Contemporary Theories of Political Economy

Contemporary Theories of Political Economy
TuTh 2-3:30

Professor Crawford
University of California Berkeley


Study Questions

Newspaper Assignments



Course Requirements

Your Instructor

lecture outlines


statement on Plagiarism

Required for Purchase:

  • The text, The Political Economy Reader, is available for purchase at the ASUC store
  • Students are required to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, Your student subscription gives you full access to online versions of the paper.
  • You are required to purchase an i>clicker for this course. You can find them for $7-20 on craigslist

Students are required to complete all of the readings.

Attendance at lectures is required.

The use of laptops and PDAs in class is not permitted. Please take notes with paper and pen/pencil.

Attendance (10%)

Attendance is a required part of course. You are permitted to miss three classes for any reason to accommodate extracurricular activities, sleep deficits, epidemics, earthquakes, etc. After three absences, I will deduct 5% from your participation grade (0.5% from your final grade) for each additional absence, regardless of why you missed class. You may be exempted for recurring issues such as membership in a sports team or a chronic illness. You should bring these issues to my attention before or immediately after you miss class and be prepared to provide supporting documentation.

Participation (20%)

Because I am interested in developing your ability to think critically and communicate, participation counts heavily toward your final grade. I define participation broadly to include classroom discussion (raising and answering questions), posts to the Political Economy Facebook Group (new posts, responses and questions), interaction with me (email, speaking after class and office hour visits), and short newspaper and other assignments--including quizzes. If you are concerned about participation, contact me and we can discuss strategies to raise your grade. Please contact me before the end of the semester to express concerns about your participation grade.

Short exam (5%) September 19. This exam will test your understanding of the reading through Sept 19 and your ability to integrate the readings and lectures.

In-Class midterm (25%)

This exam will be divided into two parts. Part one (thirty minutes) requires you to answer several short IDs. To answer the short IDs, you should (1) define the ID (usually a concept, individual or event), (2) discuss its relationship to broader issues and other concepts discussed in the course readings and lectures, and (3) establish its theoretical significance (ideally in relation to one or more of the approaches we have been analyzing in class). IDs will be selected from readings and lectures.

Part two (50 minutes) requires you to write either one essay or two short essays. In-class essays will be graded in terms of argument, clarity, explanation and evidence.

Final (40%)

The Final will be a take home exam. It will consist of identification questions and one essay. will be nraded in terms of argument, clarity, explanation and evidence.


Reading Assignments

This course includes a heavy reading load (100-150 page per week) to help you become efficient and active readers. You are expected to complete all required readings by the date listed in the syllabus. These readings will help you contribute to class discussion, answer the short identifications and complete the written assignments (see below). To read efficiently, avoid a careful, one-time, word-by-word reading of the text. Instead, skim the introduction (and conclusion) to identify the author’s main argument(s). Then scan section headings (or the first sentence in each paragraph) to see how the author develops and supports their argument. Finally, reserve detailed reading for those sections that clarify the argument or provide supporting evidence. If you are spending more than three hours on a single piece, you are reading too closely (let me know and we can discuss this). Use the extra time to think about the reading. I will distribute discussion questions to guide your thoughts, but you should always consider the following: What is the author’s main point or argument? What evidence does s/he offer to support this view? Is the argument and evidence compelling? Can I think of arguments / evidence that support / undermine this? Why is this piece on the syllabus? How does it relate to previous readings? How can I use this piece in an essay?


You are asked to follow basic etiquette in class by arriving and leaving on time, silencing all telecommunication devices, raising your hand before speaking in class and refraining from insults or threatening behavior. I reserve the right to lower your participation grade if you do not adhere to these basic guidelines.

Late Papers

I expect you to attend all exams and turn in all assignments on time. Late assignments will be deducted by two-thirds of a letter grade once the deadline has passed and an additional two-thirds of a letter grade every 24 hours after that. Extensions and make-up exams are reserved for documented medical and family emergencies. Extension requests are more compelling if you contact me in advance about a potentially disruptive medical or family condition.


Plagiarism, the act of using another person’s words or ideas and presenting it as your own deliberately or by accident, is viewed as a particularly serious offense and will be reported and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. Note that plagiarism includes not only the unattributed use of specific words, but also extends to ideas, charts, data and phrasing. Make sure you identify the source of any material that is not your own. You do not need to cite facts that are common knowledge, but the words and phrasing should be your own and not someone else’s.  

Grade Changes

Computational errors should be brought our attention immediately. Other grade appeals should be submitted in writing no sooner than 7 days and no later than 21 days after receiving a graded assignment. Such appeals should explain why the previous grade was inaccurate in one to two pages and include a copy of the original assignment. Upon receipt of an appeal, I will re-grade the assignment in its entirety. I reserve the right to lower a grade if I discover mistakes that I overlooked initially.