Spring 2013: Labor, Development, and Democracy

Course Convener: Rick Doner, Political Science

The idea behind the University Course is that faculty and students from all schools in a university should come together to learn about and discuss an issue of common concern. This practice not only creates intellectual community but also enacts a sense of common purpose across the diverse communities that make up Emory. The focus of this University Course is the evolving role of labor in development and democracy.

In this course, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students will come together to investigate the shifting nature of work and the workforce itself, and the ways in which these shifts affect both socio-economic change and the quality of democracy. Within this broad set of questions, faculty and students will explore a range of specific topics, including: the rise of contingent/contract labor; service workers and gender; labor markets and skill development; migrant workers and occupational health; labor and human rights; corporate social responsibility and labor; food security and labor; approaches to labor history; labor, the law and vulnerability; and labor and the university.

Course Structure

  1. The course will meet on Thursdays from 4-7pm in Tarbutton 206.
  2. Each of the 10-15 Emory faculty members representing a college or department will lead one class session during the semester, and their attendance at other substantive class meetings will be optional. The course convenor, Dr. Rick Doner, will attend each class session throughout the semester.
  3. Students will be asked to work both individually and in groups, with the latter sometimes composed of students from diverse disciplines. Grades will be calculated on a 4.0 scale and adjusted if necessary to reflect the grading practices in each student's school or department.
  4. 4Graduate students will be assigned supplementary work beyond that required of undergraduate participants.


The course will be supervised by Dr. Rick Doner, Professor in the Dept. of Political Science. In addition to Dr. Doner, the course will be taught by (tentative list) Dr. Leonard Carlson (Economics), Dr. Carla Freeman (Anthropology), Dr. Wesley Longhoffer (Goizueta Business School), Dr. Judy Wold (Nursing), Dr. David Davis (Political Science), Dr. Jonathan Prude (History), Dr. Tom Rogers (History), Dr. Martha Fineman (Law), and Dr. Arne Kalleberg (Sociology - Duke University).

The Course Logistics

"Labor, Development, and Democracy" will be listed as GRAD 700R. All students will be admitted by permission only. Students in the course will receive three credits within their respective degree programs, whether undergraduate, graduate, or professional. The CFDE will work with each unit to identify an appropriate "Instructor of Record" for the class.

Course Syllabus