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2014/2015  BA-BBLCV1004U  History of Capitalism in the United States

English Title
History of Capitalism in the United States

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 40
Max. participants 45
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Kevin McGovern - MSC
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Political Science
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
  • Economics, macro economics and managerial economics
  • Economic and organizational sociology
Last updated on 11-04-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to:
  • Develop a relevant problem area, analysis and conclusions in accordance with the conventions of academic writing
  • Exhibit understanding of the origins of United States business, economic, and labor relations
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical development of business and the economy in the United States
  • Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical paradigms of economic development, management, and labor organizing
  • Analyze critically issues of historical development and change in relation to economic theory
Course prerequisites
A general familiarity with American history. A level of proficiency in English allowing active participation and coherent writing.
History of Capitalism in the United States:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period December/January
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
Individual written 10-page essay responding to an prompt provided by the instructor. Appropriate essay format and quality standards will be discussed in class. Re-examination will be the same as the ordinary one.
Course content and structure
This course explores the historical development of capitalism in the United States by weaving together business history, economic history, labor history, and the history of technology. Moving through two centuries, the course has two focuses. First, we will trace how United States businesses transformed from predominantly small family firms and mercantile houses in the early 1800's into the joint stock companies and partnerships of the mid-nineteenth century, and then into the multinational corporations of the twentieth century. Second, we will examine the role of diverse economic actors (including workers, business leaders, government officials, and social reformers) in shaping U.S. society. This course will explore the relationship between economic and political power, the formation of class identity the influence of race, ethnicity, and gender in shaping workers' experiences, and the impact of competing ideas about how to organize economic life. Taking a multi-dimensional approach to American capitalism will illuminate the strongest contradictions in U.S. society such as the persistence of economic inequality alongside the belief in the "American dream."
Teaching methods
The course consists of ten weekly double lessons. Lectures and class discussions.
Further Information
Changes in course schedule may occur.
Wednesday 13.30-16.05, week 37-41, 43-48.
Expected literature
Possible texts include:
Robert Heilbroner and Aaron Singer, The Economic Transformation of America, 1600 to
the Present, 4th ed. Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage, 1999.
Marc Levinson, The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006).
Nelson Lichtenstein, The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World (2009).
Last updated on 11-04-2014