i181 Technology and Poverty

Spring 2011


Archive for the ‘announcement’ Category

Office Hours

Prof. Burrell will be having office hours during RRR week during our normal course meeting time – 11am-12:30pm (Tuesday and Thursday).  Her office is in South Hall room 312.


3 Units
Tu and Th: 11-12:30pm
202 South Hall

Professor Jenna Burrelljenna@ischool.berkeley.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 12:30-1:30pm, Room 312 South Hall

GSI: Janaki Srinivasanjanakis@ischool.berkeley.edu
Office Hours: Thursdays, 1-2pm, Room 107 South Hall


This course will encourage students to think broadly about the interplay between technological systems, social processes, economic activities, and political contingencies in efforts to alleviate poverty. Students will come to understand poverty not only in terms of high-level indicators, but from a ground-level perspective as ‘the poor’ experience and describe it for themselves. The role played by individuals and societies of the developing world as active agents in processes of technology adoption and use will be a central theme. Technology’s connection to socio-economic development efforts will be put into historical context by exposing students to several phases of intensive interest including the ‘green revolution,’ the push towards industrialization, the ‘appropriate technologies’ movement, and more recent interest in digital technologies.

Introductory material for the course will challenge students to think about exactly how ‘technology’ is defined and about the wide variation amongst devices/systems covered by the term. Course topics will be explored through a series of case studies that will be supplemented by cross-disciplinary readings. The use of illustrative case studies will make the course accessible to undergraduates with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. In our discussion of ‘information technologies’ we will explore several key form factors such as computers, the Internet, and mobile phones, and also the application of IT in broader practices such as micro-business and healthcare.