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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2008

S S 301 • Honors Social Science: Anthropology: The Social Science of Persistent Poverty - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43570 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM

Course Description

Anthropology provides a unique window on the human experience. Anthropologists live in the communities they study in order to determine and then to describe the ways in which different communities define and interpret their experiences. This course will explore the anthropological approach to the study of persistent poverty in the United States. We will review some of the major social theories that have contributed to anthropology and some of the related social sciences. We will explore the kinds of approaches anthropologists and other social scientists take to the study of poverty. Furthermore, we will discuss the ethical issues that emerge from undertaking research on other people, particularly those impoverished, and then releasing the findings to them and to others. We will emphasize, in particular, the diverse groups that make up the United States and their distinctive experiences marked by gender, race, and ethnicity. In all of our considerations, we will consider the impact of poverty research on current social stereotypes, social policies, and institutions in the United States.


Several types of readings will form the basis of this course. First, we will review policy responses to poverty and the theories that underlie them. However, the larger proportion of our readings will report on specific research projects that apply anthropology to current interpretations of poverty-related problems in the United States. Students will read a variety of articles representing different approaches to the study of poverty and discuss the implications.


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