Power in American Society

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Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

political economy, political science

This program will investigate the nature of economic, political, social, military, ideological, and interpersonal power. The interrelationship of these dimensions will be a primary area of study. We will explore these themes through lectures, films, seminars, and a journal, and by writing short papers.

The analysis will be guided by the following questions, as well as others that may emerge from our discussions: What does power mean? Are there different kinds of power, and how are they interrelated? Who has power in American society? Who is relatively powerless? Why? How is power accumulated? What resources are involved? How is power utilized, and with what impact, on various sectors of the population? What characterizes the struggle for power? How does domestic power relate to international power? How is international power used? How are people affected by the current power structure? What responsibilities do citizens have to alter the structure of power? What alternative structures are possible, probable, necessary, or desirable?

In this period of war and economic, social, and political crisis, a good deal of our study will focus on international relations in a systematic and intellectual manner. There will be a good deal of reading. Please be prepared to work hard and to challenge your own and others’ thinking.

Program Details

Fields of Study

government history political economy

Preparatory For

foreign policy, government, history, advanced political economy, and public policy


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Tuesday, September 26 at 12pm (Sem II C2109)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning