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LOGIN 251A HIST SEM 1: Collaborative Research Seminar: American History
W 9:00AM -- 11:50A    ROLFE 3106

Instructor Office Phone Number Email Office Hours
Yeager, Mary A. 7381 Bunche 310 825-3489, 310 825-4601 yeager@ucla.edu TBA

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THE MANY FACES OF CAPITALISM:  SEEING ECONOMIES IN CULTURES AND SOCIETIES

H. 251

 

 

Prof. Mary A. Yeager                                                                        FALL 2008, UCLA

#7381 Bunche Hall

Seminar:  Rolfe #3106, 9am -12noon

Office Hours: T 4-6 p.m.

Fax:  310-278-5311

 

            This two quarter research seminar begins with this  premise:  to understand the history of capitalism one must know something about the workability of economies.  Students are challenged to see economies in cultures and societies.  How are economies seen?  If they can be seen, do economies also smell?  Do they taste differently? 

 

The course begins with two historical puzzles, the answers to which are intimately interrelated.   The first concerns the professions, of which History is only one slice of an ever expanding and always changing intellectual pie.  What have historians contributed to debates about capitalism?   What have they shown us about the workability of economies?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of historical perspectives on economic change?

 

Since the late 19th century,  a variety of professions have evolved, some of which emerge from disciplinary battles within academia and others of which are tied more closely to practices in the real world, such as law and perhaps, business. A professionalization process comprises one element in a much broader transformation of society through modernization.  The journey toward professional ideals is long, arduous, seldom complete, and often contentious.  The seminar represents only one path toward the “professional ideal,” which in reality is always under deconstruction and reconstruction. 

 

A second puzzle concerns capitalism.  As Joseph Schumpter, Joan Robinson, and Joyce Appleby have continually argued, capitalism is ever-changing.  It displays many faces at many times in a variety of places.  The course  does not explicitly deal with how the United States or any other countries became/or did not become, capitalistic.    Rather it concentrates upon illuminating the specific people, places and events that continually changed capitalism.  It narrows the analytic scope to a handful of economies about which history has contributed a significant literature.

 

I encourage you to re-imagine the list of economies noted below.  The list reflects my own personal interests and an appreciation of particular problems of capitalism.  Intensive investigation into the workability of these economies offers students a wide choice of possible research topics Among the economies included are the following: 

(1) professional economies

(2) exchange/tradinging/mercantile economies

(3) Indian economies and Slave/plantation economies

(4) regional economies

(5) female/ male economies/ethnic economies

(6) industrial economies

(7) crisis economies

(8) national and international economies

 

 

 

As a professional-in-the making, you are in the driver’s seat.  You determine where the car should go and what type of fuel you will use.  The first quarter of this research seminar should provide the building blocks for the engine, if not the entire automobile.  By the second quarter, you should feel confident enough to start driving the car that you have been building.  Some cars will fall apart; some will race faster and last longer than others.  But all cars will reach the finish line (no incompletes).

 

As you begin to tackle historical problems of interest to you, keep in mind that almost all of life’s problems have some economic content.  Material changes in economies also generate moral, social, political and psychological consequences.  The challenge is to understand the dynamic and ever-changing interrelations between the economic and the cultural, the political and the ethical/moral in ways that help to address the particular problems of interest to you.

 

Even if you do not intend to become a business and economic historian,   I want you to enjoy the journey.    To do that,   you have to work, just as people have to work to transform economies into useful instruments of human will and creativity.   A central question often asked b y scholars of economies in other countries, is “Why do Americans work so hard?” Economic development is really about work, hard and dirty work, with hands, hearts, heads and a few tools.  People work hard so that they don’t have to work so hard when they can’t hardly work anymore.  Some people work hard to pass others by, to get ahead, to squash other little fishes  in the pond before they get eaten by the bigger ones. Others work hard because they have a gun to their heads.  Some people even work to improve their character, their economic conditions,  their lives  and the lives of others. 

 

Why you have to work in this course may differ dramatically with why you have to work in other courses.  I  hope that you take this course and remember everything you have read so that when it comes time to figure out how to survive in the economy by teaching students what you know, you can tell them something compelling and coherent about economic change.  I hope this course opens your eyes to the world of money and commodities and capitalism even if it doesn’t make you rich, fat or happy.  I want to help make you “sensible fans” of the economy so that in your darkest hours, when your friends are busily downloading music on their ipods  and you are trying to figure out why price elasticity equals a percentage change in supply divided by the percentage change in price, you can take some comfort knowing that “Rock and roll will be a passing fad compared with the baby boom’s loyalty to growth-oriented investment planning.” 

 

Among the questions that the seminar addresses are the following:  What is an economy?  How are its historical boundaries and dynamics investigated, situated, evaluated and understood over time?   Who works economies and how have the workers and working conditions changed over time?  Why do some economies generate better or worse results than others?  How have historians evaluated the results and how do you rate the historians? 

 

The course should enable you to  expand your professional tool kit to include an understanding of basic concepts associated with capitalism, including private/public  property, growth/contraction, income generation/contraction, competition/monopoly/oligopoly, markets/ technology, innovation/ routinization, instability/stability, inequality/equality.

 

REQUIRED* AND RECOMMENDED READINGS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE, UCLA.

 

*Breen, MARKETPLACE OF REVOLUTION

 

Breen, TOBACCO CULTURE (Cal/Prin)

 

*Castells, RISE OF NETWORK SOCIETY (Blackwell)

 

*Douglas, HOW INSTITUTIONS THINK

 

Godley, JEWISH IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Macmill)

 

Gold, ETHNIC ECONOMIES

 

Koehn, BRAND NEW (Harvard Bus)

 

McCraw, CREATING MODERN CAPITALISM

 

Sandage, BORN LOSERS (Harvard)

 

 

READINGS/ASSIGNMENTS.

 

The readings are divided into core readings, which every student is required to  read and discuss.  The second half of the seminar will be devoted to a student’s handling of a supplementary reading, usually a single text.  The student responsible for the supplementary text will prepare a one page written summary of the book under discussion.  The summary will be sent by email attachment to me and the rest of the students by Monday 9 p.m. for discussion the following Wednesday.  Whenever possible the student presenting the written summary should also plan to connect the ideas developed in the complementary materials to the core readings so that all students can debate the issues raised by the core and complementary readings.  Another student will take responsibility for a commentary on both the discussion in the core and supplementary readings during the closing ten minutes of the class..  This verbal commentary will be in the form of a constructive analysis of what has been learned about a particular economy and what more needs to be done.

 

            To whet your appetite for risk,  I have also devised an early assignment that demands some thought but no additional readings or research (imagine that!).  As I see gaping holes in knowledge, I also reserve the right to assign new assignments to get you up to speed with the materials and to sharpen your own writing abilities.

 

            EVALUATION (intended as a rough approximation). 

 

            No input, no output. 

 

Verbal participation (consistent, insightful, articulate) TOTAL=35 points

 

(1)               Overall, counting each week = 25 points

(2)               closing summary, EACH STUDENT x 2@5 points each = 10 points

 

Written assignments:  TOTAL =65 points

(1)               autobiography (to be revised and turned in the final day of class) =5 points

(2)               one page summary of supplementary readings x 4@5 points each = 20 points.

(3)               Data analysis, 3 pages, due next week, Oct. 9 =10 points

(4)               Outline of proposed project (to be submitted last week of class) =30 points        

 

           

SCHEDULE OF READINGS/ASSIGNMENTS.

 

Week I.  Professional Economies

           

Core Reading:

                        Galambos

                        Fridenson

 

Question of interest:  To what extent is professionalization a process?  Consider its elements.  

 

Future Reading:

 

Dorothy Ross, THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN SOCIAL SCIENCE

 and 

____________MODERNIST IMPULSES IN THE HUMAN SCIENCES, 1870-1930

           

Andrew Abbott, THE SYSTEM OF PROFESSIONS

 

Burton J. Bledstein, THE CULTURE OF PROFESSIONALISM

 

Joyce Tang and Earl Smith, eds. WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN AMERICAN PROFESSIONS

 

Thomas L. Haskell, THE EMERGENCE OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE

 

Week II.  Mercantile/Trading/Exchange Economies

           

Core Reading:

                        McCusker

           

Supplementary: 

                        Adam Smith, WEALTH OF NATIONS

 

Robert Brenner, MERCHANTS AND REVOLUTION:  COMMERCIAL CHANGE, POLITICAL CONFLICT, AND LONDON’S OVERSEAS TRADERS, 1550-1653

 

Deirdre N. McCloskey, THE BOURGEOIS VIRTUES;  ETHICS FOR AN AGE OF COMMERCE

 

Assignment: 

                        Research Library, Reference Section

                        Latest edition of HISTORICAL STATISTICS OF THE US

 

Select any 5 data sets around which to build a history of one of the respective economies listed; no additional reading is required; write a 3 page history, based on the data only

         

Week III.  Capitalism:  An examination of the Puzzle

Core Reading:

            Douglas, HOW INSTITUTUIONS THINK,

            McCraw, pp. 1-18; 303-348

            Weber, Protestant Ethic & Spirit of Capitalism

            Chandler, “What is a Firm?” (on syllabus link, and/or in

Yeager, WOMEN IN BUSINESS, vol. I in reference section library, Powell)

Supplementary Reading:

 

                        David Leverenz,  Trachtenberg, Haskell, and Livingston, Inc.

American Literary History, Vol. 15, No. 4, History, Economics, and Criticism (Winter, 2003), pp. 738-747

 

Thomas L. Haskell Capitalism and the Origins of the Humanitarian Sensibility, Part 2

The American Historical Review, Vol. 90, No. 3 (Jun., 1985), pp. 547-566

Published by: American Historical Association

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1860956

 

Richard R. John Elaborations, Revisions, Dissents: Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.'s, "The Visible Hand" after Twenty Years , The Business History Review, Vol. 71, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 151-200

Alfred D. Chandler , The Emergence of Managerial Capitalism The Business History Review, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Winter, 1984), pp. 473-503

Frederic C. Lane, “Meanings of Capitalism,” The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 29, No. 1, The Tasks of Economic History (Mar., 1969), pp. 5-12 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2115496

 

Week IV.  Agrarian Economies

 

                        Core: 

                                    Price, DIVIDING THE LAND (U of Chicago, 1995)

                       

                        Supplementary:

 

Ronald D. Eller, UNEVEN GROUND, APPALACHIA SINCE 1945

 

Paul K. Conkin, A REVOLUTION DOWN ON THE FARM; THE TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN AGRICULTURE SINCE 1929

 

Olmstead and Rhode, CREATING ABUNDANCE; BIOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND AMERICAN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Ronald Formisano, FOR THE PEOPLE; AMERICAN POPULIST MOVEMENTS FROM THE REVOLUTION TO THE 1850s (U.NC Press, 2008)

 

 

Week V.  Industrial Economies

 

            Core: 

Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.  Anthracite Coal and the Beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in the United States   Business History Review, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer, 1972), pp. 141-181

Nancy Koehn, BRAND NEW

            Supplementary:

 

            Steven W. Usselman, REGULATING RAILROAD INNOVATION

           

Gerald Berk, ALTERNATIVE TRACKS; THE CONSTITUTION OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL ORDER, 1865-1917

 

Scott Reynolds Nelson, IRON CONFEDERACIES:  SOUTHERN RAILWAYS, KLAN VIOLENCE AND RECONSTRUCTION

 

Week VI.  Indian, Slave Economies

 

            Core:

Robert Fogel,  WITHOUT CONSENT OR CONTRACT

*Engerman, “Slavery” (scanned and available on line, in links)

 

            Supplementary:

 

Theda Perdue, SLAVERY AND THE EVOLUTION OF CHEROKEE SOCIETY (1979)

 

Richard White, THE MIDDLE GROUND:  INDIANS, EMPIRES, AND REPUBLICS IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION, 1650-1815

 

Edmund S. Morgan, AMERICAN SLAVERY, AMERICAN FREEDOM

 

*Peter Kolchin, AMERICAN SLAVERY: 1699-1877

 

Clyde A. Milner II, Walter Nugent, Elliott West, Karen R. Merrill, Philip J. Deloria and Richard White,  A Historian Who Has Changed Our Thinking: A Roundtable on the Work of Richard White ,The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 137-157

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4144800

 

Douglas A. Blackmon, SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME;  THE RE-ENSLAVEMENT OF BLACK AMERICANS FROM THE CIVIL WAR TO WORLD WAR II

 

WEEK VI.  “OTHER ECONOMIES:  FEMALE, MALE, ETHNIC, RACIAL”

 

            Core: 

Angel Kwolek-Folland, ENGENDERING BUSINESS:  Men and Women in the Corporate Office, 1870-1930

 

Gold, ETHNIC ECONOMIES

 

Godley, JEWISH IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Joan Scott, Comment: Conceptualizing Gender in American Business History, The Business History Review, Vol. 72, No. 2, Gender and Business (Summer, 1998), pp. 242-249

 

Michael Kimmel, THE HISTORY OF MEN:  ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN AND BRITISH MASCULINITIES (chapter, “Consuming Manhood:  The Feminization of American Culture and the Recreation of the Male Body, 1832-1920,”   scanned and available in links), Ch. 3, “The Social Organization of Masculinity,” pp.67-86

 

R.W. Connell, MASCULINITIES, Ch. 1, “The Science of Masculinity,” 3-44, 244-266

 

                        Supplementary:

 

Wendy Gamber, THE FEMALE ECONOMY:  THE MILLINERY AND Dressmaking Trades, 1860-1930

 

Angel Kwolek-Folland, INCORPORATING WOMEN; A HISTORY OF WOMEN AND BUSINESS IN THE UNITED STATES

Kimmel, THE GENDER OF DESIRE:  ESSAYS ON MALE SEXUALITY

 

 

 

Pamela Laird, PULL

 

VII.  FINANCIAL ECONOMIES

 

            Core:  Sandage, BORN LOSERS

 

            Supplementary:

 

            Calder, FINANCING THE AMERICAN DREAM

 

Edward J. Balleisen,  NAVIGATING FAILURE; BANKRUPTCY AND COMMERCIAL SOCIETY IN ANTEBELLUM AMERICA

 

 

 

VIII.        Regional/ National/International Economies 

 

Core:

             Manuel Castells, THE RISE OF THE NETWORK SOCIETY

 

Supplementary:

 

Chandler and Mazlish, LEVIATHANS; MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND THE NEW GLOBAL HISTORY

 

Mira Wilkins, The Emergence of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad from the Colonial Era to 1914

 

Mira Wilkins, The Maturing of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad From 1914 to 1970

 

Geoffrey Jones, Multinationals and Global Capitalism from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century

 

IX.  Crisis Economies and Regulatory Economies:  Is There a Link?

 

Core: 

            Naomi Klein, SHOCK CAPITALISM

 

Supplementary:

 

Bob Brenner, THE BOOM AND THE BUBBLE:  THE US IN THE WORLD ECONOMY

 

 

 

 

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