The Media of Capitalism: Money, Commodities, Labor
The course will consist of two parts. First, students will be expected to attend our bi-weekly meetings. A number of those meetings are reading sessions: we will discuss important contributions, both classic and contemporary, to the study of capitalism. This year, one reading session will focus on foundational texts about capitalism. In a series of other sessions, we will consider the dimensions that make up our theme – labor, commodities, and money. In the remaining sessions scholars interested in themes of political economy will present their works-in-progress. Active participation in these discussions is required, as is reading the main paper to be discussed and any background readings for these sessions. Students are also required to draft a one page document mapping out possible questions for discussion, to be submitted by email the night before the meeting. Students might also be asked to comment on another scholar's work.
Second, students are expected to complete an article-length piece of writing, based on original research and related to the theme of the course. To help guide such research, the instructors will meet periodically with students who are taking the course for credit. Students who take the seminar for credit are expected to develop a topic for their research on the following timeline. They should be ready to discuss their proposed topic in a meeting in mid-October and, by October 12, should plan to hand in a one-page proposal outlining their topic, its significance, and their proposed methodology. By November 23, participants will be expected to submit an extended research proposal (5 pages) that explains their research problem in some detail, discusses the relevant secondary literature, and lists the (locally accessible) primary sources they will consult. A first draft of your paper is due on March 8. The final draft of an article-length paper is due on April 23. The seminar includes opportunities for students interested in presenting their research to the wider group; students interested in this option are encouraged to check with the instructors during the fall semester.