Political economy is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines the intersection of politics and economics. For this program students will examine political philosophies and worldviews in their historical and contemporary contexts as they apply to the ideologies of fascism, far right extremism, conservatism, liberalism, and anti-fascism. Specifically, the program considers current fascist politics, actions that are associated with mid-20 century fascist regimes in Europe.
Students will study the historical roots of 20 and 21 century anti-fascism along with characteristics of anarchism which informs the practices of anti-fascists. As a counter-movement resistant to fascist politics, anti-fascism’s rationale, internal structuring, and strategies will be analyzed. This aspect of the program considers liberal and socialist political economy responses to antifa (an abbreviation for "anti-fascist") and anarchism.
Among the questions students will explore in this program are: What is fascism? How is fascism different from the far right and conservatism? What are the goals of fascist politics and how are they both similar and different from governing systems of fascism? How might we differentiate among conservative, far-right, and fascist politics? How have liberal democracies generally responded to fascist politics? How do fascist politics intersect with race, ethnicity, class, and gender? In what ways do U.S. policing and foreign policy use fascist politics?
Students will also have an opportunity to study the relationship between anarchism and anti-fascism. This aspect of the program necessitates that we work together to understand how various elements of fascist politics work. This requires investigations into the relation of fascist politics to such characteristics as mythic histories, notions of worthy and unworthy victims, embracing of anti-democratic and authoritarian governance, idealization of work, promotion of nationalism and anti-cosmopolitanism, nativism, and theoretical opposition to the state as a source of social welfare. To this end and throughout the program, significant attention will be given to examining terminology so that students will leave this program with a clearer understanding of fascist politics.
Students should plan for extensive background reading and writing assignments as preparation for text-based seminars and workshops. Students can expect to collaborate in small groups to research and present contemporary examples of the political economy of fascist politics. Individually, students will periodically synthesize program material in short papers and, as a cumulative project, they will develop and present an in-depth academic research paper on a topic related to the themes of this program. As an outcome of this program, students should anticipate leaving with a more informed understanding of contemporary politics and economics.
political economy, political science, history, law and public policy, education, and public service
$35 for museum fee and a booklet of supplemental readings.