Poverty in Law, Literature, and Culture

Section 1, Spring 23

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 16/16
Credits: 3
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • T
  • 1300-1500
  • SL268
01/24/2023 04/25/2023
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

In this course, we will examine the ways in which poverty in the United States is defined, represented, and regulated by legal and literary texts. Our main objectives will to be to develop an understanding of the myriad ways in which law and legal doctrine interact with the lives of those who exist on the economic margins of our culture. We will explore historical and contemporary perspectives on the meaning of poverty and what counts as poverty law and the legislative policies that govern it. As important, we will consider those aspects of poverty and its regulation that elude law or, more prosaically, that cannot be reduced to legal concepts. Readings will include a variety of texts, including cases, statutes, novels, short stories, films, and theoretical articles. Through these texts, we will explore such topics as federal and state support for impoverished families, the regulation of access to work, the criminal regulation of the lives of the poor, the proper role for lawyers in meeting the legal needs of indigent people. Moreover, we will examine the overlapping, sometimes contradictory, ideologies that construct representations of the "culture of poverty" in contemporary society.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Over the course of the semester, each student will write three 6-to-8 page papers (submitted directly to instructor, not via EXPO). Deadlines to be announced.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, April 21, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, April 30, 11:59 PM