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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Wolfram W. Latsch
SIS 498
Seattle Campus

Readings in International Studies

Reading and discussion of selected works of major importance in interdisciplinary international studies. Restricted to majors in International Studies.

Class description

Understanding Institutions: Protection,Predation, & Production

This course is designed to provide students with the basic terminology and conceptual toolbox to analyze and understand institutions. The course is intended to help students appreciate the important role that institutions have played in a wide variety of places and periods. The course proposes that the study of institutions and of institutional change is essential for an understanding of issues such as prosperity and poverty, resource use, and conflict. The emphasis will be on political economy, that is, on the relationship between the allocation and use of power on the one hand, and the allocation and use of resources on the other. The conceptual tools introduced are drawn from economics, political science, evolutionary anthropology and psychology. The basic framework used is that of New Institutional Economics (NIE) which combines a emphasis on individual decision-making with a focus on historical and contemporary empirical work. Ideas from biological and social evolution provide a lens through which human rationality can be defined and understood as the evolved tools of an ultra-social species that thrives on cooperation and social information.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/26/2010