Fall 2014

Politics of Place: Poverty, Policy and Housing

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-316

Moodle site: Course


Ashley Brown Burns (Section 01)


[IL] In the U.S., issues of stratification along the lines of income/wealth, spatial designation, and housing persist. These dimensions of place and space are basic components of the lived experience of many citizens. This course will explore the oftentimes disjointed perceptions and realities of poverty, neighborhoods, and housing policy in America.  We will examine some key theoretical and critical issues regarding both the existence and persistence of poverty in the U.S. We will also assess the role and significance of the physical, economic, social, political and demographic attributes of neighborhoods as key aspects of place and space in society. Finally, we will explore contemporary housing policy and the ways in which such public interventions impact and shape the relationships between poverty and place. In addition to texts such as Patillo’s Black Pickett Fences, Jargowsky’s Poverty and Place, Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier, Sen’s Development as Freedom, and Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, we will also assess the geography of opportunity as portrayed in such films as Winter’s Bone, Slumdog Millionaire, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Precious, and Trouble the Water.

Requisite: prior coursework in Political Science.  Limited to 15 students. Spring semester.  Professor Burns.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to Political Science majors; then based on seniority and prior coursework in Political Science


Writing attentive, Speaking attentive


2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2015