BAEcon Economics

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Intersectional Political Economy

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI30201
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course unit aims to:

  • To critically investigate various theoretical approaches in International/Global Political Economy and its relation to the history of the discipline
  • Provide a solid foundation of how various theoretical foundations apply to empirical topics
  • Interrogate the political basis of economic issues
  • Emphasize the importance of class, race, gender, and sexuality—and their intersections-- as forms of critique in political economy

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding: 

  • Explain and analyse various conceptions of political economy
  • Understand how theories relate to, and offer explanations of, various empirical topics
  • Understand the importance of race, gender, class, and  sexuality to political economy analysis


Intellectual skills: 

  • Interrogate key texts and concepts
  • Construct, critique, and defend arguments
  • Understand the scholarly and political lineage of various theories
  • Interpret the political meanings and significance of theories


Practical skills: 

  • Independent research to support essay writing
  • Oral communication
  • Critical reading and writing skill development


Transferable skills and personal qualities:  

  • Critical reflection in terms of reading and writing
  • Independent and teamwork development
  • Close-reading and analytical reasoning




Indicative List of Topics:
1.    Introduction to Intersectionality 
2.    Marxist IPE
3.    Neoliberalism and the State
4.    Race and Capitalism
5.    Gender, and Sexuality in Political Economy
6.    Empirical topic I: Surplus Labour
7.    Empirical topic II: Housing in IPE
8.    Empirical topic III: Migration in IPE
9.    Empirical topic IV: Environment and Disasters
10.  Course Review

Teaching and learning methods

This course will be taught in three-hour workshop blocks for 10 weeks. Students will be expected to complete key readings in advance of this weekly workshop in order to enable discussion and inform lecture material. The course instructor will start with an introductory lecture each week which will be followed by both large and small-group discussion and reading-related presentation activities. This will allow students to build teamwork skills, develop arguments, and engage with the course convener on specific topics. 

Assessments will consist of the following:

1.    Mid-term theory reflection essay (30%) 

This assignment (2000 words) is a critical reflection essay. Students will choose one from a possible three mid-term essay topics (revealed 10 days prior to the deadline). They will attempt to evaluate the theoretical significance of a particular topic. For example, students will be asked to compare and contrast two approaches to IPE or be asked the significance of a particular approach in understanding the state. 

2.    Final Research Essay based on Part II of the course (50%) 

This 3000-word essay will be handed-in after the course workshops are completed and it will be based on the empirical topics found in part II of the course. Students will be given a list of broad questions and will learn how to form a research question, theoretical framework, and apply it to an empirical topic of their choice. 

3.    Workshop Reading Logs (20%) 

This assignment is an ongoing critical reflection based on workshop readings. Out of a possible 8 weeks of workshops (where the introduction and final workshop do not count towards this assignment) students must submit 5 workshop reflections via blackboard journals of 250 words each (250 x 5 = 1250). 

In one or two paragraphs, students must choose one of the required readings of the week and identify its main strengths, potential weaknesses or gaps, and the main argument. This assignment is meant to be a reflection on the workshop through a critical reading summary. 

Each reflection will be scored out of 5 points. 2 points for identifying the main argument, 1 point for pointing out the relevant strengths, 1 point for potential weaknesses/gaps, 1 point for overall succinct presentation and writing style. 

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Length required

Weighting within unit (if relevant)

Mid-term Assignment

2000 words


Workshop Reading Logs



Research Essay



Recommended reading

Darling, Jonathan (2017). Forced Migration and the City: Irregularity, Informality, and the Politics of Presence. Progress in Human Geography. DOI:

Peck, Jamie and Adam Tickell (2002). Neoliberalizing Space. Antipode 34(3): 380-404.

Winant, Howard (2000). Race and Race Theory. Annual Review of Sociology 26 (2000): 169-185.

Wacquant, Loic (2010). Crafting the Neoliberal State: Workfare, Prisonfare, and Social Insecurity. Sociological Forum 25(2): 197-220.

Pratt, Geraldine, Caleb Johnston, and Vanessa Banta (2017). Lifetimes of Disposability and Surplus Entrepreneurs in Bagong Barrio, Manila Antipode 49 (1): 169-192.

Soederberg, Susanne (2018). The Rental Housing Question: Exploitation, Eviction, and Erasures. Geoforum 89 (Spring): 114-123.

Bhagat, Ali (2018). Forced (Queer) Migration and Everyday Violence: The Geographies of life, death, and access in Cape Town. Geoforum 89 (Spring): 155- 163.

Rajaram, Prem Kumar (2018). Refugees as Surplus Populations: Race, Migration, and Capitalist Value Regimes. New Political Economy 23 (5): 627-639.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ali Bhagat Unit coordinator

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