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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Amanda B Clayton-Dye
POL S 335
Seattle Campus

Topics in Political Economy

Class description

This course provides a political economy framework to understand the origins and persistence of global gender inequality. We will look at variation in gender inequality indicators to systematically address how women’s socio-economic status and political power has varied across time (in historical perspective) and place (in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas). We will employ three analytical lenses to help us interpret what we see: biology, markets, and power. These lenses will help us understand how issues specific to women relate to debates in mainstream political economy. Each week is based around a set of motivating questions, which generally cover the themes: How does the sex with which you were born matter, and why? How do different forms of economic production affect the distribution of resources between men and women? What generates and sustains power structures that are relatively patriarchal or matriarchal or mixed? We will examine a range of substantive issues that concern women in a wide range of societies to gauge which kinds of explanations are the most persuasive. The first three weeks of the course will be devoted to understanding the three analytical lenses. The following two weeks will examine gender issues that are often (although certainly not exclusively) discussed in the Global North, such as women’s pay discrimination in formal labor markets and underrepresentation in upper-level management positions. We will examine how political, economic, and social structures interact with gender to produce variation on these indicators in different societies. The remainder of the course will engage with themes that largely affect countries in the Global South. For instance, one week will be devoted to the occurrence of “missing women” – or gender bias in mortality rates and two weeks will be devoted to understanding the adoption and impacts of quotas for women in politics. Again, students will be encouraged to analyze these themes through the mutually constitutive lenses of biology, markets, and power.

Student learning goals

Analyze global patterns of gender inequality through a political economy framework

Discuss topical gender and politics issues in comparative perspective

Produce a research paper that advances an argument related to the political and socio-economic status of women, either focusing on one country or comparatively

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Introductory political economy and comparative politics courses recommended

Class assignments and grading

Assignments for this course will be structured around a series of response papers that correspond to the weekly readings and lectures. Additionally, students will be required to submit a final research paper.

- 3 short response papers (each worth 15% of the final grade) - Final paper worth 40% of the course grade - Class participation 15% of the course grade


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 Amanda B Clayton-Dye
Date: 02/04/2014