Many thanks to all who offered suggestions and recommendations in response to my inquiry!
Hi Dave: I taught an interdisciplinary honors course titled "Perspectives on Globalization" for a couple of years after I retired. Among many other things the students read Travels of My T-Shirt and The Box (by Marc Levinson). They also watched the film Wal-Mart: The High cost of Low Price and various TED talks.
The most interesting part of the course to me, and, from comments then an later, to a number of students, was the big written assignment. They were to choose a time and place and write a story--a piece of fiction--showing how gender, age, race, education, inheritance, and any other characteristics that were relevant affected the way in which their main character experienced globalization. The characters could be from earlier episodes of globalization (dealt with through essays and lectures in the course) created by the steam ship, railroads, and telegraph or from the present and from any place. The only requirement was that they do enough research to present statistical or anecdotal evidence for their accounts. They also had to make a classroom presentation of their character complete with whatever props they wanted. I met with individual students throughout the semester to talk about their projects.
About half of the students were honors engineering students who were terrified by the assignment but in the end they (mostly) confessed to having enjoyed it thoroughly and to having learned a lot from having had to write a piece of fiction supported by social science research.
I was also able to use their essays and presentations to make the point that what your think about globalization depends on your vantage point. Sounds simple to us, but not necessarily an obvious point for sophomores. I was amused, if not surprised, that so many of the engineering students started by thinking that globalization was great for all and in every way, and so many of the sociology and global studies students thought exactly the opposite. A fictional character provided a neutral ground for us to talk about winners and losers and the myriad aspects of "winning" and "losing."
There are a lot of novels that can be used to give flesh to Polanyi's story. My current favorite is Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. Gaskell was a 19th century Englishwoman whose work it now getting the attention it deserved. She is not as wild and funny as Dickens but in many ways tells the story of 19th century British industrialization and the creation of the fictitious commodities of money, land, and labor much more clearly than he did. I am also very fond of Frank Norris's Octopus and The Pit but think they would take more time to present in a context of Polanyi's argument about what happened. I suspect that there are a lot of good novels about post-colonial and immigrant experience that have been written recently that would be easier to use for this purpose but I do not even try to keep up with that literature. The loss is mine I know.
Good luck. I had a lot of fun with the course that I taught.
P.S. The Box was also much enjoyed by some of the engineering students who originally approached reading a book with trepidation. It also presents evidence about container shipping and port construction that should for ever put an end to the notion
of comparative advantage as a sound foundation for theorizing about trade.
On Sep 17, 2015, at 7:14 AM, Zalewski, Dave <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion. I have a copy and really like it; however, I agree that some of it would be tough going given student backgrounds. However, I think parts of it would be excellent.
School of Business
Providence, RI 02918
From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Kemp, Thomas A. <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2015 9:39 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] Request for teaching materialsHi Dave,
It might be a little too advanced in sections but I’d recommend a look at Dani Rodrik’s Has Globalization Gone Too Far?
Dr. Thomas KempProfessor of EconomicsDepartment of EconomicsUniversity of Wisconsin – Eau ClaireEau Claire, WI 54702
715 836 2150
I will be co-teaching an interdisciplinary humanities seminar during the Spring term on globalization and social responses to it. Obviously, Polanyi will be leading off; however, could anyone recommend other books (fiction would be great as well!), films, etc... on this issue that second-year students with no prior coursework in economics could handle? Thanks in advance.
School of Business
Providence, RI 02918