Welcome to the ASA Political Economy of the World-System Section!

The PEWS Section seeks to foster an intellectual tradition that finds its roots in the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist analyses forged during struggles for decolonization by scholars in the Global South.
                         Continue Reading »


Section News

ASA PEWS Section Election Results

We are pleased to announce the 2021 ASA Election for PEWS Officers and Council Members. Congratulations to those elected and thank you to everyone who volunteered to run!

Chair-Elect (1-year term begins in 2021): Lu Zhang, Temple University
Council Members (3-year term begins in 2021): Melanie E L Bush, Adelphi University / University of South Africa and Marcel Paret, University of Utah / University of Johannesburg
Student Representative (2-year term begins in 2021): Zeinab F. Shuker, Sam Houston State University
Secretary/Treasurer (3-year term begins in 2021): Nikhil Deb, Murray State University

Our newly elected Officers and Council Members will assume their roles after the PEWS Business Meeting on August 7th, 2:30 EDT. We appreciate your service to the section! We also wish to thank Tanya Golash-Boza and the Nomination Committee for their hard work in putting together the election!

Call for Abstracts: Edited Volume

Working Title: Breaking the Silence: Institutional Responsibility in Women's Promotion to Full Professor
Editors: Chardie L. Baird, Professor, Sociology, Executive Director, Kansas State University Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE); Spainhour Family Chair, Kansas State University & Mangala Subramaniam, Professor, Sociology, Chair & Director, Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, Purdue University

We are seeking abstracts for an edited volume focused on women's promotion to full professors. The edited collection is guided by the following questions: What are the experiences of women during their promotion to full professor? How do university structures, practices, policies, and norms affect women's moving up the ranks from associate professor to full professor by both presuming and reproducing gendered and racialized inequity? How do associate professors navigate the institutional terrain in seeking promotion to full professorship (successfully or not)? Ideally, the volume will represent a diverse group of women, including but not limited to interdisciplinary contributions from international scholars and/or scholars who are women of color. We expect to capture a range of experiences recognizing the variations in structure of higher education, promotion criteria, and types of institutions across countries of focus in this edited collection.

We focus on promotion to full professor because the gender gap in the rank of full professor, the top of the academic hierarchy, persists globally, despite the reduction of the gender gap in other locations on the academic career ladder. In India, women are concentrated at the lower end of the hierarchy in the rank of assistant professor at 43.9%. About 37% are reader/associate professors and 28% are full professors (Government of India 2019). Similar trends exist in Australia (Australian Government 2018), Japan (Government of Japan 2019), Canada (Statistics Canada 2019), countries in the European Commission (European Commission 2019), and the United States (AAUP 2019).

Dominant accounts for gendered and racialized academic career advancement rarely implicate universities' responsibility for the ways 1) gendered and racialized norms are embedded in institutions and play out as bias or 2) the structures, practices, and policies of academia systematically devalue the work of women and restrict their opportunities (Britton 2017; Stewart and Valian 2018). For example, focusing on gender disparities in caregiving and/or community work is open to the interpretation that academia has no role in addressing these disparities because it is outside the "purview of academia" (Stewart and Valian 2018: 137). Overall, recognition is gendered and therefore women are less likely to be rewarded (Subramaniam unpublished).

Our edited volume seeks to highlight and explain the ways that universities contribute to hindering women's advancement to full professor using an intersectional lens. To do so, we will consider a broad range of contribution types, such as reflexive essays, case studies, empirical studies, theoretical or conceptual work if the focus is on university structures, practices, policies, and norms and their effect on promotion to full professor.

Please send your 1) proposed chapter title, 2) abstract (no more than 500 words), and 3) biography of each author (no more than 100 words) to Chardie L. Baird (cbaird@ksu.edu) and Mangala Subramaniam (msubrama@purdue.edu) by August 1, 2021 (target date). Please use the subject header "Chapter proposal re: women and full professor." We expect to make decisions on abstracts by November 1, 2021. If we receive confirmation of moving forward on the proposed book, chapters of 8,000 words will be due by March 15, 2022.

Call for Abstracts: JWSR Special Issue

Anti-State and Anti-Systemic: Exilic Spaces and Societies in Movement in the World-System
Guest Editors: Spencer Louis Potiker and Yousuf Al-Bulushi, University of California, Irvine

While critiques of capitalism and the state were both central to the development of world-systems analysis, historical documentation of anti-systemic movements has tended to center on a two-step strategy-first take control of the state, and second, change the world. While this strategy is no doubt historically relevant and state revolutions are important to understanding the inner workings of and resistance to the capitalist world-system, the analysis of non-state anti-systemic movements requires much further study from within the world-systems framework.

The revival of traditions of mutual aid during the global pandemic and the important role played by Antifa in confronting resurgent neo-fascisms across the world are really just two of countless examples of historical and contemporary non-state anti-systemic movements and non-state or exilic spaces. These diverse anti-systemic movements include: explicitly anarchist mobilizations; experiments in worker/community self-management and direct action; general strikes; horizontal forms of resistance to political authoritarianism and state violence; autonomous indigenous movements aimed at decolonizing ways of life both materially and culturally; and the non-sovereign freedom dreams within the Black radical tradition. In this special issue we aim to: further our understanding of the potentials and limits of non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces; explore the ways in which these formations interact with states and other social actors in the world-system; and develop other innovative approaches to studying non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces from a world-systems perspective.

We invite 250-word abstracts for proposed papers on this topic, including:
Comparative and historical approaches to studying non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces

Theoretical explorations into the relationship between world-systems analysis and anarchist/anarchistic theory

Comparative, historical, and theoretical studies of the recent wave of feminist strikes

Case study analysis of non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces

Theoretical exploration or case study analysis of movements drawing upon and contributing to the Black radical tradition, Black internationalism, and Black geographies

World-historical analysis of the relationship between cycles in the world-economy and non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces

World-historical analysis of the relationship between systemic crisis and non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces

World-historical analysis of anarchism's role in anti-systemic praxis

Case study analysis of the relationship between decolonization, decolonial theory, and the state

Other innovative approaches to studying non-state anti-systemic movements and spaces in world-systems perspective

The Journal of World-Systems Research (JWSR) is the official journal of the Political Economy of the World-System Section of the American Sociological Association (https://jwsr.pitt.edu/). It consists of unidisciplinary scholarship on topics relevant to the world-systems perspective. JWSR is an open access scholarly journal that reaches a global audience. Special issue editors will review abstract submissions and invite contributions of full papers for peer review. 250-word abstracts should be submitted by June 15, 2021 to be considered for the special issue. We will request a completed first draft of papers for comments from the editors by September 1, 2021. Full papers that are ready for external peer-review are due November 15, 2021 and final papers ready for production will be due May 15, 2022. We are aiming to have the publication for this special issue complete by Fall 2022 for a Winter 2022 publication.

Send abstract submissions and inquiries to: Spencer Louis Potiker (spotiker@uci.edu) and Yousuf Al-Bulushi (yalbulus@uci.edu). Please include in the subject line "JWSR Non-State Movements and Spaces."

"We must overcome the colonial denial: Wallerstein versus the woke" by Professor Charles McKelvey

Professor Charles McKelvey published a Substack Column titled "We must overcome the colonial denial: Wallerstein versus the woke." It discusses the significance of the work of Immanuel Wallerstein. In subsequent postings to the column, Professor McKelvey will be analyzing the world-economy and contemporary events from a world-systems perspective.

Call for Participants - 2021 PEWS Mentorship Program

The Committee on Teaching and Mentorship is soliciting applications from colleagues who would like to be mentors or mentees in the PEWS Mentorship Program, which will be in online format this year (2021). Recognizing issues of access structured by the very inequalities that world-systems scholars analyze, we are opening up the Mentorship Program to all scholars who work within, or are interested in, a world-systems perspective. The Mentorship Program does not require formal membership in PEWS or registration for the ASA Annual Meeting. Please note, however, that while we will make every effort to accommodate all who sign up, our ability to do so will depend on our pool of participants. In the event that we are unable to match all mentees with mentors, priority will be given to scholars who are currently underrepresented in PEWS.

As part of a broader effort to work towards both intellectual and ascriptive diversity in our section, we particularly encourage applications from those currently underrepresented in our section: scholars who identify as women, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming, non-white (especially Black and Indigenous) scholars, scholars in or from the Global South, scholars who are precariously employed, and scholars who are based at institutions that are not R1 institutions.

Mentors and mentees will be arranged in groups of three or more, based on substantive research interests, then by desired areas of mentorship. Mentorship groups will consist of least one senior scholar as mentor, one or more early-career scholar, and one or more graduate student.

If you would like to participate, please fill out an online application here. You may edit your response after submitting the online application. Please avoid submitting more than one application.

Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, June 30th, 2021. The PEWS Teaching and Mentoring Committee (Samantha Agarwal, Johns Hopkins University; Albert Fu, Kutztown University; Irene Pang, Simon Fraser University) will arrange the pairings, which will be announced by Friday, July 23rd, 2021. Participants in the program are responsible for contacting their mentor/mentees to schedule meetings through mutually agreeable means. Mentors are expected to meet with mentees (either individually or in groups) at least twice before August 1, 2022.


Latest Edition of PEWSNews!

The latest edition of PEWSNews (Spring 2021) is out! Thank you to our editors, Marilyn Grell-Brisk and Zeinab Shuker, for their expert job of reviving this publication and putting this edition together so efficiently during these turbulent and difficult times! You can read the latest edition (and past editions) here.


PEWS @ ASA 2021

Check out the great sessions that we have lined up for ASA 2021!


Refereed Round-tables:
Organizer, Lu Zhang, Temple University
Refereed roundtables will feature cutting-edge theoretical and empirical research that engages global, political economic approaches organized by topical theme. Depending on the abstract/paper submissions we receive online, the roundtables will cover important themes such as Climate Change, Racial Justice, Gender Inequality, Global Social Movements, Labor, Migration, Sustainable Development, Nationalism, Democratization, Human Rights, Culture and Mass Media, and the Impact of COVID-19, etc.

COVID-19 and the Capitalist World-System:
Co-organizer, Christopher Chase-Dunn, University of California-Riverside
Co-organizer, William I. Robinson, University of California-Santa Barbara
The COVID-19 pandemic thrust the capitalist world-system into the worst economic and political crisis in decades. It brought about heightened class and racial inequality, aggravated geopolitical tensions, and fanned social conflict around the world. The pandemic brought into stark relief the extent of malaise in the global social order. It may prove to be a before-and-after turning point. What will the capitalist world-system look like as it emerges from the pandemic? How will the crisis play out? What are the prospects for social justice in the post-pandemic world? This panel will explore these issues and welcomes paper submissions from a broad range of perspectives.

Political Economy Approaches to Technology and the Environment:
Co-organizer, Kelly Austin, Lehigh University
Co-organizer, Sarah Grace Manski, George Mason University
While capitalism is often associated with fostering technological innovation, capitalist development also shapes emergent technologies to facilitate the accumulation of profit, often leading to ever-increasing environmental destruction. This panel invites papers that engage political economy or world systems approaches to technology or the environment, or the nexus between the two. Both of these concepts, technology and the environment, can be broadly conceptualized in the research. For instance, issues related to technology could include developments related to big data, the Internet of Things, algorithmic automation, artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technologies, technological innovation, material agency, etc. The topics related to the environment might consider biodiversity, resource use and degradation, climate change, environmental justice, food systems, waste management, renewable energy, the built environment, etc. Papers should engage critical themes related to globalization, and be of interest to a general audience. The goal of this session is to bring together leading technology and environmental scholars who conduct empirical work informed by sociological theory on the possibilities of building new communication, governance, and production institutions outside of capitalism. Papers should address how these changes relate to inequality, democracy and politics.


Reminder: Renew your ASA and PEWS Membership

Please consider renewing your ASA membership early and remember to renew your PEWS membership!

This year, ASA is launching a new program called Pick Your Own Sponsorship! One in five members are participating. It's a new approach to ASA membership renewal, which holds ASA dues steady at their 2020 level and provides members with the choice of (a) paying those dues, (b) taking a sponsorship, or (c) providing a sponsorship. Taking a sponsorship means opting to reduce one's dues payment for 2021 by 10, 20 or 30 percent. Giving a sponsorship means adding 10, 20, or 30 percent to one's dues payment to support colleagues who are in more precarious financial situations. In the words of ASA's 2021 President Aldon Morris, "When we pull together, we all win."


Congrats to the 2020 PEWS ASA Award Winners!
Congratulations to our 2020 ASA PEWS Section award winners!

2020 PEWS Distinguished Article Award
Korzeniewicz, Roberto Patricio, and Corey R. Payne. "Sugar, Slavery, and Creative Destruction: World-Magnates and "Coreification" in the Longue-Duree." Journal of World-Systems Research 25, no. 2 (2019): 395-419.

2020 PEWS Terence K. Hopkins Student Paper Award
Potiker, Spencer Louis. "Obstacles to Insurrection: Militarised Border Crossings Hindering the Rojava Liberation Struggle." Anarchist Studies 27, no. 2 (2019).

2020 PEWS Immanuel Wallerstein Memorial Book Award
Jerome Roos. Why Not Default?: The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt, 2019, Princeton University Press

2020 PEWS Immanuel Wallerstein Memorial Book Award, Honorable Mention:
Victoria Reyes. Global Borderlands: Fantasy, Violence and Empire in Subic Bay, Philippines, 2019, Stanford University Press.

2020 PEWS Distinguished Teaching Award Co-Winners
Albert S. Fu, Professor of Sociology, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and Smitha Radhakrishnan, Associate Professor of Sociology, Luella LaMer Slaner Associate Professor of Women's Studies, Wellesley College


Remembering Immanuel Wallerstein
The PEWS section has set up webspace for section members to post their remembrances or stories about Immanuel Wallerstein. You can access the webspace here. To post your story, go to the webspace and scroll down to the section that says, "Remembering Immanuel Wallerstein." Click on the "Read More" button and then go to the comment box to enter your remembrance. You will also be able to read everyone's stories on that page. If you have any technical problems with the webspace, please contact PEWS webmaster, Michaela Curran at michaela-curran@uiowa.edu.


Political Economy of the World-System Interuniversity Consortium

In the Spring of 2018, Torry Dickinson approached the Council with the idea of establishing an interuniversity consortium to support PEWS research and teaching. Chris Chase-Dunn, Valentine M. Moghadam, and Beverly Silver graciously accepted the Council invitation to serve on an ad-hoc PEWS Interuniversity Consortium (PEWS-IC) Committee to explore this idea. The Committee has developed the following proposal and is now soliciting feedback from the membership.The proposal is at this link. If you have comments on the proposal or if you would like to be involved in the consortium, please contact the committee: Chris Chase-Dunn (chriscd@ucr.edu), Val Moghadam (vmmogha@yahoo.com), Beverly Silver (silver@jhu.edu).


PEWS Survey Report

At the PEWS Council meeting in August 2016, the Council decided to conduct a survey to assist us in our efforts to deal with the problem of declining membership. The Council created a committee to conduct the survey consisting of Rob Clark, Matthew Mahutga, Victoria Reyes and John Talbot. The committee developed a survey instrument designed to ascertain the impressions of the PEWS section among current PEWS members, former members, and ASA members who had never been PEWS members but who might be interested in joining. The survey was distributed in November 2016 to PEWS members and was sent to the chairs of fifteen ASA sections that we identified as having some overlap of interests with PEWS. The chairs were asked to send the survey to their members. We received a total of 398 responses. The results of the survey are posted here.




Join PEWS

Membership in the Political Economy of the World System Section is open to any member of the American Sociological Association. Section membership is $22 for regular members, $8 for student members, and $13 for low-income members, which includes support for the official section journal, the Journal of World-Systems Research.

Join Online: To join the ASA and/or the PEWS section online, go to the ASA Membership Information Website. On this webpage log in with your member number and last name (all lower case), then click on "Join a Section" and add the Political Economy of the World-System section (Section 17).

Need help? If you are uncertain about your membership status in either the ASA or the PEWS Section or need any other assistance, contact ASA membership services: