ECON 2103: Honors Core: Deep Roots of Modern Societies

Requires ECON 1200 or both ECON 1201 and 1202.

This course examines the sources of challenging issues facing modern societies, such as poverty, gender roles, discrimination, migration, labor coercion, and armed conflict. Going beyond the study of limited proximate reasons affecting these problems, we analyze ever deeper, more fundamental causes that lie deep in history and natural conditions, such as colonization, slavery, globalization, warfare, geographic endowment, and environmental history. You will learn innovative methods to analyze important questions and scientific standards to communicate ideas and critique other approaches.

The course will consist of three parts. In the first part, you will learn recent methods of economic history to differentiate between proximate reasons and deep roots. The second part will apply these insights to investigate the effects of historical and geographic factors on specific contemporary issues and the channels of transmission between the past and present. In the final part, you will examine differences between traditional and modern societies with the objective of answering why certain traditional practices have disappeared while others have persisted over time.

Each student will choose a geographic region of the world and one of the issues to be covered in the course. This choice will guide your individual research and exploration and be the basis for your paper and presentation assignments.