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

The PEWS is a unique section of the American Sociological Association. The core interests of those in the section are to explain the production and reproduction of asymmetric power relations and macro and micro-level inequalities in their world-historical context.
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Section News

2018 ASA PEWS Sessions and Membership Drive

Sunday, August 12th is PEWS Day at ASA this year! Please see the ASA program for more information, and plan to attend the business meeting and reception. Our section’s reception is Sunday, August 12th from 7:30 to 10:00 at Ladder 15, which is located at 1528 Sansom St. Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Our membership drive is currently underway. According to the most recent membership data, we have 298 PEWS members. Our annual goal is 400, which gets us an extra session at next year’s ASA meeting. As we discovered last year, the 400 member goal is more difficult to achieve because we have only until August 1st to use the online ASA portal to buy memberships for graduate students. So please do it now! To proceed, do the following:

(1) Go to the ASA Gift Membership website (Note: you'll have to log in first)

(2) Select the PEWS section

(3) Click on "To search for or add a new individual, please click here"

(4) Add the students you can find in your department (or other departments), and fire away.

2018 ASA PEWS Mentoring Program

The PEWS Council is pleased to invite you to participate in the PEWS Mentoring Program at the 2018 ASA meeting in Philadelphia. We will match graduate student members and postdocs with faculty members, as well as junior faculty with senior faculty, based on shared research and professional interests. These mentor-mentee pairs can then get in touch with one another and arrange to meet at a mutually convenient time during the annual meeting. The mentor is expected to purchase a beverage for the mentee. This arrangement allows graduate students and junior faculty to get to know members with similar interests from outside their home institutions and gives them the opportunity to discuss questions or concerns about academic life and their careers.

All PEWS Section members are welcome and strongly encouraged to participate. In addition to graduate students and junior faculty who would like to have the opportunity to meet with a mentor in Philadelphia, we also need junior and senior faculty members to volunteer to serve as mentors. If you are interested in participating in this year’s mentoring program, please complete the mentoring form and send it to acamba1@jhu.edu by August 1, 2018.

Reinvigorating PEWS Lunch and Workshop

We will have a workshop regarding the future of PEWS on Monday, August 13th at the Temple University Center City campus, just blocks away from the ASA conference hotels. We strongly urge all PEWS members to attend as we will be discussing important issues and proposals for strengthening the PEWS section into the future.

Topics Include:

The PEWS Council's proposal for programmatic and governance changes.

Member recruitment and the underrepresentation of women in the PEWS section membership

The role of the PEWS Section and Council in the Spring conference

The possibility of a PEWS Interuniversity Consortium to facilitate interuniversity participation in research projects, graduate student participation in world-systems courses via Skype, on-line world-systems courses, a summer ‘world-systems analysis boot camp’ for graduate students, a world-systems archive, etc.

Responses to member survey

The workshop will include a lunch for attendants that RSVP. We ask that you follow this link to RSVP by August 1 in order to facilitate an accurate head count for lunch. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0a49a5a828a3fd0-reinvigorating

Congratulations to Our Incoming Officers and Award Winners!

Congrats to our incoming officers! Jennifer Bickham Mendez, The College of William & Mary, and Tanya Golash-Boza, University of California, Merced, are our new chairs (beginning in 2018). Jennifer and Tanya will serve consecutive positions, so no new election until 2020. Our new Secretary/Treasurer is Bill Winders, Georgia Tech, who will serve a three-year term beginning in 2018. Our new council members are Kelly Austin, Lehigh University, and Jordanna Matlon, American University, who will serve three-year terms beginning in 2018. Our new student representative is Sarah Manski, University of California, Santa Barbara, who will serve a two-year term, beginning in 2018.

Congratulations to this year's PEWS book, article, and distinguished teaching award winners! They are as follows:

Book Award Winner: Neoliberal Apartheid: Palestine/Israel and South Africa after 1994 (2017, Chicago), by Andy Clarno.

Book Award Honorable Mention: The Specter of Global China: Politics, Labor and Foreign Investment in Africa (2017, Chicago), by Ching Kwan Lee.

Article Award Winner: Sahan Savas Karatasli. 2017. "The Capitalist World-Economy in the Longue Duree: Changing Modes of the Global Distribution of Wealth, 1500–2008" Sociology of Development, 3(2):163-186.

Graduate Student Paper Award Winner: Ricarda Hammer and Alexandre White. “Black Revolutions, Black Republics” which was published in the 2017 ASA conference preceding archives.

PEWS Distinguished Teaching Award: Jennifer Bickham Mendez. Professor Bickham Mendez embodies the pedagogical philosophy of “teaching through doing” in all of her courses, but it is particularly evident in her path-breaking U.S.-Mexico Border Program—an interdisciplinary learning experience for students to study on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. This program allows students to participate not only in traditional seminars but also in meetings with humanitarian groups, government officials, activists, and migrants. In this program, and in all her courses, Professor Bickham Mendez instructs on research methodology through practical experiences. Testaments from her colleagues and students show not only the overwhelming success of her courses and programs, but also her strong overall commitment to undergraduate teaching and advising. The successful thematic integration of political economy, migration, and methodology in her courses provides a critical pedagogical service in this time.

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.


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: