Educator Resources-Global Capitalism

Message to Educators:

For instructors and community organizers using the book to teach on global capitalism, we have provided the below resources which you can use and build upon. Please join the member community if you would like to share how you adapted the resources and to build community with other educators.

Chapter Resources

Additional Resources

Media Resources


Discussion/ActivityNumber of ParticipantsDuration
Group Discussion
1. Malcolm X once said, “You can’t have capitalism without racism?” What is the relationship between capitalism and racism?
2. How can we use the anthropological imagination to come up with alternatives to capitalism?
3. How can we use anthropolitics to resist capitalist exploitation at home and abroad?
Barometer: Taking a Stand on Controversial Issues from Facing History, Facing Ourselves

Suggested Barometer questions:
1. Capitalism is bad.
2. Capitalism drives healthy market competition.
3. Capitalism can be dismantled

The Barometer teaching strategy helps students share their opinions by asking them to line up along a continuum based on their position on an issue. It is especially useful when you want to discuss an issue about which students have a wide range of opinions. Because a Barometer activity gets many arguments out on the table, it can be an effective pre-writing exercise before an essay assignment.
1. Prepare the Space
Identify a space in the classroom where students can stand in a line or a U-shape. Place “Strongly Agree” and “Strongly Disagree” signs at opposite ends of a continuum in your room. Alternatively, you can post any statement at one end and its opposite at the other end of the line.
2. Contract with Students
Set a contract for this activity. Since it deals with students literally putting themselves and their opinions on the line, it has the potential to promote outbursts that result from some individuals not understanding how classmates can hold whatever opinion they hold. Reiterate your class rules about respect for the opinions and voices of others, and call for students to be honest but not insulting. Re-address ways to constructively disagree with one another, and require that when students offer their opinion or a defense of their stance, they speak using “I” language rather than the more accusatory “you.”
3. Students Formulate an Opinion
Give students a few minutes to reflect on a prompt or prompts that call for agreement or disagreement with a particular statement. You might have students respond to the prompt(s) in their journals.
4. Students “Take a Stand”
Ask students to stand on the spot along the line that represents their opinion, telling them that if they stand at either extreme, they are absolute in their agreement or disagreement. They may stand anywhere between the two extremes, depending on how much they do or do not agree with the statement.
5. Students Explain Positions
Once students have lined themselves up, ask them in turn to explain why they have chosen to stand where they are standing. Encourage students to refer to evidence and examples when defending their stance. It is probably best to alternate from one end to the middle to the other end, rather than allowing too many voices from one stance to dominate. After about three or four viewpoints are heard, ask if anyone wishes to move. Encourage students to keep an open mind; they are allowed to move if someone presents an argument that alters where they want to stand on the line. Run the activity until you think that most or all voices have been heard, making sure that no one person dominates.
6. Debrief
There are many ways you can debrief this exercise. You can have students reflect in their journals about how the activity changed or reinforced their original opinion. Or you can chart the main “for” and “against” arguments on the board as a whole-class activity.
6-15 45mins
Poto Mitan Exercise: Behind the Label

About the Film-Makers
Mary Becker – Executive Producer
Renée Bergan – Co-Producer/Co-Director/Director of Photography/Editor
Mark Schuller – Co-Producer/Co-Director
Dr. Claudine Michel – Associate Producer
Gina Athena Ulysse – Associate Producer
Edwidge Danticat – Writer/Narrator

About the film
Told through compelling lives of five courageous Haitian women workers, Poto Mitan gives the global economy a human face. Each woman’s personal story explains neoliberal globalization, how it is gendered, and how it impacts Haiti: inhumane working/living conditions, violence, poverty, lack of education, and poor health care. While Poto Mitan offers in-depth understanding of Haiti, its focus on women’s subjugation, worker exploitation, poverty, and resistance demonstrates these are global struggles. Finally, through their collective activism, these women demonstrate that despite monumental obstacles in a poor country like Haiti, collective action makes change possible.

1. Watch Poto Mitan: Women Pillars of the Global Economy
2. Pair people up. Ask students / community members to look at the tag on their partner’s outermost shirt. Look for the “Made in …” part of the label. Write down where it came from. Look it up on a world map. Find out how many people live in that country, what language they speak, etc. You can also look up economic
facts about the country if you are in a space that has access to the internet. Discuss with your partner the following questions: How might the women who made your shirt live? Why are they more likely to be women? What conditions is the factory likely to have? Do you think they have a union? How much do you think they make per day? What housing conditions do they have? What challenges do the women have in providing for their families? How might the living and working conditions compare to what you saw in Poto Mitan? To your home town?
3. After 10 minutes, the facilitator brings the entire group together. Poll the participants about where their shirts were made. Write down the names of the countries, and highlight on the world map. Ask participants why factories are built in these countries. Several follow-up questions in the previous section might be helpful.

See Poto Mitan Discussion Guide for Additional Activities around Film
15-201hr 40mins
Developing an Anti-Capitalist Manifesto adapted from Swathmore

A manifesto is a declaration of aims and policy.  Often used in a political context, it is also useful to apply to arts and social change work. Many students understand the word manifesto in relation to significant historical stances (such as that of the Communist party). This exercise asks them to articulate and commit to a statement regarding their own work in social change. It asks the question, “What do you believe?” 

Divide into small groups (3 to 5 ppl). Using the anthropological imagination, write a manifesto that outlines a new economic system that promotes socioeconomic and racial equity.

Prompt for collective manifesto writing exercise
1. A manifesto is a declaration of aims and policy.  It asks the question, “What do you believe?”   
2. In point form, outline what you as as a member of anti-capitalist believe.  Remember that your task is to narrow your focus to specific objectives related to larger principles.
3. Form these points into a manifesto that can be shared in class.
4. You have 20 – 30 minutes to develop your manifesto.

Each small group presents their manifesto to the larger group (5 mins). The educator facilitates a discussion on the differences and similarities between the manifestos (30-45 mins).

6-30 1.5hrs