Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Typically offered:

Upon occasion

Markets are the dominant form of economic organization in the world today: particularly in the Global North, the vast majority of people sell their specialized labor to earn money, and use the money to obtain, via markets, the goods and services they need or desire. However, since the earliest days of capitalistic production, there were voices that articulated deep-seated critiques of capitalism while finding value in non-commodified production and consumption. These voices are still with us today, along with those who seek to act on such critiques by meeting much of their material needs through non-market means such as self-production, acts of reciprocity, and, and gift exchange. This course examines theories, concepts, and experiences centered on this practice of “leaving capitalism”: seeking food, shelter, and clothing to the greatest degree possible through non-commodified production and consumption, in places where commodified production and consumption are the dominant norms.  We will examine counter-hegemonic activities, particularly homesteading, that seek to restore visible, non-exploitive relationships to production activities, thus challenging commodity fetishism and alienation (in Marxist terms) and narrow definitions of economic efficiency (in Neoclassical terms). We will lean heavily on theories and case studies of diverse/community/solidarity economies as articulated by JK Gibson-Graham, Ethan Miller, and others; other topics will include capitalism (alienation and commodification), Buddhist/ Gandhian economics (which emphasizes local economies, community self-reliance), work (the nature of work, what constitutes good work), resistance/avoidance (James C. Scott), and degrowth. By studying and integrating these ideas as they relate to production, consumption, and social relations, we will also seek to redefine contemporary economics beyond its traditional emphasis on commodity production, restoring “the social” to this social science. Evaluation will be based on problem sets, participation and engagement in classroom discussions and field experiences, and a final poster presentation.


One course in economics or social theory, and permission of instructor.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.