Jim Spickard's Courseware Sites

SOAN 324: Hunger & Homelessness in America


Click HERE to visit the 2019 version of this course.

(I am still updating the handout links after moving this course site;
please check back later if a link does not work.)


This course is designed to deepen our understanding of hunger and homelessness in the United States, mainly as a consequence of severe poverty.  Through classroom study and field experi­ences, we will explore the social, economic, and political causes of these prob­lems.  I have organized the course around five core questions:

  1. What is life like for the hungry, the homeless, and the near-homeless in the U.S?
  2. How many homeless and near-homeless are there?
  3. What are the major and minor causes of homelessness and hunger?
  4. What are individuals, small organizations, and governments doing to help?  Whatcan they do to help?
  5. What does it take to solve these problems?  What can governments, organizations, and private citizens contribute?

The course combines in-class and out-of-class work in unusual ways.  We will begin with an in-class overview, led both by the course leader and by student presentation teams.  We will then shift our learning to out-of-class activities of two types.  Working as research teams, we will seek answers to the core questions, using class time to process our out-of-class results.  Working individually, each student will volunteer time with a local agency aiding the hungry and homeless.  At the end of the semester, we will develop projects that draw on our experiences to teach others what we have learned.


(Creative Commons photo by Mars Mettnn:http://flic.kr/p/gbzVsv)