FALL TERM 2021

This Fall 2021 term, our visiting professor is John Peters, previously a  Professor at Laurentian University. He will be teaching two courses, one for Political Economy (PECO 5503F) and one for Sociology (SOCI 5806).

PECO 5000F [0.5 credit]
Theories of Political Economy
Instructor: Justin Paulson

This seminar examines both foundational and contemporary theoretical perspectives of capitalism, settler colonialism, the modern state, and relations of power. Contending views of the dynamics governing economic, political, and cultural changes in the modern era, and of modernity itself, will be explored. What light do these theories shed on processes of socio-economic change and the complex relationship between the economic, the cultural, and the political? How ought we to identify the collective actors engaged in making these changes, the sites of their interaction, and the processes through which collective identities are constituted? What are classes, and are they important? What of sex and gender, race, and other bases of both identity formation and oppression? Is ‘capitalism’ still a discrete entity (and was it ever so)? How does it intersect with racism and settler colonialism in Canada today? What is ‘neoliberalism’, and is ‘globalisation’ a new phenomenon? How do we make sense of economic and social crisis?

Course Outline

PECO 5002F [0.5 credit]
Political Economy of Work and Labour
Instructor: Jane Stinson

Students in this seminar will analyze the social, political and economic conditions within which capital and labour interact in Canada. Key events in the history of Canadian work and labour as well as current concerns and emerging challenges will be examined. Actions by trade unions will be central in this analysis. Through the readings and discussions, we will consider and assess organizing, bargaining and political action strategies focussing on core concepts of mobilization and solidarity. The theme of equity in work and in the labour movement will be woven into readings and discussions. We will develop intersectional analytical skills to note and address inequalities of class, gender, race, abilities and sexual orientation in work and labour. Particular attention will be paid to the public sector, to the role of unions in challenging the growth of inequality and precarious employment and to the future of work post-pandemic.

Questions for seminar discussions include: What are the elements of effective organizing and bargaining strategies? How can the union movement mobilize and build solidarity between workers and with other members of society? What are decolonizing and inclusive strategies for the labour movement?  Why is intersectional analysis important and what difference will it make? Why is it important to recognize experience and build in reflective practices?

Course Outline

PECO 5503F (SOCI 5805I/ PSCI 5915H) [0.5 credit]
Selected Problems in Work and Labour: Labour and Environmental Policy

Instructor: John Peters

This course addresses the climate crisis – one of many problems facing working people today. It explores some of the key drivers of global warming, and how workers and unions are currently tied to systems that are destroying the earth’s climate. It also considers the proposals for a ‘Green New Deal’ – new policies and investments that aim to achieve environmental sustainability, economic stability, and equality. The course concludes by examining how and why new political alliances between labour, citizens, and environmental actors (or ‘blue-green alliances’) can be forged to push governments towards developing policies that meet the scale and urgency of the climate crisis in Canada and the world.

Course Outline

SOCI 5806 [0.5 credit]
The Political Sociology of Equiality
Instructor: John Peters

This course introduces students to the political sociology of equality. In recent years, the study of inequality and its solutions has rapidly developed as one of the most important areas of interdisciplinary study. The seminar will survey some of the major topics related to combatting inequality and introduce students to policies that would improve work, employment, and social well-being.

Throughout the course, students will explore a range of inequalities in contemporary Canada that raise political issues of fairness and injustice. Students will be introduced to empirical patterns of poverty, wealth, and income inequality in Canada and other countries and discuss political economic explanations for these patterns.  The course also examines a range of solutions including better labour legislation, childcare, and immigration reform, as well as considers key practices for making change. By the end of the course, students will understand some of the hurdles to making Canada a better place to live and work, as well as the politics and policy required to redesign its economy and society in the common interest.

Course Outline

PECO 5900 [0.5 credit]
Tutorial in Political Economy

Directed readings on selected aspects of political economy, involving preparation of papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor. Offered when no regular course offering meets a candidate’s specific needs.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Director.
Form: Tutorial Approval Form

WINTER TERM 2022

This Winter 2021 term, our visiting professor is Dr. Deniz Duruiz. Dr. Duruiz is the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. Dr. Duruiz will be teaching two courses, one for Political Economy (PECO 5504W) and one for Sociology (SOCI 5806).

PECO 5001W [0.5 credit]
Methodology of Political Economy
Instructor: Patricia Ballamingie

This seminar prepares students to undertake a significant independent research project at the graduate level. Designed largely as a workshop, the course provides hands-on training in how to design, conduct, and produce scholarly research. Course materials provoke students to think critically about methodology and their own methodological choices as researchers. Topics include the relationship of methodology to matters of theory and evidence, as well as to epistemology and the ethics and politics of knowledge production. These concerns will also be linked to more nuts-and-bolts issues, including how to turn a broad project topic into one or more researchable questions. It sets out to expand students’ awareness of the range of methodologies they might enlist in their work and provide them with tools for evaluating the research methods best suited to their own questions, training, and objects of inquiry.

Course Outline

PECO 5504W/SOCI 5806W/PSCI 5915X/ANTH 5708I [0.5 credit]
Issues in Work and Labour: Labor, Social Difference, and Subjectivity
Instructor: Deniz Duruiz

Jason Read reminds us that what set Marx apart from prior political economists was his emphasis on subjectivity (Read 2003). According to Marx, what we do all day every day determines our relationship to ourselves, the world around us, and to humanity at large. Although his views on the particularities of labor, consciousness, and subjectivity have been reinterpreted, nuanced, amended, and challenged, it is undeniable that who we are is intimately linked with the work we do. Drawing on critical theory, social history and ethnography, we will ask: How does our background (family, class, race, gender, education) affect the work we do? How does the everyday activity of labor differentially inform our present (our bodies, health, success, happiness, respectability) and our future (prospects of class mobility, credit line, property ownership, social reproduction), and our individual and collective sense of being? What are the hierarchies, inequalities, and forms of oppression and exploitation generated by the capitalist organization of labor? How do the legacies of colonialism, slavery, and patriarchy survive in those inequalities? How did the meaning and the activity of work change over two centuries of capitalism? Which activities count as work? And can we think of a future without work?

The course will start with Adam Smith’s and Marx’s writings on labor both as a concept of political economy and an everyday activity. Each week, pairing critical theory with social history and/or labor ethnographies, we will explore the topics of modernity and working class, slave labor, indigenous labor/land theft, women’s labor, migrant labor, labor in racial capitalism, education and labor, unemployment and homelessness, white-collar work in finance and culture industry, and refusal of work. Exploring these issues theoretically as well as through historical and ethnographic examples, students will question how social difference factors into the relationship between labor and subjectivity. In doing so, the students will gain an understanding of labor in relation not only to the production of wealth but also to the production of subjectivities distinguished along the lines of race, gender, class, citizenship, and alternative forms of social belonging.

Course Outline – to be posted

SOCI 5806X/ANTH 5708U [0.5 credit]
Political Economy of Migration and Im/mobilities
Instructor: Deniz Duruiz

It has been nearly three decades since globalization was first lauded as a transition from a protectionist nation-state-based rule to a transnational interconnectedness marked by a free flow of services, commodities, people, and ideas. Soon this celebration gave way to its critiques: only some people had the privilege to enjoy these free flows and accelerated mobilities. Others were forced to migrate, got stuck at borders, and did not have the time, money, papers, or other means of access to the circulating goods and services. COVID-19 pandemic amplified the inequalities in people’s capacities and rights to mobility and immobility (crossing borders, travelling across provinces/cities, working from home…etc.). In this course we will trace these inequalities through the histories of colonialism, the nation-state, and capitalism. Starting with the artificial and unstable distinction between the so-called economic migrants and (political) refugees, which forms the basis of the immigration barriers of the Global North, we will critically examine how contemporary immigration laws and policies, border regimes, humanitarian logics of aid articulate with the global circulation of labor power, production of criminality, and ³the social worlds and subjectivities produced at the border´ (Mezzadra and Neilson 2013, 17).

In this course, we will read multiple genres of texts on migration: summaries of international law on migration, critical theories and on migration and borders, academic articles and ethnographies on European migrant crisis´, contested issues of migration at the US-Mexico border, refugee’s economic and life experiences in Canada and around the world, various practices of South to South migration, transit migration, asylum, and exile, and several ethnographies and a novel about classed, racialized, medicalized, criminalized, and laboring migrant bodies. The aim of this course is to develop a critical perspective on the political economy of migration, which questions essentialized political and legal categories of migration and prioritizes the human experience over state-centric perspectives that reproduce global power structures.

Course Outline – to be posted

PECO 5900 [0.5 credit]
Tutorial in Political Economy

Directed readings on selected aspects of political economy, involving preparation of papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor. Offered when no regular course offering meets a candidate’s specific needs.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Director.
Form: Tutorial Approval Form

PECO 6000W [0.5 credit]
Political Economy: Core Concepts
Instructor: Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

Drawing on classical and contemporary writings, this course provides an opportunity to reflect on core concepts in political economy. Topics will be selected in consultation with participating units, taking into account the potential number of students, their research interests and those of the participating units.