Inequality:  Economic and Social Perspectives

ISC 205-01
Fall 2015
Olin 115, Mon Wed 7:00-8:45 PM
Professors Teresa Meade and Eshragh Motahar

Office Hours:  Professor Meade,  Tue Thu, 1:00-4:00; other times by appointment.  Professor Motahar, M W 2:00-3:00; other times by appointment, for which click here.
Telephone:  Meade:  518.388.6046;  Motahar:  518.388.6065
Fax:  (518) 388-6988
E-mail:  Meade:;  Motahar:

Course Information

Syllabus  (in pdf format) Midterm Exam Guidelines   Grade Distribution Final Exam Guidelines
Portfolio Guidelines   Citation Guidelines Course Resources   Additional Resources   PowerPoint Course Schedule
Discussion Dinners sign-up sheets:  Students in the course     Other students, faculty, staff, community members

Lecture Information and Course Assignments

Week 1 W 9/9 Teresa Meade and Eshragh Motahar (History and Economics, Union) Introduction Johnston pp. ix-xvii; pdf1PowerPoint; recommended pdf2
M 9/14 Steve Sargent (History, Union) Inequality in Feudal and Early Capitalist Economies, 1000-1600 pdf1   pdf2   PowerPoint
Week 2 W 9/16 Kara Doyle (English, Union) Sense and Sensibility:  Patriarchy and Primogeniture Link   PowerPoint
M 9/21 Mary O'Keeffe (Economics, Union) Schenectady as Inequality Action Laboratory? pdf1   pdf2   pdf3   pdf4   PowerPoint1   PowerPoint2
Week 3 W 9/23 Kenneth Aslakson (History, Union) "By our unpaid labor and suffering, we have earned the right to the soil":  Slavery and Inequality in American History Link   PowerPoint   pdf
M 9/28 Greg Grandin (History, NYU) Raphael Painted, Luther Preached, and Milton Sung: Chattel Slavery and the Making of the Modern World pdf1   pdf2   pdf3  Link
Week 4 W 9/30 Dave Cotter (Sociology, Union) The Gender Revolution:  Stopped, Stalled or in Reverse? pdf1   pdf2   PowerPoint
M 10/5 Stephanie Coontz (History, Evergreen College) For Better AND Worse:  Gender, Class, and the Transformation of Marriage Link1   Link2   Link3
Week 5 W 10/7 Midterm    
M 10/12 Steve Fraser (Writer/Editor, NYC) When Class Warfare was in Vogue:  Labor and its Allies in the Struggle for Equality and Democracy pdf
Week 6 W 10/14 Melinda Lawson (History, Union) Youth and the Civil Rights Movement pdf2   pdf1   PowerPoint
M 10/19 Brian Jones (Teacher/Activist, NYC) Public Education Today, Still Separate and Still Unequal Johnston pp. 44-49 and 120-158
Week 7 W 10/21 Jeffrey Corbin (Biology, Union) Environmental Threats, Unequally Borne - from Climate Change to Toxics Pollution pdf   PowerPoint
M 10/26 Erin Delman (PhD Candidate, UC Irvine) The inequality of climate change: A vulnerability-benefit analysis of fossil fuel CO2 emissions Johnston pp. 264-272
Week 8 W 10/28 Mark Dallas (Political Science, Union) Fragmentation and Hierarchy in Global Production: Locating China in the New International Division of Labor pdf   PowerPoint
M 11/2 Michael Klare (Peace & World Security Studies, Amherst) Climate Change, Inequality, and Conflict pdf (full ISP report available here)
Week 9 W 11/4 Christopher Chabris (Psychology, Union) The Psychology of Inequality: How do People Think About Inequality? How Should People Think About Inequality? pdf1   pdf2   PowerPoint
M 11/9 Kristian Braekkan (Economics & Management, Gustavus Aldophus) What’s Happening in Europe?  Crisis, Inequality and Structural Constraints from Greece to Norway...and Places In Between pdf   PowerPoint
Week 10 W 11/11 Bhaskar Sunkara (editor Jacobin, NYC) Bringing Radicalism into Mainstream Link   Link
M 11/16 Teresa Meade & Eshragh Motahar Summary and Conclusions  
The following have generously provided support and funding for this course:  Economics, English, Geology, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology departments; Africana Studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Science, Policy & Engineering, Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies, and Latin American & Caribbean Studies programs; Dean of Academic Programs, Director of General Education, Minerva Houses and U-Sustain.  Also, we are grateful to the office of Learning Technologies and Environments which videotaped all the lectures.  For access to these tapes please e-mail Professor Motahar (

Last revised:  Friday, January 13, 2023