From political movements to technological advances to representations of race, capitalism influences everything. Explore its power.

The Global Capitalism Integrative Pathway will cultivate critical thinking on the topic of capitalism as a social, economic, and cultural form. Students will explore the historical origins and dynamics, social structures, lived experiences of, challenges to, and power of capitalism in a broad range of global and local contexts and across multiple media. The Pathway provides opportunities for students to explore the ways in which capitalism influences cultural representations and contestations, political institutions and movements, social inclusions and exclusions, technological and scientific advancements, and the dynamics of production, commerce and exchange. Themes include the environment, sustainability, the production and consumption of knowledge, dispossession, ecology, gender, identity, imperialism, labor, migration, representation, race, and social movements.

While students will construct their own animating questions, some possible examples might be:

  • Is it possible to escape the colonial gaze in museums honoring the history of indigenous peoples?
  • How does global capitalism promote or discourage democratic representation in the United States?
  • How has capitalism impacted colonized peoples' public health and access to care?
  • Does capitalism foster social mobility as advertised in the “American Dream?"
  • Is it possible to eliminate the class inequalities generated by capitalism?
  • How can government policy exacerbate or mitigate the negative effects of global capitalism?
  • Is a truly sustainable food system possible under a global neoliberal economy?
  • How has literary production derived from a global capitalist culture represented black women?
  • How do capitalist institutions perpetuate the “culture of poverty”?

Thematic Inquiry

The Thematic Inquiry course will be offered each spring as a single four-credit course taught by the Pathway coordinator and core faculty of the Pathway on a rotating basis. The first half of the course will introduce students to global capitalism as a historical and theoretical field of study as well as an arena of contestation and engagement. Topics include theories of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, communism, forms of resistance, neo-liberalism, globalization, urbanization, reparations, restorative justice, and the future of capitalism. In the second half of the course, students will develop an animating question, map itinerary courses, create a global-local engagement plan, and fashion some preliminary ideas for a capstone project.

Global/Local Engagement

Each Pathway requires students to pursue purposeful engagement in a local or international context, such as study away, an internship, or community-based learning.

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