Início > Teoria > Past, Present, and Future of the UMass Economics Department

Past, Present, and Future of the UMass Economics Department

Three faculty members got together on October 6th 2009 to address the unique trajectory of the economics department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The purpose of the event was to openly discuss  the past, present, and possible future of the department. Donald Katzner moderated the discussion while Stephen Resnick and Samuel Bowles made their remarks. Resnick and Bowles were two members of the original “radical package” that came to UMass in 1973, as they have been called since then. In the early 1970s the university, with the support of Dean Alfange, hired Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis, Stephen Resnick, Richard Wolff, and Richard Edwards all at the same time with the purpose of bringing contending economic theories to the core of the curriculum. The department then moved to teach and develop new radical thinking for the last 40 years. You can now watch the full recording of the event.

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The release of the video recording is also a way for us to remember professor Stephen Resnick (1938-2013). We mourn the passing of our colleague, friend and mentor. Click here for the obituary.

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Don Katzner has recently authored a book on the history of the department, “At the Edge of Camelot: Debating Economics in Turbulent Times“, published by Oxford University Press. Here is a short description:

This book tells the story of an academic department that underwent rapid, wrenching changes at a time and in a place that one would not have expected them to have occurred. The time was the late 1960s through the 1970s and the place was a public university heavily dependent on state funding. The Cold War was raging, the US public was fearful of communism and the Soviet Union, and politicians were speaking to these fears for political ends. Protests against racial discrimination and the Vietnam War were creating social disorder and sometimes inciting violence. And the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst was in turmoil. In this environment, a significant proportion of the Department’s visible faculty of traditional economists was rapidly created. In spite of the anti-Marxist political climate and the dependence of the university on state politicians for funding, these traditional economists were quickly replaced by a significant and visible group of Marxian economists.

More information about the book can be found here and here.

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Below you can watch the complete event. The recording is amateurish but nonetheless the only one available. Steve Resnick is sitting on the left, Don Katzner in the middle, and Sam Bowles on the right of the screen. Jim Crotty and David Kotz also make brief remarks at the end.

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Lastly, a few pictures of this special gathering. Click to enlarge.

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