ANT 391 • Reading Poverty, Politics & Theory Through Ethnography
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
This course will explore the intersection of anthropological ethnography with the modern politics and theories of poverty. We will review competing theories of poverty that have developed in the last 50 years and contributed to definitions of poverty. We will examine them in the context of a series of ethnographic studies which support and contest these theories. We will explore the diversity of poverty experiences in the United States and also incorporate a few selected international examples. We will examine the impact of ethnographic research on current social stereotypes of definitions of poverty, social policies, and institutions, as well as the ways in which politics and policy have shaped the research endeavor. To these ends, the readings will include a selection of theoretical readings primarily from the 1900s and a series of full-length ethnographic studies of poverty dating from the 1960s through today. Furthermore, we will discuss the ethical issues that emerge from undertaking such studies and then releasing the findings to others. The course will draw on faculty presentations, student presentations, exercises, and the viewing and discussion of images of poverty in film. At the end of the course, each student should be able to:
* Draw on theories of poverty to evaluate current studies and assessments of poverty; * Draw on ethnographic studies of poverty to compare and critique theories of poverty and poverty policies; * Explore the distinctive experiences of diverse poverty groups; * Understand many of the ethical dilemmas that arise from research and scholarship on poverty.
Texts: Global Problems and the Culture of Acpiatlism by Richard H. Robbins Understanding Poverty by Sheldon H. Danziger and Robert H. Haveman The New Poverty Studies by Judith Goode and Jeff Maskovsky Selection from following ethnographies: Forming Early Theory: All Our Kin by Carol Stack Tally's Corner by Elliot Leibow Children of Sanchez by Oscar Lewis Hard Living on Clay Street by Joseph Howell Work and Poverty: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman Men and Poverty In Search of Respect by Philippe Bourgois Streetwise by Elijah Anderson Institutions Ethnography of a Soup Kitchen by Irene Glasser Tell Them Who I Am by Elliot Leibow Welfare Reform and Poverty Making Ends Meet by Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein