Potential Readings for the Class Participation Assignment

(You are free to suggest other candidates. There are many excellent choices not listed here.)

Note: MM stands for Mass Market - books you can pick up at a book store of decent size, the rest are more academic and will require a bit more time to get through

General Development

* Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen (MM)

* The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists Adventure and Misadventures in the Tropics, William Easterly - for those who are interested in economic models of growth and how they have been used and abused in certain development agencies

* Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, James C. Scott (many of the chapters function as case studies. It's a dense book, so perhaps read one of these chapters and the introduction)

* Africa Unchained: A Blueprint for Africa's Future, George Ayittey - a Ghanaian Economist advocates for economic development that builds upon indigenous models. Singles out African elites and politicians for most of the blame for the continents problems. (MM)

Rethinking Poverty and Development

* Whose Reality Counts: Putting the First Last, Robert Chambers

* From the Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics (1981), Manfred Max-Neef - a response to Schumacher who wrote Small is Beautiful. This book may be a good choice if you are interested in the South America region and Chile in particular.

* Human Scale Development (1991) also by Max-Neef (see above)

Histories of Growth, Change, and Conquest

* India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age, Gurcharan Das (MM)

* King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild - historical account of exploration (and consequent exploitation) of the Congo as funded and encouraged by King Leopold II of Belgium (MM)

Capital and Finance

* The Mystery of Capital, Hernando De Soto - about informal land ownership among the poor and the limitations they face in leveraging this asset. (MM)

* Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, Muhammed Yunus - founder of Grameen Bank and innovator of microfinance starting in Bangladesh and moving out from there. (MM)


* The Invisible Cure: Africa, The West, and the Fight Against Aids, Helen Epstein (MM)

* Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder - a richly detailed account about the efforts of Paul Farmer (doctor and anthropologist) to provide health care in rural Haiti. Although certainly in the old storytelling model of 'heroic Westerner' rescuing the non-Western poor. (MM)

* Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, Paul Farmer - "studies of the pathogenic effects of poverty and other grim social conditions."

Agriculture and Famine

* Priests and Programmers: Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Bali, Stephen Lansing - a dense anthropological text. For those interested in agriculture and the 'Green Revolution.'

* The Great Hunger: Ireland: 1845-1849, by Cecil B.F. Woodham-Smith - thinking beyond poverty as mapping to the division between northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. (MM)

* Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, Amartya Sen

* Violence of the Green Revolution, Vandana Shiva (MM)

History and Philosophy of Technology

* Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, Schumacher (MM)

* 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Charles Mann - an account of a few civilizations and their technologies that existed in the Americas before European settlers. How this became erased and forgotten (and later recovered). (MM)

* Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond (MM)

* The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900, David Edgerton - a book that challenges conventional thinking about the important technologies that have emerged in the past 100+ years. Does not address issues of poverty directly. (MM)

* Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation, Donald E. Stokes - about the distinction between basic and applied research. I good complement to the Kammen reading. Not explicitly about poverty. (MM)

Cities and City Planning

* The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, Stephen Johnson - about urban poverty, class divisions and how they relate to perceptions of disease. The story of how a doctor solved the mystery of cholera and how it was spread in London in the mid-1800s. (MM)

* Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A Urban New World, Robert Neuwirth - for those interested in urban poverty, cities, and city planning (MM)

* Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, Suketu Mehta - Pulitzer prize nominated (MM)

Environmentalism and Ecological Sustainability

* Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, Vandana Shiva (MM)

* Unbowed: A Memoir, Wangari Maathai - Green Belt movement founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner (MM)

* Natural Capitalism, Paul Hawken (MM)

Autobiographical or Biographical Accounts

* Hustling is Not Stealing: Stories of an African Bar Girl, John Chernoff

* Exchange is Not Robbery: More Stories of an African Bar Girl, John Chernoff

* God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir, John Bul Dau - a personal account of a Sudanese 'Lost Boy' (MM)

* The Shadow of the Sun, Ryszard Kapuscinski - an account of events across the African continent from the perspective of a Polish journalist whose been traveling and living there since 1957 (MM)

Poverty and Social Movements

* Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken (MM)

* Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, James C. Scott