BISGST 303: History and Globalization

Autumn 2012

Monday and Wednesday 5:45-7:45, UW2-031

Colin Danby, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell
Office: UW1-245 (425) 352-5285
Office Hours: MW 4-5 and by appointment
Library consultant: Alyssa Deutschler




In all its degrees, the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences pursues the four core learning objectives of critical and creative thinking; collaboration and shared leadership; interdisciplinary research and inquiry; and writing and communication. Students majoring in Global Studies:

1) Build interdisciplinary research skills that enable them to pose questions about the economic, political and cultural relationships that bind people and places across the globe.

2) Gain an understanding of the historical origins of global processes.

3) Use and critique frameworks such as human rights, feminism, post-colonialism and international trade theory to explain global processes.

4) Develop critical insights about culture, economies and institutions through comparative research.

5) Learn how to communicate the results of your research effectively.

BISGST 303 is the required introductory course to the Global Studies B.A. It approaches "globalization" historically, exploring the deep roots of contemporary global patterns. It gives you practice doing research. Research, at this level, means more than looking things up: it means using a variety of tools and sources to address interesting questions.


The topic of history and globalization potentially addresses all of world history. To make this more manageable, we will divide into groups by a number of key commodities in international trade. Working on a commodity will give you a thread to pull on, and a way to contribute to the work of the entire class. We will work through readings on a series of topics -- natural resources, labor, capital and commerce, consumption, and power -- relevant to each commodity. At the end of the course we will explore two different theoretical perspectives, world systems theory and neoliberalism, that attempt to explain globalization.


Your work: in addition to a number of small weekly question sets, you are asked to write a research memo on a question related to your commodity and its history. Developing and refining the question is part of the assignment. A first draft of the memo is due November 5th. It will be returned to you with a grade within a week, and you will have the option of revising it for a higher grade by November 19th. Your other substantial work will be two essays on the readings, one at mid-quarter and one at the end of the quarter.


There is no formal group assignment or group grade, but part of your work will be to support other people in your commodity group. Participation grades will take this work into account, and I will ask you to write a few words of reflection on that process at the end of the quarter.
Memo assignment: We're calling this a memo because it wants to be short, punchy. and clear. Its aim is to ask a question and answer it, or at least respond to it in an interesting way. It should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, but the words should be well-chosen: that is, every word should be helping to answer the question. You are encouraged to use images, diagrams, tables, maps, or anything else that helps you make your response to the question compelling and clear.
Half the battle is choosing the question. The question needs some tie-in to your commodity, and your treatment of it should at least recognize the historical depth of what you are treating and its global reach, but for the most part it is easier to zero in on something relatively specific in time and place and then recognize its larger implications, than to start with a huge question. The choice of question also relates to sources. For example "why is sugar popular" or "how have technological changes affected the profitability of sugar production" are way too big, partly because you would need to master many sources to even think carefully about them. On the other hand "how much sugar was imported into the United States in 1962" is too small. Expect to refine your question as you go forward.


  • Come to class on time and return from breaks on time. Absences and late arrivals disrupt your progress and the work of the class.
  • Bring a printout of that day’s reading with you to class and be prepared to discuss it.
  • Do readings and assignments on time.  Successful in-class work is built on careful out-of-class work.
  • Participate actively and thoughtfully in class.
  • Ask me questions when anything is not clear.  Assignments are not meant to be puzzles.
  • Keep written work in a portfolio.


  • Participation: 15%
  • Response papers: 15%
  • Memo: 35%
  • Essays: 35%
Participation includes small-group work in class as well as larger discussion; it also includes our library session  work and in-class writings that we will do from time to time.  I am interested in quality of participation at least as much as quantity, and I am always impressed when people respond thoughtfully to each other.  Reading Question Assignments will be assessed on the seriousness of the effort grapple with the assignment, and a good effort should get full credit. 

Late submissions will be penalized 15% (of the total possible grade) up to the first week they are late; 30% thereafter.  No late work will be graded after the last day of class meetings (Dec. 7, 2012).  There are no exceptions to the late-work policy -- there is no way that I can fairly assess the personal emergencies, job pressures, and other factors that impinge on different people's lives, and adjust their assignments accordingly. Please don't show me doctors' notes, court orders, or anything like that. There is however one appeal: if you feel that for any reason, part of your grade does not reflect your learning in the course, write me a short e-mail explaining why, and I will take that into account when assessing the final grade.

There is no reason to tell me if you are going to miss class. However if a serious illness or personal emergency is going to affect course work over a week or more, please tell me so we can plan how to get you back on track as quickly as possible. For a few other points see
Occasionally-Asked Questions, How I Assess Writing, and Notes on Formats for written work.

Our scheduled classes are times for work. Focusing on the task at hand is vital for your own learning; it also makes you a better participant in small-group discussions and other activities that help others learn. It is therefore expected that you will use class time for class work, and most importantly that you will not do anything to distract other students from class work. It's my responsibility to ensure that the classroom is a place in which every student can work successfully, and I will be forceful about squelching distractions.  I will ask you to avoid private conversations and noisy food, and  to turn off and put away cell phones and any other portable electronic devices. In the interest of avoiding distraction this will be a laptop-free classroom, and when we work with computers at the library, you are asked to confine your activity to the work at hand. If you have to arrive late to class, please tiptoe in the back door as quietly as possible.  It is my responsibility and prerogative to determine what is appropriate classroom behavior.

Accommodation for disabled students is a campus priority. If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at 425.352.5307, 425.352.5303 TDD, 425.352.5455 FAX, or at

You are reading a web document.  It can usually be located by putting "danby" into the faculty directory accessible via the main uwb page, or by putting "colin danby" into a search engine like google.   Changes in readings or assignments will be made on the web version, as well as being announced in class.  If you miss classes, you need to check for any modifications to assignments.  Assignments are posted on the "Catalyst" dropbox linked below (and here!) and there are readings on e-reserve at the library.  This course does not use Blackboard. 
I encourage you to see the regular class time as only part of the service provided to you in this course. Please feel no hesitation contacting me outside of class, using the scheduled office hours, and setting up meetings at other times.  If you are caring for a child, feel free to bring the child along to office hours.  Aside from visiting during the scheduled office hours or chatting after class, the best way to get in touch is e-mail. I don't use voice mail. The university provides you an e-mail account, and you’re responsible for your own forwarding arrangements if you use multiple accounts. It is easiest for me if you e-mail me from your university account; e-mail that comes from non-university addresses is harder to identify amid the daily flood.  At the least, please be sure that any e-mail account used to contact me shows your full name in the “from” field. I’ll usually get back within 24 hours during the M-F week. If I can, I’ll be faster, and I often check in during weekends, but don’t depend on that. Every now and then, the flow of e-mail gets too great and I fall behind for a few days. Given federal laws around educational records disclosure (google FERPA), it’s best not to use e-mail to discuss grades or anything sensitive.  But please e-mail me at any time about any question or concern, large or small.  For example, you can always send me a draft of an assignment before it is due, for comment. 

In IAS and at UW Bothell, students are expected to respect individual differences including age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender presentation, immigration status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status.  You should also expect to encounter a range of views in course readings and classroom discussions, some of which may be at odds with your own.  Students seeking support around these issues can find more information and resources at
Academic Integrity: This course includes writing.  When you put your name at the top of a paper and hand it in, in a university course, we assume that anything written below that name is your own work unless you indicate otherwise.   See for crucial information regarding academic integrity.  The library also has an extremely useful website with resources at You are responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the University of Washington Student Code, and you will be held responsible for any such violations whether they were intentional or not.  All cases of plagiarism in this course will be referred to the office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  Proper crediting boils down to two things: 

First, in anything that you hand in, your own writing must be clearly, unambiguously, distinguished from other people’s writing.  The normal way to do this is with quotation marks around words that you got from somewhere else.  

Second, quoted material, or anything else that you got from another source (a fact, an idea, something paraphrased) must have a reference clearly and directly attached to it that tells your reader precisely where it came from.  It is never enough simply to list the source at the end of the paper.

See these additional notes on plagiarism. And if you have any doubts, just ask me!

Please check if the campus may be closed due to weather. Information on suspension of operations will be made public and available through the media. Students can learn of campus operations status from the website or by calling the Campus Information Hotline 425.352.3333. You may also sign up with an alert system that will contact you via email or text message if classes are canceled. For more information on the alert process, please see Class activities will be rescheduled as needed.


  • Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power.  In the UWB Bookstore.
  • Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction.  In the UWB Bookstore.
  • Electronic reserve The rest of our readings are here, free of charge.  But you are responsible for printing out class readings, and bringing those printouts with you to class.  Two more notes on e-reserve: (a) the course e-reserve list includes some texts that we will not read, so don’t go printing them all out, (b) I try to give you direct links below to the readings, but for those links to work an initial “cookie” has to be set on your computer.  The technical details are too boring to describe, but you may sometimes have to go directly to the UW Library Website and follow links to the course’s e-reserves from there.

Topics, Readings, and Assignments  (subject to adjustment)

 date  in-class work  assignments and readings  (readings should be done before class)

(Assignments should be done by 5PM on the indicated day and submitted via the  dropox for this course.)

Week 1
Mon September 24th

Film example

Wed September 26th
Political economy framework

Space, distance, networks
Week 2
Mon  October 1st
First library Session LB1-222
Work in assigned groups, make up annotated bibliography and chronology
Sidney Mintz, "Food, Sociality, and Sugar." (Chapter 1, pages 1-18)
Jared Diamond, "Spacious Skies and Tilted Axes"

Reading questions due Monday, October 1st
Wed  October 3rd

Jared Diamond, "Zebras, Unhappy Marriages, and the Anna Karenina Principle"
Crosby, 270-308 ("Explanations")
Week 3
Mon  October 8th
Labor and migration
Robin Blackburn, "Slavery and Modernity"
Sidney Mintz,"Production" (Chapter 2, 19-73)
Wed  October 10th
 Employee of the year Paula Chakravartty, "Weak Winners of Globalization"
Basch, Schiller, Blanc, "Transnational Projects: A New Perspective"  (This is the third of the three Basch readings on the e-reserve list, the one with "(pp. 1-19)" in it.)
Week 4
Mon  October 15th
Consumption and culture
google maps session
Sidney Mintz, "Consumption" (Chapter 3, pages 74-150)

Reading questions due Monday, October 15th
Wed  October 17th
Brad DeLong, "Cornucopia"
Sut Jhally, "Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse"
Week 5
Mon  October 22nd

Mid-quarter essay due
Wed   October  24th
Priti Ramamurthy, "Why is Buying a 'Madras' Cotton Shirt a Political Act?"
Roseberry, "The Rise of Yuppie Coffees"

Week 6
Mon   October  29th
Capital and commerce
Hopkins and Wallerstein, "Commodity Chains in the World-Economy prior to 1800"
Dicken, "Webs of Enterprise"
Dicken, "We are what we eat"
Reading Questions (see dropbox)
Wed   October  31st
 Week 7
Mon November 5th
Power, government, geopolitics

draft of research memo due
Please bring a paper printout of your memo with you to class.
Sidney Mintz, "Power" (Chapter 4, pages 151-186
 Wed November 7th  
MacGillivray, "Global Intent "
Immanuel Wallerstein, The Rise of the States-System" (Chapter 3, pages 42-59)
Week 8
Monday November 12th is the Veterans Day Holiday

 draft memo back to you
Wed November 14th
no additional readings
Reading Question (see dropbox)
Week 9
Mon November 19th
Theories of globalization

optional rewrite of draft memo due

Alex Tabarrok, How Ideas Trump Crises
Bhagwati, Poverty, Enhanced or Diminished?
Harvey, Freedom's Just Another Word
optional: Bhagwati, Anti-Globalization: Why"
Wed November 21st  World Systems
Wallerstein, 1-41
Week 10
Mon November 26th
 World Systems
 handout: see "lib vs. ws" document at the bottom of this page
Wallerstein, 62-90
Stinchcombe, Arthur L. (1982) "Review Essay: The Growth of the World System."
Reading questions
Wed November 28th
 Globalization and Culture  (43:00 – 46:00)
handout "Baudelaire Benjamin Jameson" at the bottom of this page.
Sassen, The Global Economy (just click the link)
Boli and Lechner, Globalization and World Culture
Mazzarella, Culture, Globalization, Mediation
optional: Robertson, Globalization, Culture and
Week 11
Mon December 3rd
William Mazzarella, "Indian Fun: Constructing 'the Indian Consumer'"  Chapter 7 of Shoveling Smoke
Reading questions
optional: Mazarella, "Locations" Chapter 1 of Shoveling Smoke
Wed December 5th
Wed December 12th (no class)
 Final essay   In drop-box

Subpages (1): graphics
Colin Danby,
Nov 5, 2012, 5:16 PM
Colin Danby,
Nov 28, 2012, 7:41 PM
Colin Danby,
Nov 5, 2012, 5:17 PM
Colin Danby,
Oct 10, 2012, 1:16 AM
Colin Danby,
Nov 28, 2012, 7:38 PM
Colin Danby,
Oct 22, 2012, 5:01 PM