Fall 2021 - IS 221 E100

Workers in the Global Economy: Globalization, Labour and Uneven Development (3)

Class Number: 5606

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM



Explores how people experience paid and unpaid work in the global economy. Focuses on processes such as migration and economic structuring, and applies critical development studies and critical geopolitics to study labour and employment. Explores links between capitalism, urbanization and labour struggles. Examines labour internationalism and global labour rights. Students with credit for LBST 201 or LBST 230 under the title "Workers and Global Capitalism" may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course explores the relationship between development, globalization and labour. Using an interdisciplinary framework that will include historical and sociological analysis, critical development studies and geopolitical analysis, the course invites students to examine how the historical origins of violent labour regimes such as colonialism and slavery inform contemporary processes of globalization. While we will pay attention to the ways in which global historical processes perpetuate institutionalized hierarchies based on class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship status through paid and unpaid work, the course will also focus on how workers’ struggles against dynamic global forces shape global contemporary labour markets and production networks.


Through a comparative lens of different geographical regions and groups of workers, we will ask: how have globalization and global economic restructuring processes impacted the lives of workers and the idea of democracy? How have workers and workers’ organizations responded to the socio-cultural and geopolitical changes affecting work? How have these global processes facilitated workers' organization of international labour solidarity and the coordination of unions and social movements, transnationally? The course will utilize lectures, readings, films/podcasts and student-led/instructor-facilitated online discussions via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Course delivery will be a combination of asynchronous (i.e. pre-recorded mini-lectures to watch at your own pace and activities to complete) and synchronous (i.e. live online meetings).


  • Paper Proposal & Annotated Bibliography 25%
  • Mid-term Exam 30%
  • Weekly student-led discussions 10%
  • Participation 5%
  • Final Essay 30%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Marcus Taylor and Sebastien Rioux (2017) Global Labour Studies. Polity.

Additional material will be available on Canvas or Library Course Page.


Beverley Silver (2003) Forces of Labour. Cambridge University Press

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.