Political Economy

Coordinator: Eric Tymoigne

The political economy minor investigates the nature and consequences of the dynamic interaction between political and economic forces. These forces are shaped and driven by a complex array of social relationships and interests, and are expressed through a diverse range of processes that operate at the local, national, and global levels. Courses in the minor explore the political-economic dynamic from multiple disciplinary perspectives and historical angles, using a variety of conceptual approaches.

To earn a minor in political economy, students must complete five courses: two required core courses and three electives. The core courses, located in the departments of economics, international affairs, and sociology-anthropology, introduce students to various theories of political economy and examine their application to significant national and international patterns and developments.

The elective courses are distributed into three concentrations. Students minoring in political economy must take one class from each. Courses in the first concentration, global dynamics, explore how living and working conditions throughout the world are shaped by the interrelationship between national and global political and economic processes. Courses in the second concentration, national structures and power, examine the ways in which the roots and exercise of power, as well as sociocultural dynamics, are structured by the political-economic relationship as it emerges in a unique national context. Courses in the third concentration, cultural forces and social movements, investigate theoretically and practically the importance and interplay of culture, power, resistance, and social change.  

Potential employers and graduate programs seek liberal-arts graduates who have strong analytical skills and knowledge of contemporary events; a political economy minor offers evidence of such preparation. Reflecting the sponsoring faculty’s broad array of training and interests, the minor highlights a wide range of potential applications and topics. Examples include the interplay between social relations and the organization of production; the relationship between governments and markets in determining national development, power, and political stability; the ways in which ideas, discourse, gender, race, and identity affect and interact with political and economic forces to structure social environments; the influence of state power on the global economy; and the role of social movements in promoting economic and political change.

Students may enhance any major through the addition of a minor in political economy. Those interested in pursuing a political economy minor should schedule a meeting with one of the sponsoring faculty to discuss program offerings and develop a curricular plan.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 20 semester credits (five courses), distributed as follows:

  • Two courses from the following:
    ECON 250Radical Political Economics
    IA 340International Political Economy
    SOAN 300Social Theory


Sepideh Azarshahri Bajracharya. Assistant professor with term of anthropology. Political culture of violence, communal politics, memory, narrative, urban ethnography, anthropology of space, South Asia. PhD 2008 Harvard University. BA 1999 Wesleyan University.

Elizabeth A. Bennett. Joseph M. Ha Associate Professor of International Affairs, director of the Political Economy Program (Fall). International political economy, global social movements, voluntary social/environmental regulation, international development global governance. PhD 2014, AM 2010 Brown University. MALD 2008 Fletcher School, Tufts University. BA 2002 Hope College.

Jennifer Hubbert. Professor of anthropology, chair of the Department of Sociology/Anthropology. Chinese public culture, anthropology of the state, politics of popular culture and public protest, anthropology of policy, paradiplomacy. PhD 1999, MA 1994 Cornell University. MA 1987, BA 1986 Stanford University.

Oren Kosansky. Associate professor of anthropology. Political economy of religious experience, postcolonial nationalism and diaspora, textual culture, Morocco. PhD 2003, MA 1994 University of Michigan. MAT 1990 Binghamton University. BA 1988 Brown University.

Bruce M. Podobnik. Associate professor of sociology. Environmental sociology, social theory, mixed methods, the sociocultural dimensions of activism, the social roots of happiness. PhD 2000, MA 1994 Johns Hopkins University. BA 1991 University of California at Santa Cruz.

Éric Tymoigne. Associate professor of economics, director of the Political Economy Program (Spring). Macroeconomics, money and banking, monetary theory. PhD 2006 University of Missouri at Kansas City. MA 2000 Université Paris-Dauphine. BA 1999 Université de Bretagne Occidentale à Brest.

Elliott Young. Professor of history, director of the Latin American Studies program (Spring). Latin American and U.S.-Mexico Borderlands history. PhD 1997, MA 1993 University of Texas at Austin. BA 1989 Princeton University.