Course Details

01:512:238 History of Homelessness

  • Academic Credits: 3
  • SAS Core: CCD, HST
  • Mode of Instruction: Lecture
  • Syllabus:  Fall 2021

    Syllabus Disclaimer:  The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) on the first day of class.

  • Course Description

    This course explores the social and legal history of homelessness and unhoused populations in the United States, from the colonial period to the present. It will begin with an exploration of the contemporary crisis of houselessness and work backwards in time, considering the legal, political, cultural, and economic factors that led to current conditions. This course will challenge the dominant notion that poverty and homelessness are unfortunate but inevitable facets of life and society by exploring the contexts in which poverty and houselessness have been constructed and addressed throughout US history. Students in this course will read about, write about, and discuss the shifting relationships between “homes,” “houses,” residence, and settlement have evolved in this context, and how these definitions have developed alongside the advent of racialized capitalism, policing, and the criminal justice system. To this end, we will consider epistemological questions about how scholarly and popular understandings of poverty and homelessness have developed and the archive on which that knowledge is based.