i181 Technology and Poverty

Spring 2011


Assignment 1

Assignment 1 was handed out in class today.  Please consult the assignments page to download the assignment sheet, reading excerpts, and the corresponding questions and resources document for each excerpt.

Seeking Research Assistant

Interested in the use of mobile phones and laptops in Africa? I am a 5th year
PhD student in the School of Information looking for undergrad or masters
students to assist with the analysis of data collected during my
year-long field study of health facility usage of mobile phones and laptops in
Southwest Uganda.

Work will entail: Review of interviews, notes, log files and surveys,
tagging and cataloging of photos, Analysis and review of scanned electronic financial and medical documents. Ability to generate useful graphs a plus. Familiarity with LaTeX, python, php a plus. From this experience, you will have the opportunity to learn lots about how real Ugandan health workers use computers in their health facilties and how bulk SMS platforms perform in this Ugandan healthcare context.

If appropriate you may use work from this project towards coursework (e.g.
INFO 181), and/or get research credit.  I am willing to negotiate pay and hours.

E-mail Melissa Densmore at mho@ischool.berkeley.edu ASAP (by 2/11 at
latest) with a list of qualifications (resume, relevant coursework,
references, brief(!) statement of interest, etc).

Opportunity to publish

Interested in getting published? The Berkeley Human Rights review invites you to submit a manuscript for Volume II, Issue I of BHRR! Any topic pertaining to human rights issues will be considered.

The Berkeley Human Rights Review is looking to publish well-written and original scholarship on the topic of human rights. We are accepting submissions in two categories: scholarly articles or reviews of literature and film. Scholarly articles must be 12-15 doubled-spaced pages and reviews must be 4-6 double-spaced pages. Articles will be selected on the quality of the argument and the relevance of the articles discussion in relating a current issue of race/ethnicity to a human rights framework.

Submissions must be received by February 9th at 10:00 pm PST. For further instructions on submitting your paper, please check out our website at http://www.berkeleyhrr.com or contact berkeleyhrr@gmail.com. We look forward to reading your work and good luck!

West Coast launch of 2010 Human Development Report at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley will host the West Coast launch of the 2010 Human Development Report (HDR) on Wednesday, February 9th at 2:30PM. Please join us!

The HDR is the annual report of the U.N. Development Program; it tracks countries’ progress toward poverty alleviation and income equality. The 2010 Report introduces the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, as well as multi-dimensional measures of poverty and gender inequality.


Francisco Rodriguez, Economist, UNDP
Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley
Edward Miguel, Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley

Event details:

February 9th, 2011
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall
Sponsored by the Center of Evaluation for Global Action

Please register at http://cega.berkeley.edu/hdr2010

more information on the report, please visit http://hdr.undp.org/en/mediacentre/

Upcoming talk on campus

MONDAY January 24th

The Berkeley Sociology Colloquium Series
Spring 2011 Presents:

How Poverty Became Capital:
Millennial Modernity and its Discontents

Ananya Roy
Department of City and Regional Planning
University of California, Berkeley

The start of the new millennium has been marked by the emergence of a remarkable global conscience about poverty. In this talk, Ananya Roy examines the shift from the “end of history” to the “end of poverty.” In particular, she shows how experiments with “bottom billion capitalism” are central to millennial modernity and its frameworks of global liberalism.  The world’s bottom billion, now imagined as microentrepreneurs, constitute the new frontiers of global finance capital.  By focusing on a highly popular development technology, microfinance, Roy outlines how such bottom billion markets are constructed in various regions of the world. However, the enterprise of converting poverty into capital is fraught with contradictions.  Drawing on several years of ethnographic research conducted in the circuits of finance capital and in the circuits of expertise, Roy emphasizes the limits of such forms of subprime accumulation. From the World Bank to the Grameen Bank, from Citigroup to Hezbollah, she traces the counter-practices, contestations, and ruptures that haunt the making of millennial modernity.

Ananya Roy is Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches courses in the fields of comparative urban studies and international development.  Roy also serves as Co-Director of the Global Metropolitan Studies initiative and as Chair of the newly established undergraduate minor in Global Poverty and Practice.  Roy is the author of City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty and most recently of Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development. The research for the latter was funded by a National Science Foundation grant. She is currently completing a book, edited with Aihwa Ong, titled Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global.


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.