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LIAS PhD Seminar: Themes in Global Political Economy


Admission requirements

In addition to LIAS PhD students, this course is open to students of the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research), the MA Asian Studies (research), and the MA Classical and Ancient Civilizations (research). Interested students from other relevant Research MA or PhD programmes are kindly advised to contact the coordinator of studies, before registering for this course.


What is the tension between states and markets in the history, production, and reproduction of capitalism in the global political economy (GPE)? Offering an intensive, multidisciplinary reading program in GPE, the seminar will grapple with the histories and approaches to scholarship around the nature, evolution, and legacies of capitalism around the world. Through critical engagement with core literature, seminar participants will be able to re-evaluate popular and scholarly assumptions on political economy and relate the analysis to their own diverse research projects. Applying a critical lens, each of six weekly sessions delves into a core text (or selection of articles), and reads these in conversation with major debates and questions in the field. The theme(s) vary each year, and may include histories of capitalism, labour, migration, gender, race, trade and investment, inequality, commodities and energy markets, consumption, global finance, global economic governance, and the environment, among others. By looking at political economy through a global lens, the course helps students build theoretical and methodological preparedness to investigate multiple explanations, outcomes, and impacts on local, national, regional, and global levels.

This course is linked to the research network, the Leiden Political Economy Group. Students are welcome to attend other activities organized by the network.

Course objectives

  • Become familiar with theoretical works dealing with the production of knowledge on global political economy;

  • Enhance your ability to engage and synthesize arguments in debate and workshop settings;

  • Improve critical reading and analysis skills.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Mode of instruction: seminar

  • Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenor needs to be informed without delay of any classes missed because of illness or misadventure. In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

  • Assignments may include web posts, presentations, moderating the discussion etc, at the discretion of the convener.

  • Deadlines for paper submission (ResMA students only) are set by the convener, after consultation of the students. Papers must be submitted at a date that enables marking and administrative processing within maximally six weeks after the Seminar’s final session.

Assessment method

ResMA students take the course for credit and will write a paper worth about 70 hours of work. Information on the requirements for the paper will be provided by the convener at the start of the course.
Assessment consists of two components, each worth 50% of the end grade:

  • Contributions to in-class debate and any assignments (see above)

  • A paper (see above)

In order to pass the course, ResMA students need a pass mark (i.e. 5,50 or higher) for both components.

Assessment and weighing

See above


Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower and this is the result of a paper graded 5.49 or lower, a re-sit of the paper is possible (50%). In that case the convenor of the course may decide to assign a (new) topic. The deadline for this version will be determined by the course convenor, after consultation with the student. A re-sit for other course components is not possible.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

Prior to the start of the course, the course convener will provide detailed information on the material to be reviewed and any other preparatory activities for each session.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof