This course explores the history of dominant ideas about the causes of and solutions to poverty in American society. We will investigate changing economic, cultural, and political conditions that gave rise to new populations of impoverished Americans and to the expansion or contraction of poverty rates at various times in American history. However, we will focus primarily on how various social commentators, political activists, and reformers defined poverty, explained its causes, and struggled to ameliorate its effects. The course aims to highlight changes in theories and ideas about the relationship between dependence and independence, personal responsibility and social obligation, and the state and the citizen.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU BA; AS HUM; AS SD I