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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 co-ordinator of studies, Dr. Nicole van Os, 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 and migration, gender and 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

  • 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.

Assessment method

(ResMA students only)

ResMA students can take the course for credit, in which case they will write a paper worth about 70 hours of work. Information on the requirements for the paper will be provided by the instructor at the start of the course.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
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In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the research paper and for the course as a whole.

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


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



Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


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

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