Spring 2021 Special Topics


POLECON 160 (23836) Richard Ashcroft (TuTh 2:00PM-3:30PM, Online/Synchronous)

“Political Economy and National Identity in Britain and the United States” – Great Britain and the United States of America have deep-seated political, economic, cultural, and historical ties. As well as having both language and law in common, they share an intellectual heritage and distinctive commitment to individual liberty, free-market economics, and limited government. And at pivotal moments in modern history—most notably both World Wars, but also Korea, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and the invasion of Iraq—they have been staunch allies. Yet this “special relationship” has also been marked by conflict and difference. Most obviously during the Wars of Independence and 1812, but also in their varying experiences of (and attitudes towards) religion, race, socialism, and imperialism. Curiously, both nations see themselves as “exceptional” even as they continue to articulate their national identities—in part at least—through comparison to the other. This course will explore the similarities and differences between Great Britain and the United States through examining the relationship between law, political economy, and national identity. We will cover these aspects in turn, looking at each country separately before comparing them, trying to understand their relationships to each other, and thinking about possible ways forward. The course is divided three main parts, each of which is set out on bCourses and on the syllabus: (1) Core Concepts; (2) Political Economy and Law; and (3); National Identity.


GLOBAL 150E (32449) Darren Zook – (TuTh 2:00PM-3:30PM, Online/Asynchronous)

“Nordic Lands: Politics, Society, and Culture” – The Nordic lands have always followed something of a separate path from the rest of Europe, but aside from a few general reference points—the Vikings, Abba, and the much-vaunted but largely misunderstood “Nordic model” welfare state—much of what makes the Nordic lands what they are and what holds them together remain mostly unknown. This course will cover all of the Nordic lands—Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland—exploring all the things that link them together (including an abundance of happiness) and all the things that make each country its own unique thing.

GLOBAL 150Q (31191) Keiko Yamanaka – (MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM, Online/Synchronous)

“Immigration and Multiculturalism in Asia” – Migration divides Asia. On the one hand, a handful of rich, but labor-short, countries demand large numbers of foreign workers for the jobs shunned by citizen workers. On the other hand, many poor countries, with growing populations, send their redundant workforces abroad for earning extra revenues. Consequently, with an influx of global migrants since the 1980s, East Asian nations of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have transformed from relatively homogenous to relatively heterogeneous societies. China, in the meantime, has incorporated the large numbers of rural migrants into the urban labor force. Similarly, Southeast Asian nations of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which have long been multiethnic, face new challenges of accommodating the increasing immigrant populations. These changes are having a profound impact on the region’s economic development, sociocultural discourses, and international relations. This course is designed to analyze natures, processes and consequences of these demographic and sociopolitical transformations in East and Southeast Asia from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives.

GLOBAL 151Q (26952) Crystal Chang Cohen – (TuTh 2:00PM-3:30PM, Online/Synchronous)

“Global China” – This upper-division course focuses on several issues of the political economy of China’s contemporary development, including the socialist state and its market reforms, women and labor, land and urbanization, the environmental dilemma, and Global China.

GLOBAL 198 003 (27219) Darren Zook – (W 2:00PM-3:00PM, Online/Synchronous)

“Building Trust: Is there a path to unity?” – Regardless of where one sits on the political spectrum, it would be difficult to deny that over the past four years the United States has become a more deeply-divided polity and society than at any other time in the recent past. That division has sown the seeds of a pervasive mistrust that corrodes the foundations of civil society and democracy. Mistrust of the media, of political institutions, of policymakers, of persons with different political perspectives, of persons from different identity groups—to name just a few—seems to be growing everywhere. Is it possible to learn to trust again, to build bridges to other persons and communities whose lives and views may differ, often significantly, from our own? If unity is possible, how can we get there? What is the best way forward? This intergenerational dialog is intended to address these and other related questions in a way that is engaging, innovative, transformative, and empowering.


IAS 150 001 (22377) Tiffany Page (TuTh 12:30PM-2:00PM, Online/Synchronous)

“Global Migration: The Political Economy of Displacement” – International migration has been growing rapidly in recent decades and has transformed receiving countries into multicultural societies, which has strained traditional notions of national identity, and is increasingly producing a nativist backlash. In this course, we will analyze global migration patterns and the various factors that drive migration – from violence to lack of economic opportunity to environmental conditions to human trafficking. We will consider the role economic development plays both in terms of displacement and in generating demand for immigrant labor in developed countries. We will examine transnational networks – informal and formal, legal and illegal – that help facilitate migration. We will consider in what ways immigration policy has become less restrictive in the last decade and in what ways it has become more restrictive, as well as the human rights implications.

IAS 150 002 (33635) / IAS 250 001 (26024) Cecilia Lucas (W 2:00PM-5:00PM, Flexible/Synchronous)

“Education and Social Change” – Drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship and local and global case studies, students will examine educational theories, pedagogies, and movements, and their historical and potential roles in contributing to greater social justice, and to social and economic stratification.

The course begins with often taken-for-granted yet highly contested questions: what are the purposes of education, and how do various curricula and pedagogies support and/or contradict those purposes? If one of the purposes of education is poverty alleviation and reducing inequality, how are we to make sense of schools’ stratifying mechanisms? If schools are to prepare “citizens” for political, social and economic engagement, what kinds of “citizens” are being imagined, who is included in that category, and what are the implications thereof? In sum: what kinds of knowledge and capacities should schools be producing, and towards what ends?

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The Berkeley Network for a New Political Economy