Victoria Lawson Winter 2011 Tel: 543-5196 Office: Smith 303-D e-mail:


This course explores causes and patterns of global poverty and links this with the urgent need for care and care ethics in our lives and in society broadly. We will begin with acritical approach to global poverty studies, focusing on the production of inequality across the globe (including the rich countries). We will look at how shifts in contemporary society suggest an urgent need for care (in many senses). Specifically, we will examine the context for care including: i) the extension of market relations into almost everything (health care, education, environmental protection, elder-care etc.; ii) the systematic devaluation of care-work; iii) pervasive discourses of personal responsibility (for poverty, inner city decline, unemployment, etc.); and iv) withdrawal of state supports in many crucial arenas. We will focus particularly on how care work is devalued and globalized through international flows of care that contribute to global inequality. Through our analysis of global interconnections we will think about our responsibilities to care for those who are near and those who are across the globe. Students will learn about the possibilities and challenges of caring across distance (geographical and social) and about how to respectfully engage with people in different places.

The first part of the course will examine global poverty and inequality and the growing need to take care seriously in academic work, in public policy and in our own lives. We will then think about the possibilities and challenges of caring across distance and to respectfully engage with people in distant and different places. Finally, we will explorecurrent efforts to construct alternative ways of caring for our society and our world. We will investigate the goals and accomplishments of organizations like Health Action International, World Social Forum, Students Against Sweatshops, and Jubilee 2000 USA, People’s Global Action, and the Regional Equity Movement. We will also think through the challenges of producing innovative and caring knowledge under ethical and responsible relations to people with whom we work.

Learning Goals:

i) understand geographical patterns and causes of global poverty; ii) learn about geographies of care in a global context; iii) service-learning/action research to think through collective concepts of responsibility to society.

Course Readings:

Available on e-reserve at the class website:

Course Requirements:

1) Students are expected to attend all classes and to complete all assigned readings.

2) Students will participate in group presentations on the readings in Thursday class sessions. You will be graded on quality of your participation in the group effort and the presentation (5% of course grade).

3) There will be a take-home midterm exam, handed out in lab sections worth 30% of your final course grade:

Friday Feb 11th (6th week) and due in class Tuesday Feb 15th

4) Students will be graded on class participation for 10% of the grade. This will include completing all the readings, participation in all class discussions throughout the quarter, and responding to each others’ research presentations towards the end of the quarter.

5) Students will complete three credit/no credit assignments which build directly to either their service-learning or research projects (15% of course grade).

6) Students will conduct a service-learning project with an ‘opt-out alternative research project’. This will involve both a presentation (20%) and a written paper for (20%) of your grade. I will provide separate handouts with details on each option.

Important Dates Friday March 11th last class ** paper due Tuesday March 15th at 10:00am in TA boxes **


I. Introduction (Weeks 1-3)


Weeks 1 & 2 What is Global Poverty? Why focus on Inequality?

Activities: Service-Learning setup; video on poverty/inequality Critical Condition, director Roger Weisburg.

Krugman, P. 2002. For Richer. New York Times, October 20th edition.

Economist. 2006. Inequality in America: The rich, the poor and the growing gap between them. June 17th Millennium Development Goals look at: and MDG 1 in readings packet. Lawson, V. and St. Clair, A. 2009. Poverty and Global Environmental Change. IHDP Bulletin #2 view at: Roy, A. 2010. Poverty Capital. Chapter 1. New York: Routledge. Goode, J. and Maskovsky, J. 2001. The New Poverty Studies. Chapter 1. Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. 2009. The Spirit Level. Why More Equal Societies Almost Always do Better. Allen Lane, Chapters 2,6 and 8.

Week 3 Context for Care: neo-liberal times

Video: Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick?, director and producer LarryAdelman;

Farmer, P. 2003. Pathologies of Power. Berkeley: UC Press. Chapters: introduction, 1, 5 and 6. Also look at mission and projects of Partners in Health at:

Harvey, D. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 1.

Teller-Elsberg, J., Folbre, N., Heintz, J. 2006. Field Guide to the U.S. economy: a compact and irreverent guide to economic life in America. New York: New Press. Pages 44,78, 84, 99 and 102.

Erenreich, B. 2001. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Henry Holt. Introduction, chapters 1 and 3.

Week 4 What are Critical Feminist Care Ethics?

Lawson, V. 2007. Geographies of Care and Responsibility. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, forthcoming

Tronto, J. 1993. Moral Boundaries. A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge. Chapters 4 and 5.

Week 5

Care as a Public Matter: the value of caring labor

Kittay, E. 1999. Love’s Labor: essays on women, equality and dependency. New York: Routlege. Chapters: introduction, 5 and 6.

Folbre, N. 2006. Demanding Quality: Worker/Consumer Coalitions and ‘High Road’ Strategies in the Care Sector’ Politics and Society 34(1), 11-31.

England, K. 2010. ‘Home, Work and the Shifting Geographies of Care’ Ethics, Place and Environment 13(2), 131-150.

Week 6

Care and poverty across the globe

Lawson, V. 2010. Reshaping economic geography? Producing spaces of inclusive development. Economic Geography 86(4).

Van Eyck, K. 2005. Who Cares? Women Health Workers in the Global Labour Market. UK: Unison.

Williams, F. 2010. Towards a Transnational Analysis of the Political Economy of Care. In R. Mahon and F. Robinson (eds.) The Global Political Economy of Care: Integrating ethical and social politics. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Koffman, E. and Raghuram, P. 2009. The Implications of Migration for Gender and Care Regimes in the South. New York: UNRISD Social Policy and Development, Paper #41.

Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. 2000. ‘The International Division of Caring and Cleaning Work’ in Care Work. Gender, Labor and the Welfare State. New York: Routlege.

Week 7

Care and Responsibility: participatory action research

Pogge, T. World Poverty and Human Rights: cosmopolitan responsibilities and reforms. Chapter 1 (the introduction).

Massey, D. 2004. ‘Geographies of Responsibility’ Geografiska Annaler 86B(1), 5-18.

Brun, C. 2009. A geographer’s imperative? Research and action in the aftermath of disaster. The Geographical Journal 175(3), 196-207.

Kindon, S., Pain, R. and Kesby, M. 2007. Participatory Action Research, read chapter 2 this can be read online through the UW library: ?p=325513&userid=Fru3pBtCX1A%3d&tstamp=1291065903&id=0A8194B8D464A71 B13141E795E6F34DD1161FB11

Weeks 8 and 9

Caring Across Distance

Staeheli, L. and Nagar, R. 2002. ‘Feminists Talking Across Worlds’ Gender, Place and Culture 9(2), 167-172.

Global Debt and Care:

Jaggar, A. 2003. ‘Vulnerable Women and Neoliberal Globalization: Debt Burdens Undermine Women’s Health in the Global South’ in Fiore, F. and Nelson, H. (eds) Recognition, Responsibility and Rights.

Jubilee Campaign’s mission and projects online at:

SAPRIN on social effects of free-market development: International Forum on Globalization examine their mission and projects at:

Working in the Global Economy

Silvey, R. 2004. ‘Geographies of Sweatshop Activism’ Antipode 2: 191-197.

Featherstone, L. 2004. ‘Si, Se Puede!’ Antipode 2: 198-202.

Cravey, A. 2004. ‘Students and the Anti-Sweatshop Movement’ Antipode 2, 203-208.

Workers Rights Consortium, examine their mission and projects at:

Jobs with Justice Movement, examine their mission and projects at: Service Employees International Union: Student Farmworker Alliance examine their mission and projects at:

Working on Health Care

Health Alliance International: Health Impact Fund: People’s Health Movement: Oxfam Health and Education Campaign: education

Week 10 Student Presentations from their projects

A handout will describe your responsibilities as presenters and reviewers.