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On the Edge: Exploring Poverty in America

(15) On the Edge: Exploring Poverty in America - Stacia Kock, Department of Sociology and Anthrpology

In this seminar, students will examine the multiple dimensions underlying poverty in America today.  Using both historical and contemporary frameworks to inform the conversation, students will interact with interdisciplinary texts and films to examine the connection of poverty to social and political realms such as public policy, popular media, the family, and the workplace.  Collectively, we will explore questions such as: how do we define poverty, and are class categories fluid?  Who are the “working poor” and how do other areas of identity such as gender, race, age, and nationality intersect with poverty issues?  How is poverty connected to larger social justice dialogues in American society, and what challenges emerge when trying to create equitable and effective antipoverty policies and programs?  Through a mix of assignments, including a social justice paper and in-class debates, students will develop informed perspectives on poverty as both a lived reality and a sociopolitical issue.  Texts and films such as Nickel and Dimed, Waging a Living, The Grapes of Wrath, and the summer reading book Enrique’s Journey will guide our discussions.