The Evergreen State College
Fall 2001



Political Economy & Social Movements:
Race, Class & Gender

Program Descriprion
Schedule & Rooms

Class webpage

Required Texts
Credit & Evaluation
Week-by-week Outline
Weekly Schedules

Peter Bohmer Seminar 4105 867-6431 Friday 3:15-4:30 &by appointment
Dan Leahy Lab. I 2020  867-6478 By appointment
Simona Sharoni  Seminar 4165 867-6196 By appointment
    Program Secretaries:

    Julie Douglas, Seminar 3127, 867-6550;
    Penny  Hinojosa, Seminar  3129, Tel. 867-6550.


This two-quarter program, which is designed for students with sophomore level standing and above, focuses on the historical construction and current realities of the U.S. and global political economies and on their interaction with social movements.  We will examine how the U.S. and global capitalism have been organized and reorganized over time.  In particular, we will pay attention to the ways in which capitalism has used such differences as class, race and gender to reinforce divisions of power and to determine who benefited from its structures.  We will highlight both historical and contemporary struggles such as the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, struggles of workers and labor unions, the student movement and the anti-globalization movement.  We will learn in detail about the visions and strategies utilized by these various movements to challenge capitalism and to introduce alternatives designed to foster equality and justice for all.

During fall quarter, we will focus primarily on the construction of U.S. capitalism, its effects and the struggles against it with a particular emphasis on its relation to race and racism, class relations, and gender and sexism.  In this context, we will also learn about various ideologies such as Marxism, anarchism, feminism and anti-racism that have competed for popular acceptance and inspired popular struggles. In addition, students will gain a clear understanding of current economic restructuring efforts and the reorganization of the state.  Finally, students will gain a working knowledge of economics theory from classical  to Marxist to neoclasssical economics.

During winter quarter we will expand and deepen our inquiry by moving beyond the confines of the U.S. to examine such topics as the nature of globalization and the structures and effects of neoliberalism.  We will also familiarize ourselves with reformist and more fundamental alternatives to the neoliberal agenda and with the role of the anti-globalization movement in challenging neoliberalism.  To better illustrate these complex issues and processes, we will examine a few case studies, one of which will be Mexico.

Rather than assuming that we the teachers have all the knowledge and that our primary task is to share it with you, we view the class as a learning community, as a context where we all learn and teach. We are committed to a type of pedagogy that focuses not only on the presentation of content, facts, and information, but also on the ways in which particular theories and topics could be taught so they resonate with your every day lives and experiences.  As we read, meet with various people and participate in class activities, we will experience a range of emotions, generate  insights and identify many questions. Throughout this process, you will be encouraged to think critically and independently and to question taken for granted assumptions you hold about the world in general and the subject-matter of this program in particular.

11:00 AM– 1:00 PM
All program
 Lab I 1047
2:00--4:30 PM
Seminar (Peter & Dan) L2130-Dan, L2204-Peter
9:00—10:50 AM
Seminar (Simona) Lib 2118
9:00-11:00 AM
All program L4300 (occasionally also L2118 &  L2204)
11:00 AM-1:30 PM All program Lecture Hall 3
10:00 AM-Noon  All program Lecture Hall 5
1:00-3:00 PM
Seminars  L2221 (Dan),L2204 (Peter), L2458 (Simona)


Cyberspace has become a central terrain for social and political organizing and the dissemination of alternative, counter-hegemonic information. We would like to encourage you to explore what this terrain has to offer as well as its shortcomings.  Towards this end, we have created a webpage for the class.  Presently it includes the syllabus and several links to sites relevant to our class.  We will also use the webpage to help you keep with current events as they unfold.  In addition, we are in the process of creating an email Listserv for the class, which will allow us to post announcements and keep in touch with you between classes. If you don’t already have an email account, you need to get one ASAP.  Every student gets an Evergreen account upon registration and you can get a free email account by going to or or


· Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
· Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
· Margaret Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins (eds.), Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology  (4th edition)
· Randy Albelda, Robert Drago and Steve Shulman, Unlevel Playing Fields: Understanding  Wage Inequality and Discrimination
· bell hooks,  Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
· Joe Feagin, Racist America: Roots, Current Realities and Future Reparations
· Robert Heilbroner, Marxism, For and Against
· Robert Tucker ed., The Marx-Engels Reader (2nd edition)—selections
· Phillip Green, Equality and Democracy
· Howard Zinn,  A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present
· Meredith Tax, The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity
· Alice Lynd and Staughton Lynd (eds.) Rank and File : Personal Histories by Working Class Organizers
· Christine Kelly, Tangled Up in Red, White and Blue, New Social Movements in America

· Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
The assignments are designed to maximize your learning.  They will help you integrate theoretical concepts and reading material with your life experiences and apply what you learn to real-life problems and situations.  In addition to prompting you to think about certain issues and questions in preparation for in-class activities and discussions, assignments are designed to improve your critical thinking and your writing and research skills. Because of the volume of material covered in the class, it is very important that you don’t fall behind and submit ALL your assignments on time.
You have the option to re-write ALL your assignments and re-submit them with your final portfolio. The number of suggested pages refer to double spaced typed, about 300 words per page.

1. Ongoing assessment of expectations and learning goals

a. Assessing one’s baggage: expectations, learning goals and worldview (2 pages)
Following a class exercise on the first day of class, reflect on why you registered for this class, comment on  any prior knowledge about or experience with these issues and clearly state what you expect to learn in this class and whatever concerns you may have. In addition, we would like you to focus on some of the key beliefs and assumptions, which underlie your worldview.
Due Friday, September 28

b. Reflecting on and revising initial statement in light of things you learned in the program (1 page)
Identify new learning goals and reflect on changes in your beliefs and perspective.
Due Friday, October 26th

c. Self-evaluation (1 page)
Reflect on your cumulative learning, addressing both content and process and relating your evaluation to your initial and mid-quarter statements. Bring rough draft to class on Wednesday, December 5th.
Due Friday, December 7th

2. Weekly Response Paper on Readings (1-2 pages per week)

Write an essay each week, except for week 4, identifying the main thesis or theses of the major reading of the week.  In your paper,  explain how the author supports her/his thesis and whether they are convincing. Include in your essay your analytical response to  the readings as well as a question or theme that you would like to raise in seminar. It is suggested but not required that you also include in your main essay or separately a response to other readings for the week. Each week you will exchange your writing with a different student in the seminar who will write their name and  a brief critique  on the paper. At the end of the fifth week, you will turn in to your seminar leader the four  responses written in  the first five weeks. At the end of the quarter, you will turn in the nine response papers written over the 10 weeks. Submit that copy of the response papers that include the  comments from the student you exchanged your paper with.
Due: Friday in seminar each week  Turn in bound together to faculty, weeks 1-5, Friday,  October, 26th; and weeks 1-10;  Friday, December 7th.
3t (2-3 pages)

3. Conference assignment (2-3 pages)

In lieu of our regular class on Friday, October 5, you should attend at least 2 sessions of the conference “Globalizing Justice and Peace: Visions and Strategies” sponsored by the Consortium on Peace Research, Education & Development (COPRED) and the Peace Studies Association (PSA).  Based on your participation in the sessions, you should write 2 brief reports summarizing the main issues and themes addressed.  In you wish you can substitute one report with an interview you’ll conduct with one of the conference’s presenters.  Selected reports will be published in the COPRED Peace Chronicle and on the conference webpage as part of the conference proceedings.  For more information about the conference and for a list of the session, check the conference webpage at:
Put one copy in your portfolio, to be submitted with you response papers at the end of the quarter,   and email one copy to
Due: Tuesday, October 9.

4. Reflective Essay (3-5 pages)

This assignment is designed to help you come to terms with the impact of the dominant myths in the United States concerning class, gender, and race on your own identity and experience.  How does the dominant ideology and social reality differ? Your essay should combine personal reflections with analysis explicitly using at least two of the required readings in this program.
Due: Friday, October 19th

5. Film Review  (3-4 pages)

Choose a film from this program that addresses at least two central themes we explored in class and critically examine it in relation to these themes. You should watch the film prior to completing this assignment even if you’ve seen it before. Your review should contain a brief description of the film’s content and a major section featuring your analysis of how the film deals with political economy, social movements or gender, race and class.
Due: Wednesday, November 14th at 9 A.M

6. Synthesis Paper (5-7 pages)

This paper should reflect your cumulative learning in this class. Your paper should include at least 3 references to class readings, including direct quotes as well as integrate insights from class discussions and activities.  While the paper would benefit from your critical reflection of what you personally learned, this is a highly analytical paper, so limit your personal reflections as you have the opportunity to elaborate on this in your self-evaluation.
A preliminary list of topics will be posted on the program’s webpage. If you decide to choose a topic that is not on the list, please contact your seminar leader, describing the topic and your reasons for choosing it.
Due: Wednesday,  November 28th at 9:00 A.M.


Students in this program are expected  to complete a substantial amount of reading, and analytical writing. Students are expected to attend ALL class sessions.  Absences may result in make-up work; More than 2 unexcused absences will result in loss of credit. In addition, students are expected:
· To participate in class activities
· To submit all assignments by the date due
· To keep up with current events
· To write a narrative self-evaluation and a faculty evaluation of their seminar leader
· To attend an evaluation conference at the end of each quarter

16 credits will be earned in U.S. History; Political Economy;  Race, Class and Gender; Social Movement Theory; and History of Economic Thought.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of: 1) the development of their critical thinking and understanding of political economic analysis and structured inequalities; 2) their participation in seminar; and 3) their writing.

Week 1: Introduction: Education as a Tool for Social Change

I. The Realities Behind the Myths

Week 2: Economic Inequality
Week 3: The Myth of Racial Integration and the reality of racism and racial inequality
Week 4: The Myth of Gender equality and the reality of Sexism and Gender inequalities

II. Analyzing Systems of Inequality:
Theoretical Perspectives in Historical Context

Week 5: Marxism, Capitalism
Week 6: Equality, Democracy and Justice
Week 7: Political Economy History: U.S. Capitalism, from Civil War to 1920s
Week 8: Political Economy History: Capitalism, 1930s to the present

III. Transforming Systems of Inequality:
Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change

Week 9:  Social Movements: History, Theory and Contemporary Challenges
Week 10: Envisioning a Different Future: Struggling for Alternatives