Spaces of Capitalism Program

Syracuse University Summer College

EconomicsGovernmentSocial Justice

Syracuse, NY


Jul 30 - Aug 11




We all live and work under this thing called “capitalism,” but what is it? How does it determine nearly all aspects of our daily lives? How has capitalism changed over time? What came before capitalism and what might come after? Why are so many poor while so few are extremely rich? Why are jobs getting worse? How come debt is rising? Where do the everyday objects of consumption come from? Why do some geographical places/regions have more wealth than others? What caused the financial crisis of 2008 and how has the COVID pandemic shifted the economic landscape? What should be the role of the state in regulating a capitalist economy? How does capitalism produce racism, sexism, and xenophobia?

These are the sorts of questions we will explore in this class. We will examine the geographies of finance (including the 2008 financial meltdown), industrial production (including the industrialization of China), and consumer culture. We will pay particular attention to the consequences of these integrated capitalist geographies for people and societies in a variety of contexts. The goal of this class is to begin to think critically about the processes underlying global capitalism. You will learn key concepts used to understand capitalism as not only an economic system, but also a political, cultural, and geographical system. You will not only be asked to demonstrate that you understand these concepts, but also, that you are developing your own unique perspective for explaining how capitalism works.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Course Objectives
From this course, students will be able to:

  • Comprehend the economic dimensions of their lives
  • Explain how and why capitalism functions as it does
  • Understand the economic causes of inequality and social oppression
  • Situate capitalism historically and geographically
  • Appreciate how capitalism affects ideas and culture
  • Know how capitalism started and consider how it will end
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