Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh

Associate Advisor

Shareen Hertel

Associate Advisor

David L. Richards

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Twentieth century scholars of radical political economy (RPE) were often critical of capitalism’s social and economic consequences. Immanuel Wallerstein and Perry Anderson are two such intellectuals whose hopes were invested in a more egalitarian future. They believed their writings would contribute to socialism, which they envisioned to be a post-capitalist future of relative social, economic, and political equality. But as time wore on, dreams of socialism faded, and they had to face the reality that socialism was neither close nor inevitable. This dissertation explores what it means to be a radical intellectual as political hopes fade. It examines how political events in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods shaped Wallerstein’s and Anderson’s intellectual projects (including their research topics and methods). This dissertation finds that Wallerstein and Anderson continued to advance creative interpretations of the social world. Although they were surprised by the course of history, Wallerstein’s and Anderson’s sensitivity to current events made their works relevant for the study of international political economy (IPE) as well as those populations who did not have vocal or powerful advocates.