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.
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Section News

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.

Elections: Council Members and Officers 2021

The Nominations Committee is pleased to announce a slate of nominees for the PEWS leadership. Elections will be held in April. Below is the list of nominees who will run for election in 2021. Thanks to all nominees for agreeing to throw their hats into the PEWS ring!

Lu Zhang
Smitha Radhakrishnan

Melanie Bush
Salvador Rangel
Matthew Soener
Marcel Paret

Student Rep:
Zeinab Shuker
David Feldman

Nikhil Deb
Mridula Udayagiri

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

2020 PEWS Section Election Results
We are pleased to announce that PEWS has a strong set of new leaders moving forward. The newly elected Chair-Elect is Manuela Boatca, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg. Our two new Council members are Sahan Savas Karatasli, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Kristin Plys, University of Toronto. Our student representative is Samantha Agarwal, Johns Hopkins University. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Chair-Elect (3-year term begins in 2020)
Manuela Boatcă, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Council Members (3-year term begins in 2020)
Sahan Savas Karatasli , University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Kristin Plys, University of Toronto

Council Member, Student (2-year term begins in 2020)
Samantha Agarwal, Johns Hopkins University

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.


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: