Poverty-Related Courses

Note: This may be an incomplete list. Please email Tara Watson if you wish to add a course to this list.

Most Related

These courses include substantial engagement with the representation of, experiences of, consequences of, or causes of economic disadvantage. These will be tagged as “poverty related” in the course catalog.

AFR 322. Race, Culture, Incarceration. Professor Joy James. The course spends a good portion on poverty and incarceration throughout the 20th century and early 21st century. Topics include the convict prison lease system of the south in the early 20th century; racial and class differences in sentencing and rehabilitation; employment opportunities; status of undocumented workers, etc.

AFR 343T. Racial-Sexual Violence. Professor Joy James. The course identifies disparities of protection and treatment for women and girls who do not have economic or educational resources for addressing victimization (e.g., runaways, children and women in poverty, immigrant women without documentation).

AMST 201. Introduction to American Studies. Professor Mark Reinhardt. The course spends considerable time looking at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in American life, as seen in the following topics: the history of redlining and its effects on both economic status and the social meaning of blackness and whiteness; the role of economic and sexual hierarchies in the decision to redevelop Times Square; neoliberalism and debt in the US in the 21st Century; the ebt in the US in the 21st Century; the condition of contemporary Detroit; the lives of fast food workers; poverty and immigration in Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives and contemporary immigrant neighborhoods in NY today; the relationship between race, class, and incarceration.

ECON 203. Gender and Economics. Professor Lucie Schmidt. Among other topics, discusses poverty and the role of anti-poverty programs in the economic lives of women.

ECON 374T. Poverty and Public Policy. Professor Lara Shore-Sheppard. Focuses on anti-poverty programs in the United States.

ECON 468. Your Money or Your Life. Professor Tara Watson. The course explores U.S. socioeconomic disparities in health and health impacts of poverty.

ECON 504. Public Economics. Professor Jon Bakija. This course explores many issues relevant to understanding the causes of poverty and designing policies to address it. Examples of topics covered: philosophies of distributive justice and the tradeoff between equity and efficiency; evidence on economic inequality within and across countries; why markets for insurance and credit fail in developing countries and how these contribute to poverty, issues in the design of anti-poverty programs such as cash vs in-kind and methods of targeting, etc.

ECON 521. Incentives and Development. Professor Ashok Rai. This course focuses on micro-simulation modelling as a tool for ex ante analysis of social policy interventions, primarily those that aim to reduce poverty in developing countries.

ECON 532T. Inclusive Growth: Social Safety Nets. Professor Michael Samson. This course focuses on social protection as a strategy for tackling poverty and promoting pro-poor growth. The first module focuses on poverty and vulnerability analysis in developing countries, followed by modules which explore design, implementation and M&E approaches for social protection programs.

LATS 386. (Also HIST 386). Latinas in the Global Economy. Professor Carmen Whalen. This course examines the impact of the shifting global economy on Latinas in their home country, as labor migrants to the US, and as low-wage workers in the US (mostly as garment and other manufacturing workers, and as domestics).

PSCI 208. Wealth in America.  Professor Cathy Johnson.  The pursuit of wealth is an important feature of the American dream and the Protestant work ethic. The accumulation of wealth has been lauded as both a worthy individual activity and a vital component of the nation’s public interest. Yet inequality of wealth may conflict with the political equality necessary for democratic governance and public trust , leading to concerns that we are sacrificing community, fairness and opportunity for the benefit of a small portion of the population. This tutorial focuses on questions about the public value of wealth and its accumulation, which have become more pressing now that the richest one percent own about 40 percent of privately held wealth.

PSCI 209. Poverty in America. Professor Cathy Johnson. Although some protest that  the U.S. is heading toward European style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S.  differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community?  What economic, historical and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reducing poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state?

SOC 315. Culture, Consumption & Modernity. Professor Olga Shevchenko. This course includes a few sessions dedicated to Bourdieu and what he has to say about the “taste of necessity” (i.e. consumption patterns of the economically and culturally disadvantaged, and the ways in which this taste is then used to further disempower them). It also talks about debt, credit, and the way consumption works to conceal economic inequalities.

WSP courses will be posted Fall 2016

Supplemental Courses

These courses do not include an extensive discussion of poverty per se, but touch on issues that have indirect implications for poverty.

BIOL 219T. Dangerous Exposures: Environment, Immunity and Infectious Disease. Professor Lois Banta. In the week that is most directly relevant, students read and respond to a section of Paul Farmer’s “Infections and Inequalities.” Other weeks focus on topics that include HIV, HPV/cervical cancer, malaria, dengue, and cholera, all of which disproportionately affect the poor.

ECON 230. Economics of Health and Health Care. Professor Lara Shore-Sheppard. This course talks about poverty in the context of poor health outcomes, lack of health insurance, and access to health care, among other things.

LATS 230. (Also Hist 230). Latina/o History. Professor Carmen Whalen. This course focuses on the causes of migration and the migrations of the major Latina/o groups in the US, looking at the impact of US imperialism and labor recruitment in shaping Latina/o migration to the US, and looks some at economic incorporation in the US.

PHIL 337T. Justice in Health Care. Professor Julie Pedroni. The course considers the degree to which personal responsibility for illness should factor into the distribution of health care resources, possible criteria for rationing of health care, and general philosophical theories of distributive justice, all of which clearly are related to but do not focus specifically on poverty.

PHLH 201. Intro to Public Health. Professors Cheryl Shanks and Amy Gehring.

PSCI 203. Intro to Political Theory. Professor Mark Reinhardt. Includes perhaps 6 or 7 sessions that, under the rubric of Justice and Power, in one way or another touch on theoretical questions about wealth and poverty either in the US or globally.

PSYC 335. Early Experience and the Developing Infant. Professor Amie Hane. Poverty is a theme that comes up often as the class focuses on early neural plasticity and so we directly discuss the effects of environmental deprivation on infant development. We cover institutionalization of infants, poverty and in the end of the semester the head start initiative and early intervention programs in general.