11.020 | Fall 2003 | Undergraduate

Poverty, Public Policy and Controversy


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

Much social controversy in the 1990s has been concerned with how society should respond to poverty, and the related issues of welfare, out of wedlock births, homelessness, crime, and drugs. This course investigates how particular societal responses are a function of the values, political and policy issues, as well as social science findings that are brought to these controversies. The course will examine both what we know about poverty and related behaviors from social science research and how this knowledge is incorporated into public discourse. The structure of each class is a combination of lecture/presentation and group discussions with groups totaling no more than 20 students.


  • Readings
  • One midterm exam (15%)
  • One final exam (20%)
  • Three 7 page papers (35%)
  • #1 Sentence analytical exercise
  • #2 Outline an article without an introduction and conclusion
  • #3 Write the introduction and conclusion to an assigned article
  • Rewrite the first or second paper after meeting with writing tutor
  • One leading of a class presentation based on a reading
  • Special class on analyzing and writing arguments, and
  • Attendance at lectures and participation in weekly discussions (30%)

The assignments are due on the following dates:

Analytical Exercise Lec #1
First Assignment Lec #7
Second Assignment Lec #15
Required Rewriting Assignment Lec #18
Third Assignment Lec #22


There are readings that will be handed out in class.

Students are responsible to complete all readings found in the required texts and reader prior to class.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2003