Political Economy in the United States

History 280D.003

Spring 2017
3205 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 2-4
Class Number: 

This course will examine recent literature about U.S. political economy, institutions, and the business and labor history now often treated under the rubric “history of capitalism,” with its links between politics, economics, and culture.  One point of this seminar is to flesh out the abstract mouthful of the previous sentence with readings that exemplify the trend.  The other is to equip students with a secure grounding in the history itself.  Starting in the early republic and ending in the mid-20th century will have a whirlwind effect, but the point is to read the best books about the most important subjects, including work by Sven Beckert, Stephen Mihm, Alexandra Harmon, Richard Bensel, Theda Scocpol, Ira Katznelson, Meg Jacobs, David Freund, Jeff Cowie, Kim Phillips-Fein, and others.  Students should emerge from all this with views about the present state of and future directions for the field -- in addition to a deeper understanding of how the U.S. grew from a small country dependent on slave-based agriculture into the military-industrial-cultural superpower.