Center Director:  Christopher  Chase-Dunn

Title:  Director

Phone:  (951) 827 - 2062

Department:  Sociology


College:    CHASS

Period of Review: 2008-2009



Name of Center: Institute for Research on World-Systems



Brief history of IROWS:

The Institute for Research on World-Systems was established in 2000 in connection with the recruitment of Christopher Chase-Dunn from Johns Hopkins University. Chase-Dunn negotiated a five-year support package with then Executive Vice Chancellor David Warren. The financial support, which came primarily from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) budget, was based on a written development plan in which IROWS agreed to pursue extramural support for interdisciplinary research while organizing a colloquium seminar, a speaker series, occasional conferences and publishing an academic journal.

       IROWS has submitted extramural funding proposals requesting funding for more than $5 million per year since 2001. Two proposals to the NSF Sociology Program have been funded, and a 3-year project funded by the NSF Human Social Dynamics program for $450,000 began in October of 2005.

       The IROWS Administrative Assistant, Nelda Thomas, serves as the receptionist and answers the phones for both the Presley Center and IROWS. Nelda also organizes conferences, speaker presentations, works on publications and assists with student and classroom support.

       IROWS has sponsored two major conferences. The first one, in 2002, was on the Political Economy of World-Systems and brought scholars and scientists from all over the world to UCR to present research that has subsequently resulted in the publication of three books. The second conference, on Globalization and Geographical Information Systems was held in 2004. This conference was co-funded by the UC-Santa Barbara Center for Spatial Integration of the Social Sciences, the UCR Office of Research, and the UCR Office of Chancellor.  IROWS has hosted several visiting postdoctoral fellows who have participated in our research projects. Most recently Mark Herkenrath, of the University of Zurich, and Pablo Iglesias Turrion, of the Universidad Complutense, Madrid have been in residence.

       Research projects carried on at IROWS have involved both undergraduate and graduate students in the study of global social change and socio-cultural evolution. Andrew Jorgenson, an early and amazingly productive graduate student, received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 2004 took a tenure-track job at Washington State University and has now moved to the University of Utah. Andrew is the editor of the Journal of World-Systems Research  (JWSR).  JWSR, founded by IROWS Director Chase-Dunn in 1994, has become the official journal of the Political Economy of World-Systems Section of the American Sociological Association.  Twenty-five graduate students and twenty undergraduates have participated in IROWS research projects since 2000.

       The IROWS web site contains 49 working papers and hosts the home pages of five research projects. IROWS director Chase-Dunn helped to organize a specialization in Political Economy and Global Social Change for the Sociology Graduate Program. Chase-Dunn and IROWS Associate Director Matthew Mahutga often teach the graduate core course in this specialization.

       IROWS Director Chase-Dunn has also joined a group of UCR Sociology Faculty (Jonathan Turner, Aleksandra Maryanski and Stephen Sanderson) who are organizing a graduate specialization on Evolutionary Sociology.



MISSION, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF IROWS:  IROWS does research on globalization, global social change and the historical evolution of intersocietal systems. IROWS initiates and sponsors research activities, public events, university-wide academic projects, a web site (, and electronic publications for the wider academic, regional and world-wide public interested in research on globalization and global policy issues.

The main purpose of IROWS is to conduct long term, large-scale interdisciplinary research to achieve a better understanding of:

·         Global Social Change,

·        The Historical Evolution of Cities and Polities,

·        Global and Regional Political Ecology,

·        Biotechnology and Global Political Economy,

·        The Rise, Fall and Upward Sweeps of Polity Formation and the Emergence of a Global State, and

·        Transnational Social Movements and Global Civil Society.


IROWS Financial Situation:  The original funding from UCR for IROWS is now completely depleted. Funding for speakers who are often of interest to IROWS comes from the Institute on Global Cooperation and Conflict (IGCC) at UC-San Diego (Chase-Dunn is the co-Director of the UCR branch of IGCC, the Program on Global Studies) and the UCR Mellon Foundation Workshop Initiative.  NSF grant support is used to fund graduate and undergraduate research assistants.  Staff assistance (Nelda Thomas) is being funded at 25% by the Dean of CHASS for 2008-2009.





  • The Global Studies Major; Chase-Dunn has taught Global Studies 2, one of two gateway courses for the new major.
  • Involvement of undergraduates in research projects.
  • Center Director Chase-Dunn is the Faculty Advisor for UCR-CALPIRG and for the UCR Model UN Project (MUN)
  • Center Director Chase-Dunn is the Director of the University Honors Program.



  • The Political Economy and Global Social Change specialization in the Sociology Ph.D. Program.
  • Participation of graduate students in three on-going research projects, professional presentations and publications.




  • IROWS Director Chase-Dunn is the editor of a book series at Johns Hopkins University Press on “Themes in Global Social Change.”
  • Delivery of lectures on globalization and global social change to:  UCR-affiliated community organizations such as the Citizen’s University Committee, the Life Society, the Environmental Sciences Research Institute (ESRI) in Redlands, the UCR Palm Desert campus and UCR Affiliates; and Regional, national and international academic audiences at meetings of the California Sociological Association, the Pacific Sociological Association, the American Sociological Association, the International Studies Association and the International Sociological Association, and the Global Studies Association. In August of 2009 IROWS Director Chase-Dunn will present a plenary address at a conference on the “Social and Natural Limits on Globalization” at the University of San Francisco.

·        Organization of academic conferences, conference sessions and workshops at UCR and in connection with several regional, national and international professional organizations.


IROWS RESEARCH Projects         


In 2008-2009 three main research projects at IROWS were:

1.      IROWS obtained NSF-HSD funding for a 3-year project on the rise and fall of states and empires over the past 4000 years and the future emergence of a global state. This is a continuation of an on-going project (since 2000) that quantitatively studies the growth of cities and states since the Bronze Age. The co-PIs on the NSF-HSD project are Chase-Dunn, E.N. Anderson, emeritus professor of Anthropology at UCR and Peter Turchin, a population ecologist at the University of Connecticut. Several UCR graduate students and undergraduates are working on this project.

2.      IROWS has applied for funding to study the contours of relations among transnational social movements participating in the World Social Forums with co-PI Ellen Reese in Sociology. Six graduate students attended the 2007 World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya where they administered a survey research instrument to more than 600 participants. Six graduate students and two undergraduates attended the June 2007 meeting of the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta to administer another survey. Network and GIS analyses of the data produced by these surveys will be presented at the American Sociological Association annual conference in San Francisco in August of 2009.

Additional projects under development focus upon:

·      a global public opinion survey on knowledge about global governance and opinions about global democracy (NSF-Sociology proposal was submitted in January of 2008).

·      the development of interactive three-dimensional web-based metaverse projects for transnational social movements (a proposal to Social Science Research Council is in the works).

Detail information on past and current IROWS research projects are listed on the IROWS web site under “Projects.”




IROWS has a Governing Board composed of UCR faculty members with overlapping research and academic interests that provides oversight and confers about new initiatives.  The current Governing Board chair is Professor Robert Hanneman in the Sociology Department. Professor Edna Bonacich (now retired) was the Board Chair from 2000 to 2006 (see below). The external Advisory Board is composed of academic experts in the U.S. and abroad who serve as consultants on research projects, help recruit students, organize academic conferences and workshops (see below). IROWS receives immense grants management and application support from Richard Munoz in the Sociology Department. Matthew Mahutga, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCR, has agreed to become the new Associate Director of IROWS.

IROWS Governing Board

·        Robert A. Hanneman, Sociology (Chair) 

·        Juliann Allison, Political Science

·        Marcelle Chauvet, Economics

·        Carl Cranor, Philosophy 

·        Anil Deolalikar, Economics

·        Christine Gailey, Women's Studies 

·        Randolph Head, History 

·        Ray A. Kea, History 

·        Augustine Kposowa, Sociology

·        Bai-Lian Li, Botany and Plant Sciences

·        Matthew C. Mahutga, Sociology

·        Thomas Patterson, Anthropology 

·        Ellen Reese, Sociology

·        Roberto Sanchez-Rodriguez, Environmental Sciences 

·        Stephen Sanderson, IROWS

·        Thomas F. Scanlon, Comparative Literature 

·        Anne Sutherland, Anthropology

IROWS Advisory Board (external)

· Janet Abu-Lughod, New School for Social Research 

· Guillermo Algaze, UC-San Diego 

· Richard Appelbaum, UC-Santa Barbara 

· Walden Bello, University of the Phillipines

· Albert Bergesen, Arizona 

· Fred Block, UC-Davis 

· Volker Bornschier, Zurich 

· David Christian, California State University-San Diego

· Jonathan Friedman, Lund/Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, University of California-San Diego

· Walter L. Goldfrank, UC-Santa Cruz 

· Thomas D. Hall, DePauw 

· Jeffrey Kentor, Utah   

· Su-Hoon Lee, Kyungnam University, Seoul 

· John W. Meyer, Stanford 

· Valentine Moghadam, Perdue 

· Saskia Sassen, Columbia 

·         Kathleen Schwartzman, Arizona

· Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics 

· David A. Smith, UC-Irvine 

· Alvin So, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 

· Peter Taylor, Loughborough 

· Teivo Teivainen, University of Helskinki

· William R. Thompson, Indiana 

· Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale 

· David Wilkinson, UCLA 




Journal articles:

Christopher Chase-Dunn 2007 “Sociocultural evolution and the future of world society” World Futures 65: 408-424.

Book Chapters:


C.K. Chase-Dunn ,(2008),WORLD URBANIZATION: THE ROLE OF SETTLEMENT SYSTEMS IN HUMAN SOCIAL EVOLUTION, in World System History, [Eds. George Modelski,Robert A.Denemark], in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford ,UK, [] [Retrieved April 17, 2009]
C. Chase-Dunn and R.E. Niemeyer 2009 “The world revolution of 20xx” in Mathias Albert, Gesa Bluhm, Han Helmig, Andreas Leutzsch, Jochen Walter (eds.) Transnational Political Spaces. Campus Verlag: Frankfurt/New York
Hall, Thomas D., Christopher Chase-Dunn and Richard Niemeyer. 2009. “The Roles of Central Asian Middlemen and Marcher States in Afroeurasian World-System Synchrony.” Pp. 69-82 in The Rise of Asia and the Transformation of the World-System, edited by Ganesh K. Trinchur. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press.

C. Chase-Dunn and Terry Boswell 2009 “Semiperipheral devolopment and global democracy” in Phoebe Moore and Owen Worth, Globalization and the Semiperiphery, Palgrave.


Christopher Chase-Dunn and Matheu Kaneshiro 2009 “Stability and Change in the contours of Alliances Among movements in the social forum process” Pp. 119-133 in David Fasenfest (ed.) Engaging Social Justice. Leiden: Brill.


Christopher Chase-Dunn, Richard Niemeyer, Alexis Alvarez and Hiroko Inoue 2009 “Scale transitions and the evolution of global governance since the Bronze Age” Pp. 261-284 in William R. Thompson (ed.) Systemic Transitions. New York: Palgrave MacMillan


Christopher Chase-Dunn and Susan Manning 2002   

City systems and world-systems: four millennia of city growth and decline

Cross-Cultural Research 36, 4: 379-398Reprinted in Ronan Paddison 2009

Urban Studies Economy ISBN: 978-1-84787-258-6 (September) SAGE Publications


Book Reviews:

Review essay on Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing (London: Verso 2007). Historical Materialism 2009.

Review of Heikki Patomaki’s The Political Economy of Global Security: War, Future Crises and Changes in Global Governance (London: Routledge 2008) for review symposium in Cooperation and Conflict The Evolution of Capitalist Globalization and Possible Human Futures: Hamlet without the Prince

International Political Economy (IPE) section of the International Studies Association
The Section announces the following events: 

We are honoring Christopher Chase-Dunn as Distinguished Senior Scholar in the International Political Economy section for 2008-2009. Chase-Dunn, who is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, spent 25 years in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, and since 2000 has been distinguished professor and founding director of the Institute for Research on World-Systems at the University of California at Riverside. He is the author or editor of 15 books, and has approximately 50 articles to his credit. He is founder and former editor of the Journal of World-Systems Research, and has held positions on about a dozen other editorial boards. His work focuses on inequality and justice, development and underdevelopment, world cities and suburbanization, waves of international economic, political and cultural integration, and global state formation. Chase-Dunn served as Chair of the IPE Section from 1984 to 1986, helping to create its newsletter, junior scholar award, and later, the senior scholar award. He has also served the ISA, the American Sociological Association, the International Sociological Association, along with other professional organizations in several official capacities.