Institute for

Research on World-Systems

University of California-Riverside


City Lights from Satellite Images


IROWS Annual Report

June 2003

This is the annual report on IROWS projects, accomplishments and initiatives from June 2002 to June 2003.

The main purpose of the Institute for Research on World-Systems (IROWS) is to do long term, large scale interdisciplinary research on:

·          Globalization and the World Political Economy,

·         The Historical Evolution of Macrosocial Systems,

·         Sustainable Development, and

·         The Growth of Cities

The Institute serves as an incubator for collaborative research proposals by organizing interdisciplinary faculty seminars and research working groups.  It has developed an electronic research archive, a working paper series, and co-publishes a scholarly electronic journal focusing on interdisciplinary global research, the Journal of World-Systems Research.

IROWS 02-03 Accomplishments: 


q       Publications from PEWS02 Conference: IROWS hosted the annual spring Political Economy of World-Systems (PEWS) conference at UCR May 3-4, 2002 on the theme of “Hegemonic Decline: Present and Past.”  See

Three books composed mainly of papers presented at the conference are moving toward publication:

v     Thomas E. Reifer (ed.) Hegemony, Globalization and Antisystemic Movements. Paradigm Press.

v     Jonathan Friedman and Christopher Chase-Dunn (eds.) Hegemonic Declines: Present and Past. Paradigm Press, and

v     Christopher Chase-Dunn and E. N. Anderson (eds.) The Historical Evolution of World-Systems, Palgrave

q       JWSR Produces New Issues: The Journal of World-Systems Research (JWSR), co-published by IROWS and the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at UC-Santa Cruz, produced three new issues during this period. See

q       Johns Hopkins Book Series: IROWS Director Chase-Dunn is the Editor of two book series at Johns Hopkins University Press. Books by Stephen Bunker and William Robinson are imminently forthcoming.

q        POGS Speaker Series: IROWS Director Chase-Dunn and Juliann Allison of the UCR Department of Political Science are co-directors of the Riverside branch of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) entitled the Program on Global Studies. Thomas E. Reifer is the Associate Director of POGS and has organized eight lectures in its speaker series onGlobalization, Inequality and Transnational Social Movements.”  See

q       PEGSC Specialization: The Department of Sociology established a new graduate specialization in Political Economy and Global Social Change with help from IROWS. See

q       Scientific American article: IROWS Director Christopher Chase-Dunn’s research on long waves of trade globalization (with Yukio Kawano and Benjamin Brewer), originally published in the American Sociological Review (February, 2000) was summarized in Scientific American June 2003. See

q       ISA-RC02: In December of 2002 IROWS Director Chase-Dunn was elected President of the Research Committee on Economy and Society (RC02) of the International Sociological Association.

q       Jorgenson’s Awards: Andrew Jorgenson is Senior Research Assistant of IROWS and Assistant Editor on JWSR. This year Andrew won the following academic awards:

v     The  Annual Distinguished Graduate Student Paper Award, Pacific Sociological Association for “Consumption and Environmental Degradation: A Cross-National Analysis of the Ecological Footprint.” which is being published in Social Problems in August 2003.

v     The Annual Graduate Research Award, Graduate Student Association, University of California, Riverside.  This award is for the paper that is being published in Social Problems.

v     The Marvin E Olsen Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award of the Section on Environment, Technology and Society of the American Sociological Association. This paper is being published in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations (“Globalization, the Environment, and Infant Mortality: A Cross-National Study.”) in summer 2003 and another related paper is being published in the Social Science Journal (“Global Inequalities, Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality.”) in early 2004.


Research Projects: IROWS is currently sponsoring four on-going research projects:


Ø      Waves of Globalization: the National Science Foundation’s Sociology Program funded our study of economic globalization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Andrew Jorgenson, Rebecca Giem, John Rogers and Shoon Lio have made major contributions to the project this year. A paper based on the results of this project was presented at the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association in August 2002. See

Ø       Cities and Empires: Another IROWS project focuses on time-mapping the growth of cities and empires in Afroeurasia over the past 3000 years. Alexis Alvarez and Daniel Pasciuti have contributed greatly to this project. A paper based on the research of this project has been published in Cross-Cultural Research.  See

Ø      Global Elite Formation: IROWS has begun research on the evolution of a global elite over the past 160 years, looking at the wealthiest and most powerful individuals, families, firms and political organizations since 1840. Dr. Thomas Reifer currently leads this project. Christopher Schmitt applied for UC-MEXUS  funding to study U.S.-Mexican elite ties.

Ø       Biotechnology and Hegemony: IROWS is starting a project that will time-map the global emergence of the biotechnology industry in order to consider its potential effects on regional and international economic comparative advantages. Chase-Dunn presented a preliminary paper on this topic at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in November of 2001 and at the World Congress of Sociology in Brisbane, Australia in July of 2002. See


New IROWS Initiatives:


IROWS has invested considerable effort in several major research initiatives:


Ø      UC-ILE Proposal: A proposal to study “Labor Solidarity and Transportation:  Global Capital and Labor in the Pacific Rim” was submitted in January 2003. The co-PIs are Thomas Reifer, Edna Bonacich and Christopher Chase-Dunn. This proposal was funded for $30,000 and the research is proceeding. We are also preparing to submit proposals on similar topics to UC-MEXUS and the UC-PacRim programs in early 2004.

Ø      NSF Geography Program: IROWS is preparing a proposal on “Measuring the Suburbanization of World Cities with Remote Sensing Data” for the NSF Geography Program with Professor John Weeks, Department of Geography, San Diego State University. The proposal will be submitted in August 2003. This research will focus on the Southern California conurbation as well as other world city regions. This research is relevant to concerns about urban sprawl and the new Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at UCR.

Ø      NSF Information Technology Research: An interdisciplinary grant proposal to the National Science Foundation’s program in Information Technology Research entitled “Time Mapping 3000 Years of Globalization: Knowledge Modeling Urbanization, Empire Formation, Climate Change and Emerging Global Complexity” was submitted in November of 2002. The total proposed budget for this project for five years of research support was $4,271,446. The reviews of an earlier submission were quite encouraging.

Ø      NSF Sociology Program: IROWS submitted a proposal to study global elite formation to the National Science Foundation’s Sociology Program in August 2002. This proposal was not recommended for funding. A revised version will be submitted in August of 2003.

Ø      NSF Human and Social Dynamics: IROWS submitted a proposal onAnalyzing Complex Macrosystems As Dynamic Interaction Networks” to the NSF Human and Social Dynamics program in June 2003. And a co-proposal for a workshop was submitted to the Santa Fe Institute.

Ø      MacArthur Foundation Proposal: Thomas Reifer is planning to submit a proposal to the MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Program for $100,000 on the theme of “Technological Change, Global Security and Sustainability” in February 2004. The proposed research will examine how public policy either shapes or responds to technological change – and proposals on related social and economic issues - with a particular emphasis on policy-making institutions, treaty regimes, or nongovernmental organizations operating on a transnational or international scale.

IROWS Working Papers are available at