Poverty and Vulnerability (PEC4382.01)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Poverty describes the state of deprivation when people cannot meet a minimum desirable standard of living, and vulnerability can be seen as the risk of poverty in a population. In this seminar, we will explore the nature and causes of poverty and vulnerability that we witness around the world, especially after a moment of economic shock and crisis. We will also discuss what makes the conditions of poverty and vulnerability unjust or unfair, and how the conditions should be addressed.

The course has two requirements: [a] Class participation based on deep reading of assigned materials, and [b] a research project and related homework assignments. [You should not miss a class. Before coming to class, you must engage carefully with the assigned materials, and you must participate seriously in class discussions. Also, as a research project for the class, we will carry out empirical analysis of an issue dealing with economic growth and economic crisis for your studied country.]

This is an advanced-level research seminar designed for students in their third and fourth years of college. Students in their second year may also join in with the prior approval of the instructor. We will explore the key concepts in the course verbally and through written expositions, and use mathematical formulations to express the ideas in formal terms. The course will involve a close analysis of household survey datasets. We will make use of the empirical findings to provide evidential support to our arguments. For this, some familiarity with spreadsheet analyses of data is expected. Some prior knowledge of statistical theory/applications will be advantageous.

The course will be taught through synchronous meetings each week to be attended by all students in the class for lectures, data workshops, class discussions and collective sharing of ideas. There will be occasional remote classes held online together with the more-frequent in-person meetings. There may also be occasional asynchronous group tutorial meetings [normally between four or five students and the course instructor] based around conversations on students’ work and research questions.

Learning Outcomes:
The course has three aims: [1] It is designed to help students gain a critical understanding of the foundational economic theories of poverty and vulnerability analyses, and master the applied tools necessary to create their own research. [2] It introduces students to certain key approaches to distributive justice. [3] It is devised for guiding them in formulating their own thesis questions and provide empirical supports to their arguments. Students will be invited to expand their knowledge through active, self-determined investigation. They are invited to bring a transdisciplinary approach to learning in this class. Throughout this course, students will expand their capabilities of critical analytical thinking and progress in their capacities to research, to create and to communicate.

Delivery Method: Hybrid
Prerequisites: At least one 2000-level course in SCT. Prior knowledge of data analyses is desirable and some familiarity with spreadsheet analyses of data is expected. Some prior knowledge of statistical theory/applications will be advantageous. Also, approval of course instructor is required (contact: lbanerjee@bennington.edu). Prioritization of registration | Students should email the course instructor with an expression of interest, and explain [in few sentences] [a] why they are interested in this course, [b] if the course fit with their academic plan, and, if yes, then how, [c] if they fulfill the prerequisites for the course and what courses [that would satisfy the prerequisite criterion] have they taken before [stating the course name and level of prior courses in economics/political economy, SCT, mathematics etc]. The emails should be received by December 31st, 2023.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Hybrid , Political Economy , Society Culture and Thought
Tags: , , , , , , , ,