of dissent to American democracy and the impact it has had on weaving the nation's social, political and cultural fabric. We will study how ordinary people, from pre-revolutionary America to the present, have stood up to power in order to redeem the Bill of Rights' guarantee of protecting people from the government rather than protecting government from the people. Along with our study of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, class, age, disability and sexual orientation that continues to defy the constitutional promise of equality, we will examine how political dissent, so essential to correcting these inequalities, has been suppressed and criminalized from the 18th century's odious Sedition Act to the 21st century's reactionary U.S.A. Patriot Act. While there will be no clear demarcation of themes between quarters, events of the 18th and 19th centuries will receive our greatest attention in the fall quarter, and events of the 20th and 21st centuries will receive our closest scrutiny in the winter quarter. Program activities will include lectures, workshops, films, seminars, guest presentations, and group and individual projects. law, education, public policy, political theory, history, and political science. Jose Gomez Michael Vavrus Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall Winter