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Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Spring 2018-2019
* SOC 207 (SA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Poverty in America

Matthew Desmond

This course investigates poverty in America in historical and contemporary perspective. We will explore central aspects of poverty, including low-wage work and joblessness, housing and neighborhoods, crime and punishment, and survival and protest. Along the way, we will examine the cause and consequences of poverty; study the lived experience of severe deprivation and material hardship; evaluate large-scale anti-poverty programs with an eye toward what worked and what didn't; and engage with normative debates about the right to housing, living wages, just punishment, and other matters pertaining to American life below the poverty line.

Sample reading list:
Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton, American Apartheid:
Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Seth Holmes, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies:
Janet Currie, The Invisible Safety Net:
William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged:

Reading/Writing assignments:
This course has a strong Activity-Based Learning (ABL) component. Regular memos and the final paper draw on fieldwork and/or interviews conducted by students. This is designed to provide students with an intimate and memorable experience related to economic inequality in America. Grades are also based on reading responses and regular class participation.

Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Papers - 30%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%
Other (See Instructor) - 20%

Other Requirements:
Community-Engaged Learning Component Required

Other information:
Other 20% = Fieldwork proposal and field notes.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
40131 L01 10:00:00 am - 10:50:00 am M W        Enrolled:126 Limit:137
41805 P99 TBA        Enrolled:126 Limit:137