The Global Poverty class has the following goals. First, it trains students to become participants in the global debates about poverty and inequality. In doing so, it teaches students about dominant paradigms of development and welfare and situates such paradigms in the 20th century history of capitalism and liberal democracy.
Second, the class introduces students to the field of poverty action. It examines key institutions and actors – from the World Bank to global social movements, from national and local governments to nonprofits and NGOs, from multinational corporations to philanthropic foundations. Students are encouraged to understand methodologies of poverty action and their strengths and limitations.
Third, the course is concerned with philosophies of global justice and the ethics of global citizenship. Students are expected to critically reflect upon their own engagements with poverty action and their own aspirations for social change.
Finally, the class adopts a global approach to the analysis of poverty and inequality. While the emphasis of the class is on the experiences of the global South, it is equally concerned with structures of inequality in the global North. In this sense, the class brings poverty “home,” disrupting the comfortable perception that poverty exists elsewhere, at a distance.