FALL TERM 2020

This Fall 2020 term, our visiting professor is Kevin Skerrett. Kevin is a Senior Research Officer at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and a member of the Pension Advisory Working Group of the Canadian Labour Congress. He will be teaching two courses, one for Political Economy (PECO 5501F) and one for Sociology (SOCI 5806).

PECO 5000F [0.5 credit]
Theories of Political Economy
Instructor: Justin Paulson

This seminar examines both foundational and contemporary theoretical perspectives of capitalism, settler colonialism, the modern state, and relations of power. Contending views of the dynamics governing economic, political, and cultural changes in the modern era, and of modernity itself, will be explored. What light do these theories shed on processes of socio-economic change and the complex relationship between the economic, the cultural, and the political? How ought we to identify the collective actors engaged in making these changes, the sites of their interaction, and the processes through which collective identities are constituted? What are classes, and are they important? What of sex and gender, race, and other bases of both identity formation and oppression? Is ‘capitalism’ still a discrete entity (and was it ever so)? How does it intersect with racism and settler colonialism in Canada today? What is ‘neoliberalism’, and is ‘globalisation’ a new phenomenon? How do we make sense of economic and social crisis?

Course outline

PECO 5002F [0.5 credit]
Political Economy of Work and Labour
Instructor: Jane Stinson

Students in this seminar will analyze the social, political and economic conditions within which capital and labour interact in Canada. Key events in the history of Canadian work and labour as well as current concerns and emerging challenges will be examined. Actions by trade unions will be central in this analysis. Through the readings and discussions, we will consider and assess organizing, bargaining and political action strategies focussing on core concepts of mobilization and solidarity. The theme of equity in work and in the labour movement will be woven into readings and discussions. We will develop intersectional analytical skills to note and address inequalities of class, gender, race, abilities and sexual orientation in work and labour. Particular attention will be paid to the public sector, to the role of unions in challenging the growth of inequality and precarious employment and to the future of work post-pandemic.

Questions for seminar discussions include: What are the elements of effective organizing and bargaining strategies? How can the union movement mobilize and build solidarity between workers and with other members of society? What are decolonizing and inclusive strategies for the labour movement?  Why is intersectional analysis important and what difference will it make? Why is it important to recognize experience and build in reflective practices?

PECO 5502F (SOCI 5505/ PSCI 5502F) [0.5 credit]
Selected Problems in Political Economy II: History of Human Rights in Canada
Instructor: Dominique Marshall

A research seminar exploring a selected topic of current research having a political economy perspective, such as power and stratification; dynamics of state action; contrasting views on administration as an instrument of political economy; culture, ideology, and social relations; and the labour process.

PECO 5503F [0.5 credit]
Union Power in Canada Under Neoliberal Capitalism

Instructor: Kevin Skerrett

This course will examine the changing role of trade unions under neoliberal capitalism.  While formal trade union membership in Canada has been slowly declining over the past thirty years, it is the material power of unions – both at the collective bargaining table and in the political realm – that has been more comprehensively eroded.  How have Canada’s unions been responding, and how can their power be rebuilt? The course will consider a range of critical political economy analyses of these dynamics. We will also look at the differences between defensive, ‘business unionism’ responses to neoliberalism and proposals for more class-oriented and system-challenging strategies. This will include assessing the strengths and weaknesses of trade union efforts to integrate anti-oppression analysis into their work.

SOCI 5806G [0.5 credit]
The Political Economy of the Neoliberal State
Instructor: Kevin Skerrett

Has the state been fundamentally changed by the emergence of neoliberalism? This seminar will consider the resurgence of heterodox political economy theories of the state following both the neoliberal turn and the recent rebirth of far-right politics.  The course will critically examine recent theorizations of neoliberalism and ‘financialization’, alongside work that situates the state as both an actor and a ‘field of struggle’ over the social reproduction of capitalism. This will necessarily involve engagement with recent theorizations of class, gender, race, and colonialism as aspects of state formation and action.

PECO 5900 [0.5 credit]
Tutorial in Political Economy

Directed readings on selected aspects of political economy, involving preparation of papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor. Offered when no regular course offering meets a candidate’s specific needs.
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Director.
Form: Tutorial Approval Form

WINTER TERM 2021

This Winter 2021 term, our visiting professor is Dr. Stephanie M. Redden. Dr. Redden obtained her Ph.D. in Political Science with a specialization in Political Economy from Carleton University in 2016. Most recently she was the 2019 – 2020 Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Dr. Redden will be teaching two courses, one for Political Economy, Work and Labour Program (PECO 5504) and one for Political Science (PSCI 5502).

PECO 5001W [0.5 credit]
Methodology of Political Economy
Instructor: Karen Hebert

This seminar prepares students to undertake a significant independent research project at the graduate level. Designed largely as a workshop, the course provides hands-on training in how to design, conduct, and produce scholarly research. Course materials provoke students to think critically about methodology and their own methodological choices as researchers. Topics include the relationship of methodology to matters of theory and evidence, as well as to epistemology and the ethics and politics of knowledge production. These concerns will also be linked to more nuts-and-bolts issues, including how to turn a broad project topic into one or more researchable questions. It sets out to expand students’ awareness of the range of methodologies they might enlist in their work and provide them with tools for evaluating the research methods best suited to their own questions, training, and objects of inquiry.

Course outline

PSCI 5502W/PECO 5502 [0.5 credit]
Issues in Political Economy: Gender, Race, and Everyday International Political Economy
Instructor: Stephanie M. Redden

With this course students will be introduced to the Everyday Politics approach to international relations (IR) and international political economy (IPE), which has steadily gained in popularity
in the field over the last ten years. Students will become familiar both with more recent feminist and mainstream articulations of this approach, as well as examine its earlier beginnings within feminist IR and IPE scholarship. In addition to providing a broad overview of this approach, the course will allow students the opportunity to consider several case studies that showcase the importance of considering everyday spaces and actors in order to better understand the current global political and economic climate in more depth. Through these case studies, students will be able to unpack the multidirectional relationship between the global and the everyday, as well as investigate the highly gendered and racialized realities of both spaces. In doing so, students will be able to reflect on what impacts these factors have on how people of various social identities choose to resist and what potential impacts their actions have within—and beyond—everyday spaces. Finally, in exploring this material, students will gain a deeper understanding and awareness of how their own choices and actions are connected—and contribute to—broader, global systems and processes.

Course Outline

PECO 5504 [0.5 credit]
Selected Issues in Work and Labour: The Intersectional Politics of Worker Resistance
Instructor: Stephanie M. Redden

With this course, students will gain a deeper awareness and understanding of the various important ways that workers’ social identities have an impact on their decision to (or not) resist
within the workplace. More specifically, it will explore the ways in which gendered and racialized power structures influence the types of strategies available to particular groups of workers. Students will explore several examples of worker resistance—in various workplaces and industries around the world—and examine what role the workers’ social positionalities played in the types of actions they employed while resisting. Here a spectrum of actions from everyday forms of resistance up to collective protest will be considered. Overall, through the theoretical and case study material considered, this course will demonstrate to students the importance of viewing worker resistance—along with work itself—as gendered and racialized.

Course Outline

PECO 5900 [0.5 credit]
Tutorial in Political Economy

Directed readings on selected aspects of political economy, involving preparation of papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor. Offered when no regular course offering meets a candidate’s specific needs.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Director.
Form: Tutorial Approval Form

PECO 5906 [0.5 credit]
Reflective Practice on Work and Labour

This course provides an opportunity for students already contributing in a professional capacity to labour-related research, policy-making, organizing, or advocacy to engage in reflective research about their own practice in their workplace context.  The course supports students to think critically about questions of power, leadership, problem-solving, decision-making, workplace culture, and the way larger social structures (race, gender, colonialism) shape the terrain in which labour-related organizations constitute themselves and do their work. Through written assignments, as well as discussion with faculty mentors and peers also engaged in reflective practice, students will deepen their understanding both of the specific challenges and opportunities they confront in their respective organizations and of their own subjective location within larger struggles.

Includes: Experiential Learning Activity
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Director
Form: Practice Approval Form

PECO 5907 [0.5 credit]
Placement in Political Economy

This course offers an opportunity to earn academic credit by engaging in research activities under the supervision of professional researchers in the community. Placement possibilities may be initiated by the student or arranged through community contacts established by the Institute of Political Economy.

Includes: Experiential Learning Activity
Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Director
Form: Placement Approval Form

PECO 5908 [1.0 credit]
Research Essay

Directly linked to the student’s course work, the research essay must be interdisciplinary in approach.

Includes: Experiential Learning Activity
Form: Committee Approval Form

PECO 5909 [2.0 credits]
M.A. Thesis

The thesis is an alternative to the research essay. It must also be interdisciplinary in approach, and requires greater substance and originality than the Research Essay. Normally, a student’s thesis committee will be composed of members from more than one discipline.

Includes: Experiential Learning Activity
Form: Committee Approval Form

PECO 6000W [0.5 credit]
Political Economy: Core Concepts
Instructor: Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

Drawing on classical and contemporary writings, this course provides an opportunity to reflect on core concepts in political economy. Topics will be selected in consultation with participating units, taking into account the potential number of students, their research interests and those of the participating units.