political economy & political science

Examine the causes of social inequality. Explore connections between politics, economics, and popular culture. Develop an historically-grounded global perspective. Envision alternative economic systems and study the history of movements for change.

Thomas Herndon speaks in the CCAM television studio

Evergreen alumnus Thomas Herndon is interviewed by Professor Emeritus of Political Economy Alan Nasser in the CCAM studio. Herndon made headlines when he found errors in the data set used by pro-austerity Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.

Political economy is an interdisciplinary field combining economics, history, politics, sociology, and philosophy. It asks who has what, who does what kinds of work, how did it get to be that way, and how it could be different. Political science deals with systems of government, and the analysis of political activity and behavior. While there is overlap, political economists focus on economic processes, their relation to power and public policy, and their influence on people's lives and social institutions while political scientists focus on the study of governments and how they work.

Tomorrow Today program

Students learn the process of planning and pitching ideas for short films in the program Tomorrow Today: Political Economy and Culture of the Future.

At Evergreen, you can study the history of empires past and present in structuring the global economy. You can examine food systems and agriculture in the U.S. and internationally. You can look at the role mass media plays in our social relationships.

You can analyze the relation between capitalism and race, gender and class inequalities, and how these inequalities can be changed by creating liberatory alternatives to capitalism. 

You can learn how social change has occurred in the past so you can join with others as more effective agents of change. You can apply your learning through internships and research. Finally, you can explore alternative visions for economies and societies that promote justice and environmental sustainability.

Join us in an education that doesn’t just change your life — it gives you the tools to change the world.

Sample Program

Political Economy and Social Movements

Offered Fall 2017–Winter 2018

What do we need to know in order to understand the fundamental economic, political, and social forces that shape our world, and how can we participate effectively in shaping those forces?

Northwest Developments program

In the program Northwest Developments: Land Use, Economics and the Politics of Growth, students enact a mock city council meeting to discuss a fictional development project in Seattle.

This program is the primary gateway to the study of political economy at Evergreen. It introduces students to the building blocks of political-economic analysis: the history and institutions of capitalism, mainstream and alternative economic frameworks, theories of democracy, and theories of social change. We add to this a study of social movements in the past and present, looking at persuasive goals in relation to economic and political conditions, and learning about methods of influencing public attitudes and institutional policies

Reslient Communities program

Students will expand their capacity to engage in public debate and social-justice organizing by building skills in democratic decision-making, critical thinking, economic analysis, writing, researching, public speaking, media production, and quantitative methods.

View this program in the catalog.

After Graduation

Thomas Herndon

Thomas Herndon '07  weakened the case for austerity policies worldwide by successfully challenging the influential work of two Harvard economists. Economists, news outlets, and political groups across the U.S. and around the world cited his work, landing Herndon an appearance on the Colbert Report. He is a graduate student in economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Popular Uprisings program

The program Popular Uprisings: 1968, 2011 and the Road Forward combines political and economic studies with sociology and history. Faculty Elizabeth Williamson holds seminar on the roof of Sem II with a group of students in the program.

The skills in analysis, research, and writing developed through the study of political economy and political science are key preparation for work, future study, and meaningful participation in society.

Many graduates have continued their education by earning advanced degrees in political economy, political science, economics, history, sociology, law, public policy, and related disciplines.

And Evergreen graduates with a political economy or political science background have gone on to careers in areas such as international relations, economics, journalism, teaching, labor and community organizing, human rights and global justice, social work, public policy, law, and public health.

Facilities & Resources

The Library

An intellectual hub on campus with study spaces and more than 400,000 items to support your research, including article databases, books, periodicals, films, games, and more. Faculty librarians provide research assistance. You also have access to materials from libraries in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Learn more about the library.

Center for Community-Based Learning and Action

CCBLA links you with community organizations working on a wide range of issues. Services include a bulletin board with current opportunities for community involvement, a reference library on key approaches to community work including grantwriting, ethnography, community organizing, and information about Students In Service, an Americorps program that rewards students performing community service with tuition awards.

Gateways for Incarcerated Youth

Serve as an academic mentor and coach while Evergreen faculty lead seminars at juvenile correctional facilities. Gateways provides the individualized approach needed to reengage incarcerated youth in learning and community. Our focus on culture — helping all students learn their own and respecting others — is critical to breaking the cycle of incarceration, violence, and recidivism.

Planned offerings for 2017–18
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
Activist, Student, Citizen. FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Advanced Research in Environmental Studies JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Alternatives and Resistance to Global Capitalism: Mexico, U.S., and Beyond SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Aotearoa New Zealand: Native Decolonization in the Pacific Rim SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
City Parks and Politics: An Introduction FR-SR
  • Spring
8
Community Connections - Sustainable Development (Grays Harbor) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Conserving Wildlife JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Eco-Music FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Eco-Poetics FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Gastropoetics FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Political Ecology FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Crime and Punishment (online) FR-SR
  • Summer
12
Development as Freedom FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Ecological and Environmental Economics JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Environmental Problem Solving FR-SO
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Europe Since 1500 FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 6, 8
Feminist Jurisprudence SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Foundations of Washington State's Governance System JR-SR
  • Fall
4
From Black Liberation to Solidarity Economics: Social Movements in the Neoliberal Era FR-SR
  • Spring
16
History of Agriculture in Washington State (1880-1980) JR-SR
  • Winter
4
Immigration and American Culture FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Independent Readings in the French Revolution FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 6, 8
Intermediate Macroeconomics SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Introduction to Environmental Studies: River Resources SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Inventing the Citizen: The History of Political Action and its Limits SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Making Feminist Sense of Economics and Politics FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Olympia Hybrid) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
9
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Olympia) JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Peninsula) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Quinault) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Tacoma) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Portland: Researching Neoliberalism in Local Neighborhoods FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8, 12, 16
Political Economy and Social Movements FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Politics and Aesthetics: Critical Theory and Critical Practice SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Poverty: What, Why, and How SO-SR
  • Winter
8
Power in American Society SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Reality Check: Indian Images and [Mis]Representations FR-SR
  • Winter
16
Seeds of Change: Food, Culture, and Work FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Shadow Wars and Global Governance SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Social Resilience: Women Making Change FR-SR
  • Winter
12
Statistics and Research Design: An Introduction FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Statistics I: An Introduction FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Student-Originated Studies: Social Sciences, History, Multiculturalism, Diversity SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Study Abroad: Beautiful Taiwan and China FR-SR
  • Summer
8, 12
The Business of Cannabis: Opportunities and Risks in an Emerging Market JR-SR
  • Winter
16
The Business of Cannabis: Opportunities and Risks in an Emerging Market FR-SR
  • Summer
16
The Cops & The Constitution FR-SR
  • Summer
8, 12
The Evolution of Constitutional Law Beyond the 20th Century FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
The Making of Global Capitalism, 1500–1914 JR-SR
  • Winter
16
The Price of Inequality: Politics, Economics, and Policy FR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
The Prison-Industrial Complex: Explorations in Social Psychology and Writing FR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Undergraduate Research in the Humanities JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Understanding the Economic Crisis: Vanishing Jobs, Shrinking Middle Class FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Viking Economics: Learning from Scandinavia FR-SR
  • Spring
8
Washington State Legislative Internships JR-SR
  • Winter
16
With Liberty and Justice for Whom? JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Planned offerings for 2018–19
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
A Better Mirror: Data Analysis and the Political Economy of Evergreen SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Advanced Research in Environmental Studies JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Alternatives to Capitalism SO-SR
  • Spring
12, 16
Cities and Suburbs: Advocacy and Writing to Solve Ecological Justice Problems SO-SR
  • Fall
8
Climate Justice JR-SR
  • Spring
12, 16
Current Economic Issues and Social Movements FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Dimensions of Inequality: Social Science and Statistics SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
8, 12
Diversity, Democracy, and Fake News: Making Our Way in the Time of Trump FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Gateways for Incarcerated Youth: Critical Literacy and Critical Numeracy SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Geopolitics, Energy, Economics, and Stewardship of the Pacific Northwest SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Global/Local Realities and Alternative Visions JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Housing and Community Development SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Intermediate Business Foundations FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Intermediate Microeconomics SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Measuring Fairness: Quantitative Approaches to Politics FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Olympia) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Peninsula) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Quinault) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Tacoma) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Political Ecology of Land: Urban Planning, Property Rights, and Land Stewardship JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Political Economy and Environmental and Social Movements: Race, Class, and Gender SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Political Economy of Public Education: History and Philosophy SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Radio Practice and Politics SO-SR
  • Winter
8
Teaching through Performance FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Teachings of the Tree People: American Indian Culture FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
The Making of Global Capitalism, 1500-1914 JR-SR
  • Winter
16
Undergraduate Research in the Humanities JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Washington State Legislative Internships JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Who Gets What?: Political Economy of Income, Wealth, and Economic Justice FR
  • Winter
16
Who Gets What?: Political Economy of Race, Class and Gender FR
  • Fall
16