POL 360: Global Political Economy - Fall 2017

General Information

Wednesdays, 10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Ballston, room 5088

Upcoming things to worry about:
This course is an in-depth examination of theories that seek to explain how political systems address economic inequality, development, trade, labor relations, investment, migration, and natural resources, with applications to contemporary international politics. 

The course will meet regularly on campus as a regular fall semester course. At the end of the fall 2017 semester the course will travel as a group to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for 10 days of site visits from January 2 to January 12, 2018. Both the fall semester course meetings and assignments as well as the travel component are required elements of the course. Site visits in Vietnam will include governmental and non-governmental development, public health, and infrastructure projects; private firms producing for local and export markets; meetings with former government officials; and meetings at a Vietnamese university. Students in the Marymount program will work with local Vietnamese university students on a series of group investigations. 

This course meets Marymount's "Global Perspectives" and "Advanced Social Science" requirements. 

Course Assignments and Grades

Course grades will be based on a weighted average of the following:
  • 4 exams. 10% each, 40% total. Each exam covers basic concepts in political economy. Identify and explain any 5 concepts, from a list of 10. List of terms will be posted on this page, above. 60 minutes of class time. On exam days, we will devote the first part of class to a discussion of Vietnam, take a break, and then have the exam from noon until 1. 
  • 3 papers, 15% each, 45% total. Each paper is 5-8 pages long and covers a specific contemporary issue that can serve as an example of a general theory of political economy. Each paper will be written by referencing at least two academic political science articles and at least three newspaper or other journalistic sources. I will provide students with a list of academic articles to choose from. Assignments.
  • 3 travel journal assignments, 5% each, 15% total. Each travel journal assignment includes several components, including written descriptions and photos, with each journal assignment accounting for about 1-2 pages of writing. Assignments
Extra credit:
  • Class participation. Students may earn up to 5% for sustained, constructive contributions to class discussions. 
  • DC event. 5% for a first event and 3% for a second. Attend an event in the DC area on the subject of global security and write a blog post summarizing your experience. Specific instructions about attending and reporting on events are here. Posts must be well-written to receive credit; I will send back poorly-written posts for revisions before they are accepted. You will receive 5 extra credit points for one event and post, and 3 points for a second. All blog posts must be submitted by the day of the final exam. (Blog posts are kept private by default, but we may make selected posts public by mutual agreement.)   
Any student who misses 3 or 4 class sessions will lose 1/3 of a letter grade for the grade for the course. Any student who misses 5 class sessions will automatically fail the course. Any student who does not fully participate in the travel component of the course, or who significantly disrupts the site visits, will automatically fail the course. 

Any student who violates the code of Academic Integrity, by cheating on an in-class exam or plagiarizing a written assignment, will automatically fail the course. 

Students who fail the course automatically, due to poor attendance or an academic integrity violation, will not participate in the site visit to Vietnam and will not have the travel fees refunded. 


Two books are required for the course:
In addition, students should purchase:
    • guidebooks and city maps that cover the southern part of Vietnam (example)
    • practice chopsticks (example)
    • electrical adapters as needed (example)
Participants in the course should:
    • bring a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to use while in-country to communicate and to take pictures for photo essay assignments
    • be prepared for a physically-demanding program in a humid environment
    • bring walking shoes or boots and clothing appropriate for the weather
    • be prepared to eat food that may not be familiar
    • be prepared to be immersed, with an open mind, in a culture that may not be familiar  

Course Schedule

Coursework on site in Vietnam will be from January 2 to 12, 2018 and will include a number of site visits. Details of the trip as we confirm them are posted here. 

Schedule of class meetings and assignments:

Complete the assigned readings before the class period for which they are assigned and be ready to discuss them in class.


August 30 - No reading assigned (slides)

No class September 6 (Mass of the Holy Spirit)

Part 1: Trade

September 13 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz introduction to Part V and chapters 1 and 18

September 20 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz chapters 19 and 22
Meet on main campus, Rowley G208

September 27 - Discussion of Vietnam (slides), exam #1 (terms)

Part 2: Investment and finance

October 4 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz introduction to Part III and chapters 9 and 10

October 11 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz introduction to Part IV and chapters 13 and 14

October 18 - Discussion of Vietnam (slides), exam #2 (terms)

October 23 - paper #1 due

Part 3: Migration

October 25 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz introduction to Part VI and chapters 23 and 24 (slides)

November 1 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz chapter 25 and 
Migration, labor, and the international political economy

November 8 - Discussion of Vietnam, exam #3 (terms)

November 13 - paper #2 due

Part 4: Development

November 15 - Read Frieden/Lake/Broz introduction to Part VII and chapters 7, 26, and 27

No class November 22 (Thanksgiving)

November 28 - First travel journal assignment due (assignment)

November 29 - Read Elliott chapters 6 and 7
Meet on main campus, Rowley G208

December 6 - Read Elliott chapters 8 and 9

December 13, 10:15 a.m. - Discussion of Vietnam, exam #4

December 31 - paper #3 due

Part 5: Vietnam

January 2-12 - Site visits in Vietnam

January 13 - Second and third travel journal assignments due (assignments)