POL 241

Global Political Economy

POL 241- Fall 2020

This course had originally been planned as a "Global Classroom" course, to include a ten-day study abroad experience in Vietnam at the end of the semester. Due to the ongoing pandemic, however, the travel component of the course has been cancelled. The course will run as a regular fall semester class, without the travel component. We will still use Vietnam as a case study throughout.

General Information

Professor Chad Rector

Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Ballston 5018

Syllabus coming soon.

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.

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

Course Assignments and Grades

Course grades will be based on:

  • Two article summaries and presentations. 20% each. (40% total). Early in the semester, each student will be assigned to provide a short written summary of a published social science article, edit a Wikipedia entry to include a reference to that article, and present a summary of the article to the class. The presentations will be spread throughout the semester. Each paper will be due one week before the presentation, and Wikipedia edits are due by November 4. More details and explanation about the assignment will be posted.
  • Discussion questions. 5%. A week before each class I will email several discussion questions to the class and then randomly call on two or three students to lead a discussion.
  • Three group presentations. 15% each. (45% total.) Groups of 4-5 students will present on assigned topics that link course content to current events. Details will be posted in September for the first project and October for the second.
  • Two current events projects. 5% each. (10% total.) Two short papers and video presentations that connect a topic from the course to some aspect of current events. Details about this assignment will be posted in October.

Extra credit:

  • Class participation. Students may earn up to 10% for constructive contributions to class discussions. There is no specific grade for "attendance," as this is a seminar-style course in which I expect regular class participation (although for university administrative purposes I will occasionally record attendance anyway). Students earn participation grades for sharing ideas with the class, not simply for showing up. Since, there is no such thing as an "excused" absence, so there is no reason to give me an excuse or note if you are absent.
  • Additional current events project. An additional 5% for a high-quality, additional current events presentation, following the same format as the first two.

Assignments will be marked down for being late. Students will not be penalized for missing a class assignment for a recognized religious holiday.

I may, at my discretion, check any written assignments for plagiarism at any time during or after the semester, using electronic or other means. Students found violating the Marymount principles of Academic Integrity will fail the course and be formally charged through the University’s Academic Integrity process. I have failed students in prior semesters for cheating. By enrolling in the course you acknowledge that you have reviewed the University’s standards of academic integrity.


Three books are required for the course:

Course Schedule

The coursework during the semester, on campus, is divided into three segments: trade, finance, and Vietnam.

A detailed schedule of readings will be added to this schedule in August 2020.

In the event that the campus is closed for all or part of the semester, most class sessions will still be held synchronously, during the scheduled times.


    • August 26 - Introduction
    • (No class September 2)

Part 1

    • September 9 - Trade and society
    • September 16 - Trade and political institutions
    • September 23 - Trade and development
    • September 30 - Group presentations

Part 2

    • October 7 - Multinational firms
    • October 14 - International finance
    • October 21 - Finance and development
    • October 28 - Group presentations

Part 3

    • November 4 - Vietnam to 1990
    • November 11 - Vietnam's political institutions and development strategy
    • November 18 - Regional security, China, and the United States
    • December 2 - Climate change and migration
    • December 9 (scheduled exam time) - Group presentations