Globalization has become a catchword describing the attributes of our increasingly integrated world. It is glorified in tech and social media circles; vilified by progressive social movement activists, and assumed as reality in the business and government worlds. But what is globalization? Is it really a new social phenomena? What are its ill effects? What are its benefits? This course explores the idea of globalization as a phenomenon of the capitalist world economy. We will examine how theories of Imperialism and Revolution, as articulated by engaged theorists, such as Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky, shed analytic light on the contemporary idea of globalization. We will examine how anthropological insights can be used to shape these social and economic forces to make our world a collectively better place Revolutions require work, theory, practice, and commitment. The capitalist class knows this and constantly works to maintain their power and authority. Working class people, historically marginalized peoples, oppressed nationalities are often locked in a simple struggle to survive and revolution can be seen, if it is seen at all, as more trouble than it’s worth. Yet overturning the rule of capital is very likely the single most important task in front of us today. Understanding how imperialism masks itself in theory, coercion, and subterfuge is an important step on the path to liberty.
Readings and Seminar Topics
Unit 1. Classical Theorists – Capitalism and Imperialism
January 8, 2019. Core Concepts
- Alex Callinicos. Imperialism and Global Political Economy. “Introduction.”
- Eric Wolf. Europe and the People Without History. Chapter 1: “Introduction,” Chapter 3: “Modes of Production,” and Chapter 10: “Crisis and Differentiation in Capitalism.”
January 15, 2019. Capitalism & Development
- Callinicos. Imperialism and Global Political Economy. Chapters 1 & 2.
- Walter Rodney. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Chapter 1: Some Questions on Development.
- Jonathon Friedman. “Did Someone Say Globalization? The Mystification of Intellectuals and the Cunning of History.” http://www.focaalblog.com/2014/page/4/
January 22, 2019. Rosa Luxemburg: Accumulation & Consumption.
- Anthony Brewer. Chapter 3: “Rosa Luxemburg.”
- June Nash. “Global Integration and Subsistence Insecurity.”
- Rosa Luxemburg. The Accumulation of Capital. Section 3: pp 329-469.
January 29, 2019. V.I. Lenin: Imperialism – the Highest Stage of Capitalism.
- Brewer. Chapter 6: “Bukharin and Lenin.”
- V.I. Lenin. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.
February 5 2019. Leon Trotsky: Combined and Uneven Development.
- Sharryn Kasmir and Leslie Gill. “No Smooth Surfaces: The Anthropology of Unevenness and Combination (with commentary).” Current Anthropology. 2018. Vol. 59(4):355-377.
- Leon Trotsky. The Permanent Revolution. “Introduction,” by Peter Camejo (pp. 7-23). “The Permanent Revolution,” (pp. 125-281).
Unit 2. Case Studies of Globalization
February 12, 2019. Neil Smith. Yankee Imperialism.
- Smith. Endgame of Globalization.
February 26, 2019: Anna Tsing. Mushrooms, Flows, & Ruins.
Tsing. The Mushroom at the End of the World.
March 5, 2019: Aiwha Ong. Transition, Resistance, Factory Labour.
- Ong. Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline.
March 12, 2019: Sharryn Kasmir. Saturn, Co-ops, & Combined and Uneven Development.
- Kasmir. The Myth of Mondragon.
- Kasmir. “The Mondragon Cooperatives and Global Capitalism.”
Unit 3. Progressive Globalization
March 26 – April 2, 2019: Theorizing Social Movements & Tactical Engagements.
- Edelman. “Social Movements.”
- David McNally. Socialism From Below.
- Gibson-Graham, Cameron, Healy. Take Back the Economy