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Global Poverty: Critical Thinking & Taking Action (Science and Society 121)

This course focuses on world poverty, its causes and effects, and explores the global debate about how best to alleviate it. Macro policy and micro interventions. Learn about global disparity in economic growth and development strategies.  Is foreign aid a help or hindrance? Explore strategies targeted at raising the standard of living the poor.

Profs. Lovell S. Jarvis and Kurt Kornbluth        

No prerequisites.
Approved for International Relations course credit

Winter Quarter: This course focuses on world poverty, its causes and effects as well as explores the ongoing global debate about how best to alleviate it. The first part of the course will focus on the global disparity in economic growth, development goals and foreign aid (Is aid a help or hindrance?). In the second part of the course we will explore strategies targeted at raising the standard of living of those most directly impacted. What technological, (micro) finance and social entrepreneurship opportunities exist? We will compare and contrast the top-down vs “grass roots” approaches. Students will learn from case studies currently being implemented.

Students should leave this course with a better sense of the problems posed by global poverty, be able to participate more effectively in the ongoing debates about poverty alleviation as well as understand how they might personally engage in efforts to reduce poverty. Selected students will be encouraged to be involved with actual international fieldwork abroad.

Registration: Science & Society (SAS 121)
CRN:
#71245 or #71246
Lecture: Tues/Thur 3:10 - 4:30pm
Discussion: (Section 2) Wed 4:10-5 pm; (Section 1) Wed 5:10-6 pm

Units: (4) including workshops, guest speakers, hands-on labs and discussion.

Access the course syllabus here

  • No pre-requisites
  • GE credit for Social Science or World Culture
  • Core course for International Relations credit

Contact: Sean Maxson: smmaxson@ucdavis.edu

Topics:
History of Development & State of the World
Interpreting the Evolution of Development Indicators
Foreign Aid: Help or Hindrance
Analytical Tools & Critical Thinking Skills
Globalization, Trade & Poverty
Race, Gender & Poverty
Technologies of Development

Summary: Over 1.4 billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day. This course focuses on these people and the issues surrounding global poverty (both the causes and effects), as well as explores aspects of the debate over appropriate and effective strategies for alleviating poverty. The first part of the course will explore the disparity in economic growth in the developing world, approaches to poverty alleviation vis-à-vis development, and whether foreign aid is a help or a hindrance. The second part of the course will focus on strategies targeted at raising the standard of living for those most impacted, including implications for appropriate technologies, (micro) finance and social entrepreneurship. We will compare and contrast “top-down” vs. “bottom-up, grass roots” approaches. Students will learn from actual case studies. Students should leave this course with an enhanced sense of the problems posed by global poverty, be able to participate more effectively in the ongoing debates about appropriate strategies to alleviate poverty and how to personally get engaged in ongoing “micro” poverty reduction efforts. Selected students will be encouraged to be involved with actual international fieldwork through the UC Davis D-Lab.

Course materials:
Students will be required to purchase a Personal Response System clicker from the campus bookstore. Other course materials will be available on the UC Davis Smartsite (e.g., the syllabus, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and problem sets). This course includes hands-on labs.

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