RCSSCI 230 - Poverty, Inequality, and Discrimination
Winter 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Social Sciences (RCSSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


In 1958, economist J.K. Galbraith claimed that poverty in the U.S. was no longer “a massive affliction [but] more nearly an afterthought.” Four years later, Michael Harrington published The Other America, exposing the persistence of mass poverty despite the general prosperity of the nation. For over 50 years, the poverty debates have continued to focus on the visible and invisible poor.

This class will briefly explore some historical issues around poverty — the challenges and controversies around the various definitions of poverty, the debates in the late 1950s and early 1960s around the existence of poverty in the U.S. — but the majority of the course will focus on contemporary discussions of poverty, gender, race, family structure, and sexual orientation.

We will use as our primary text, a new two-volume anthology of essays, The Economics of Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination in the 21st Century (2013). These articles span a wide range of discussions on the causes of and possible solutions to poverty in the U.S. We will look at labor and housing issues, immigration and welfare issues, prison and schooling issues.

For more information, contact the instructor, David Burkam (dtburkam@umich.edu).

Course Requirements:

  1. a journal with brief reactions to the readings
  2. shared responsibility for leading class discussions
  3. occasional brief writing assignments inspired by our readings
  4. a term paper on a poverty-related topic of the student’s choosing

Intended Audience:

This introductory course is open to all LSA students. It also serves as a gateway course for the Social Theory and Practice major in the Residential College.


RCSSCI 230 - Poverty, Inequality, and Discrimination
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 3:00PM - 5:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

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