Hist 312, Fall 2019

Economy and Society in Historical Discourse
Hist. 312, Section 1
Offered by the Department of History, University of Arizona
Fall Semester, 2019

Wednesday,  6:30-9:00pm
Chavez 302

David N. Gibbs, Professor of History
Office: Cesar Chavez 338
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 8:30-10:00am
Tel: 621-5416
Email: dgibbs@email.arizona.edu

** Class Announcements **
Students should check the above site regularly.

Trigger Warning: 
This class contains offensive material. If this is a problem for you, then you should select a different class.

Syllabus URL: 



    This course will analyze how international political relations among states interacts with the international economy. The following specific areas will be emphasized: theories of international political economy; the consequences of American hegemony during the post-1945 era; the political significance of international capital mobility (a process also known as “globalization”); the role of large corporations as independent actors in the international arena; efforts at structural adjustment in Third World and former communist states; the historical development of worldwide wealth inequality; and recent developments, such as the Great Recession.

   There are no specific prerequisites, although two semesters of introductory economics are recommended.  Students are expected to understand basic economic concepts and vocabulary.

   Overall, this class will require approximately 50 pages of reading per week. 


Class Attendance

    This is a class in which consistent attendance is vital. Since we will meet only once per week, for two and a half hours, in-class discussions will comprise approximately half of each class. All students are expected to have done the assigned readings for each week, and to be able to discuss the readings in class. Note that readings are to be completed by the specified class date, as listed in the syllabus. Class participation will count toward the final grade. Each student is allowed to miss one class without penalty. Thereafter, students will lose three points from their final grade for each additional class that they miss. 

    Students are expected to arrive in class on time. Please do not come late on a regular basis, as this is disruptive. 

    Note that the following circumstances constitute legitimate reasons to miss a class or assignment without penalty: illness, death in family, religious holiday, or mandatory military service. Students who claim such reasons must be prepared to present documentation, such as a note from a doctor, clergy, or commanding officer. 


Short Papers

    Students are required to write eleven short papers (of 2-3 pages each). These papers will be due at intervals throughout the semester, as indicated below. I will announce the paper topics via email. The completed papers are due the following week. Each student will write his/her paper in response to the assigned question. Your papers will be graded based on the following considerations: how well the paper analyzes the question; how well the student has understood the specified reading, as indicated by the contents of the paper; and the overall quality of writing. Note that writing style and grammar will be considered in grading the papers.  

    My grading policy: The lowest of grade will be dropped, at the end of the semester. Thus, the overall short paper component of the final grade will comprise the highest ten grades. Even though one grade will be dropped, students must hand in all eleven papers. If a paper is not handed in, then the grade for that paper will be recorded as an E and will not be dropped. 

    Plagiarism is strictly forbidden. For further information on this topic, see the UA History Department, Policy on Academic Dishonesty


Final Exam

   There will be a comprehensive final exam, which will synthesize the lectures, class discussions, and readings. Note that the final is not required for students who have an A average by the end of classes. The final is required for all students whose grade is lower than an A. 



   The final grade for the class will be calculated as follows:

               Short papers -- 65 percent
               Final exam -- 35 percent.

Again, note that the final exam is not required for students with an A average by the end of classes.

   Students must take the final exam on the scheduled date. Please look at the syllabus and make sure that the final date is open for you. If you have an engagement scheduled for one of the required dates -- if you have a wedding or a sports event, for example -- then you should take another class. 


Students with Disabilities

    I will be happy to arrange the assignments in any reasonable way that is consistent with the student's needs, in cooperation with the UA Disability Resource Center. It is the student's responsibility to find out what the Center requires, to fill out the forms, and to undertake the necessary "foot work" for special arrangements. The student is responsible to make sure that all deadlines are met.


Required Text

Additional readings listed below. Note: I may make small changes in the reading list -- with advance notice -- during the course of the semester.


August 28
General Introduction

  • No assigned reading.


September 4
Theories of International Political Economy

  • Cohn, Global Political Economy, chaps. 3, 4.


  • Cohn, Global Political Economy, chap. 5.


September 11
The Era of Imperialism

  • V. I. Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (London: Pluto Press, 1996), chaps. 1-6. For full text, click here.


  • John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, "The Imperialism of Free Trade," Economic History Review 6, no. 1, 1953. Available through JSTOR.

First Short Paper Due.


September 18
The Rise of American Hegemony

  • Jeffrey Frieden, "Sectoral Conflict and US Foreign Economic Policy, 1914-1940," International Organization 42, no. 1, 1988. Full text available through JSTOR.

Second Short Paper Due.


September 25
International Trade and Finance

  • Cohn, Global Political Economy, chaps. 6, 7.


October 2
The Great Depression

  • Charles P. Kindleberger, The World in Depression, 1929-1939 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), pp. 19-30, 291-308. Available through D2L.
  • Greg Hannsgen and Dimitri Papadimitriou, "Did the New Deal Prolong or Worsen the Great Depression?" Challenge 53, no. 1, 2010. Full text available through Ebsco (click on "PDF Full Text").

Third Short Paper Due.


October 9
The Question of Full Employment

  • John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (Savage, MD: Rowman & Littefield, 1991), chap. 24. For full text, click here.
  • Michael Kalecki, "Political Aspects of Full Employment," Political Quarterly 14, no. 4, 1943. For full text, click here.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "State of the Union Message to Congress," January 11, 1944, American Presidency Project. For full text, click here


  • Bradford Delong, "Keynesianism, Pennsylvania Avenue Style: Some Economic Consequences of the Employment Act of 1946," Journal of Economic Perspectives 10, no. 3, 1996. For full text, click here.

Fourth Short Paper Due.


October 16
The Political Economy of the Cold War

  • Fred Block, "Economic Instability and Military Strength: The Paradoxes of the 1950 Rearmament Decision," Politics  & Society 10, no. 1, 1980. Full text available through Sage Journals.
  • Joyce Kolko and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power: The World and United States' Foreign Policy, 1945-1954 (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), Introduction and Chap. 1. Available through D2L.

Fifth Short Paper Due.


October 23
Corporate Lobbies and Government Policy

  • Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal. New York: Norton, 2009, chaps. 8, 9. Available through D2L.
  • Lewis Powell, “Attack on the Free Enterprise System: Confidential Memorandum for the US Chamber of Commerce,” August 23, 1971, Lewis Powell Papers, Washington & Lee University, online archive, http://law2.wlu.edu/deptimages/Powell%20Archives/PowellMemorandumPrinted.pdf

Sixth Short Paper Due.


October 30
The 1970s and the Shift to Conservative Economics

  • WIlliam Greider, Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987), chap. 1. Available through D2L.

Seventh Short Paper Due.


November 6
Political Economy of Oil

  • Cohn, Global Political Economy, chap. 10.
  • Amin Mirzadegan, "Nixon's Folly: The White House and the 1970s Oil Crisis," Yale Historical Review 5, no. 2, 2016. For full text, click here

Eighth Short Paper Due.


November 13
The Globalization Debate

  • Thomas L. Freidman, "It's a Flat World, After All," New York Times Magazine, April 3, 2005. For full text, click here.
  • Branko Milanovic, "The Two Faces of Globalization: Against Globalization as We Knew It," World Development 31, no. 4, 2003. Available through Science Direct.


  • Robert Wade, "Is the Globalization Consensus Dead?" Antipode 41, supplement 1, 2010. Full text available through Ebsco (click on "PDF Full Text").
  • John Maynard Keynes, "On National Self Sufficiency," Yale Review 22, no. 4, 1933. For full text, click here.

Ninth Short Paper Due.


November 20
The Political Economy of the End of the Cold War

  • David N. Gibbs, "Washington's New Interventionism: US Hegemony and Inter-Imperialist Rivalries," Monthly Review 53, no. 4, 2001. For full text, click here.
  • Chalmers Johnson, "The Economic Disaster that is Military Keynesianism: Why the US has really Gone Broke," Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2008. For full text, click here.


  • David Stuckler, Lawrence King, and Martin McKee, "Mass Privatization and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis: a Cross National Analysis," The Lancet 373, no. 9661, 2009. Full text available through Science Direct.

Tenth Short Paper Due.


November 27

No class, Thanksgiving.


December 4
The Great Recession

  • David M. Kotz, The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), chap. 5. Available through D2L.
  • "Forget the 1 Percent: It's the 0.01 percent who are Really Getting Ahead in America," Economist, November 8, 2014. For full text, click here

Eleventh Short Paper Due.


December 11
Last Day of Class

  • No readings; review for final


Final Exam; December 13, 8:30-10:30pm. 





Course Objectives:

Understand more clearly issues of social status, and the effects of major institutions on individual experiences.

Demonstrate knowledge of the formal and informal structures and processes that make social systems, governments, and economies work.

Have an informed opinion about socio-cultural problems and issues, which can be expressed orally or in writing, and based on knowledge about social, political, economic, and philosophical theory.

Demonstrate a well-developed critical faculty for distinguishing among the various theoretical and ideological interpretations of world events as they are presented in the media.

Expected outcomes from the course:

Understand more clearly issues of social status, and the effects of major institutions on individual experiences.

Demonstrate knowledge of the formal and informal structures and processes that make social systems, governments, and economies work.

Have an informed opinion about socio-cultural problems and issues, which can be expressed orally or in writing, and based on knowledge about social, political, economic, and philosophical theory.

Demonstrate a well-developed critical faculty for distinguishing among the various theoretical and ideological interpretations of world events as they are presented in the media.

The UA’s policy concerning Class Attendance, Participation, and Administrative Drops is available at: http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/class-attendance-participation-and-ad….

The UA policy regarding absences for any sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice will be accommodated where reasonable, http://policy.arizona.edu/human-resources/religious-accommodation-policy.

Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean Designee) will be honored. See: https://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/absences.

University policy regarding grades and grading systems is available at http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/grades-and-grading-system.

Classroom behavior policy: Students are expected to behave themselves at all times. 

Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination; see http://policy.arizona.edu/human-resources/nondiscrimination-and-anti-ha…

Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity as described in the UA General Catalog. See: http://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/academic-integrity/students/academic-….

The UA Threatening Behavior by Students Policy prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to oneself. See http://policy.arizona.edu/education-and-student-affairs/threatening-beh…