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Capitalism: Origins, Alternatives, Futures

Capitalism has been the dominant form of social and economic organization since the industrial revolution.  It defines what we eat, what we wear, how we work, and the value of the education we get at places like Princeton University.  Since its dawn, capitalism has also fueled discontent and revolution.  The word itself, coined by William Thackeray in 1854 in his novel The Newcomes, about love, banking, and backstabbing, caught on after Karl Marx’s death in 1883.  It has been the subject of most continuous debate ever since. 

The Liberal Arts & Action Intellectuals

This is a proposed currculum for Swarthmore College as a potential gift from its Class of 1968/.The author led student input into the College's "Red Book" curriculum reforms in the 1960s but is not a faculty member there. When this was written, he was heading a. public policy research center at George Washington University.

A Leadership Gift -- Class of 1968, Swarthmore College

The Problem of Work

We are often told that the nature of work is changing. But how should we
think about it? From the work ethic to emotional labor, housework to service work, welfare to
unions, this tutorial will explore the history of political ideas about work in the twentieth century.
We will combine readings in classic texts in the history of social and political theory, intellectual
history and feminism to provide students with the major conceptual tools for understanding the
transformation of work in the twentieth century, and in our own.

The Intellectual History of Capitalism: 1900-Present

This course explores the intellectual history of capitalism since the end of the nineteenth century.
Readings include texts written by historians, economists, sociologists, and social and political
theorists, and central topics include the historicization of capitalism, the decline and revival of
laissez-faire, the cultural implications of consumerism, the ethics of inequality, the problem of norms
in the twentieth-century social sciences, and the relationship between the market economy and
democratic governance.

History of Capitalism

In recent years scholars have built upon the work of prior generations of business historians,
labor historians, and economic historians to develop a new field that has become known as the
“history of capitalism.” This seminar will consider the methodologies and substantive
contributions of recent scholarship in the field, in conjunction with classic works on the history
of political economy.

Introduction to Social Studies-Forrester and Terry

Social Studies 10b is an intensive, challenging course designed specifically for sophomores concentrating in Social Studies. This class continues the introduction to the classic texts of social theory begun in Social Studies 10a through the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Authors include, among others, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, W.E.B. Du Bois, Sigmund Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, and Michel Foucault.

U.S. Political and Economic History, 1920 to Present - OMara

Professor Margaret O’Mara’s U.S. Political History, 1920 to Present explores how America’s political and economic spheres have evolved over the past century. The class emphasizes the use of historical knowledge and analysis to support one in understanding the present day more full and, perhaps, to create more effective solutions to today’s most pressing issues.

Introduction to the International Political Economy - Woll

Dr. Cornelia Woll's Introduction to the International Political Economy provides students at Sciences Po Paris with a multidisciplinary perspective on the international political economy; Woll stitches together insights from political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, and history to grant her students a thorough understanding of the evolution of the modern international political economic order. Of particular interest to Dr. Woll are the tensions between capitalism and democracy and between national diversity and the integration of nations into cooperative units.


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