- Global Studies Major
- Social & Behavioral Sciences Major
- Psychology Major
The Social and Behavioral Sciences Center offers a BA degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Students majoring in this program have the option of selecting a specific concentration in different traditional disciplinary areas, including Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography (GIS), Social History, Sociology, Political Economy, Psychology. The political economy concentration offers an interdisciplinary approach to study the interconnections between economics and politics. It provides both breadth and depth of the discipline within a comparative framework in which students gain critical thinking skills and analytical tools to explain the inter-connected political economies of the U.S. and the rest of the world, especially Vietnam and other East and Southeast Asian countries. To meet the outcomes of this concentration, students can select from a variety of courses associated with this concentration, and combine with special activities that are related to these courses, including participation in the annual Social Justice colloquium series, roundtable discussions, seminars, exhibitions, presentations, etc. This combination also encourages students to connect these courses and activities with their Capstone projects on political economy.
A concentration in political economy prepares and empowers students in two ways. First, at a conceptual level, it prepares students for graduate schools by providing them with a strong theoretical and methodological foundation based on diverse and critical perspectives. Market and government, as both political and economic institutions, interact with each other to bring about prosperity, justice and security for all citizens. To analyze them separately will yield only partial and distorted understanding of the social system. Hence, the political economy concentration provides an integrative analysis in which politics and economics are two facets of processes by which society is organized to achieve both individual and communal goals. Through a combination of both courses and hands-on projects (broadly defined above), students will obtain a foundation in the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, relate them to real-life issues, and understand various implications for social policies. Moreover, they learn critical thinking and analytical skills in examining and critiquing the underlying assumptions of these theories and methodologies in terms of their embedded values, judgments and ideologies. In successful completion of the required combination (of courses and projects stated below), students would comprehend these fundamental theoretical concepts (content) and be able to use them to explain real-life problems in hands-on projects (process). Second, at an applied level, students will obtain the analytical tools to re-examine commonly held politico-economic conceptions/assumptions in a critical and comparative perspective. They gain a greater understanding of processes that affect everyday life of Americans and Third World peoples, as well as larger issues in the post cold-war world including the changing role of government to cope with challenges and opportunities arising from greater global integration, impacts of economic restructuring on sustainable development (defined as growth with economic, gender and environmental justice), socio-economic changes (gender division of labor, labor-capital relations, migration, cultural transformation, etc.).
Courses and outcomes Outcomes: Students are expected to comprehend these seven (7) concentration outcomes (these outcomes address all four SBS MLOs which are attached separately).
1. The use of economics as both setting and methods: traditional economic analysis of ways of adapting resources to ends in an efficient manner. Students will be able to analyze human behavior as a relationship between scarce resources and unlimited ends within the market setting, and situate their place within this whole process.
2. The use of economics as methods in political settings (government, political arena at all levels: individual, local, national, global). Students will be able to analyze the economic analyses of socio-economic policies such as trade, industrial, labor, tax, environmental, investment, immigration, health care policies. They should be able to situate their place within this whole process.
3. The use of political methods in the market setting. Students will be able to analyze power relations in market settings on issues such as market power of firms (including domestic and multi-national corporations), labor-capital relations, gender division of labor locally, nationally and globally. They should be able to situate their place within this whole process.
4. The underlying assumptions of those politico-economic frameworks. Students will be able to identify and critique them in terms of their embedded values, judgments and ideologies. They then discuss some potential changes to the frameworks/models in question using a more gender and class conscious set of assumptions.
5. Data collection and data analysis methods. Students are expected to understand the strengths and limitations of these methods, and be able to use a combination of various data collection and analysis methods to explain some real-life problems and connect them with the theoretical concepts and frameworks. They should be able to identify the differences between primary and secondary sources, and to assess their usefulness.
6. Applications to real-life issues that connect local and global concerns. Students will select some real-life issues that can be found in at least two countries (the U.S. and another country) such as sweatshop conditions, gender inequity, environmental degradation, labor migration, etc. These class projects can be associated with the themes of the annual Social-Justice Colloquium and their Capstone projects.
7. Historical foundations and context. Students should be able to contextualize their analyses in broad historical and social contexts, and analyze how historical legacies influence contemporary practices and processes. They should incorporate gender and class dimensions into their analyses, and analyze the differential impacts of processes in question with respect to gender and class.