Theories and Histories of Capitalism (PEC4141.01)

Emma Kast

What is capitalism? When and where did it begin? This course traces the intellectual history of political economic thinking about capitalism. We will be attentive to the different ideological lenses through which capitalism is perceived and discussed. The course will include an in-depth examination of classical liberal theory and its critique – key figures like John Locke, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx – and move through twentieth-century thinkers such as John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek. We will compare national historical narratives, such as those which highlight England as the birthplace of capitalist property relations, to global narratives, which decenter the industrial hub of England and highlight the making of the rift between the Global North and the Global South as most significant to the birth of capitalism. Throughout the course, we will also examine key concepts associated with capitalism such as “labor,” “capital,” “property,” “exploitation,” and “freedom.”

Learning Outcomes:
In this course, we aim to,
• Gain a sense of the debates surrounding the origins of capitalism.
• Engage different perspectives on capitalism’s social, political, and economic effects.
• Become well acquainted with key primary texts of political economic thinkers.
• Develop and deepen writing and verbal analytical skills.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing; at least two previous courses in Society, Culture and Thought. Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Political Economy