States of Poverty
Kristin Bumiller (Section 01)
(Offered as Political Science 85 [AP, GP] and Women’s and Gender Studies 85.) In this course the students will examine the role of the modern welfare state in people’s everyday lives. We will study the historical growth and retrenchment of the modern welfare state in the United States and other Western democracies. The course will critically examine the ideologies of “dependency” and the role of the state as an agent of social control. In particular, we will study the ways in which state action has implications for gender identities. In this course we will analyze the construction of social problems linked to states of poverty, including hunger, homelessness, health care, disability, discrimination, and violence. We will ask how these conditions disproportionately affect the lives of women and children. We will take a broad view of the interventions of the welfare state by considering not only the impact of public assistance and social service programs, but the role of the police, family courts, therapeutic professionals, and schools in creating and responding to the conditions of impoverishment. The work of the seminar will culminate in the production of a research paper and students will be given the option of incorporating field work into the independent project. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Some previous exposure to background material. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Bumiller.
Offerings2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011