Political Economy and 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.

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Thomas Herndon is interviewed by Professor Alan Nasser in the CCAM 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 combines economics, history, politics, sociology, ecology, education, and media studies. It asks who has what, who does what kinds of work, how it got to be that way, and how it could be different.

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A seated student holds out her hands to another during a discussion
Students learn the process of planning and pitching ideas for short films in the program Tomorrow Today: Political Economy and Culture of the Future.

You will focus on economic processes, their relation to power and public policy, and their influence on people's lives and social institutions. Using this lens, you'll explore the expansion of state power through surveillance and border militarization, the forces that drive foreign policy and war, and the root causes of forced migration in different parts of the world.

In these programs, you will focus on social movements in the U.S and globally, such as:

  • Women's movements
  • Civil rights movements
  • Revolutionary movements
  • Environmental justice
  • Food systems
  • Climate change activism

Political economy programs are often motivated by current events, but always keep history in mind. History, in turn, is always approached in dynamic terms. You won't study empire as a transhistorical concept, you'll study imperialism as a process in the context of the historical development of capitalism. You'll study mainstream macro and microeconomics with historical context and a critical eye, never simply as an abstraction or a technical exercise.

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Professor Shangrila Joshi stands in a windowed classroom while students listen from their desks

You will analyze the relation between capitalism and race, gender and class, and how inequalities are formed and shaped within global capitalism. You can learn how social transformation 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 and explore alternative visions for economies and societies that promote justice and environmental sustainability.

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A circle of students sit in the grass outside with their professor, Savvina Chowdhury
Faculty Associated With This Field
Title Expertise
Buxbaum, Stephen political economy, community development and planning
Chowdhury, Savvina feminist economics
Crowley, Lin media and Chinese studies
Joshi, Shangrila climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development
McMillin, Paul historical sociology, information studies
Niva, Steven international politics, political science, Middle East studies
Smith, Tyrus environmental studies, public policy
Steinhoff, Eirik English
Vavrus, Michael education, history, political economy
Womeldorff, Thomas (Tom) economics

Choosing What to Take at Evergreen

You’ll choose what you study to earn a Bachelor’s degree that’s meaningful to you. Some students decide their programs as they go, while others chart their course in advance.

Aim for both breadth and depth; explore fields that may be related or that may seem very distant. You'll be surprised at what you discover.

If you're new to college, look for programs where you can gain a foundation, build key skills, and broaden your knowledge (FR only, FR-SO, or FR-SR).

If you already have a foundation in this field, look for programs with intermediate or advanced material (SO-SR, JR-SR, or FR-SR). These programs may include community-based learning and in-depth research. Some of these programs have specific prerequisites; check the description for details.

Talk to an academic advisor to get help figuring out what coursework is best for you.