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Poverty assistance expert to speak

Poverty assistance expert to speak


If current trends continue, social researcher Maggie Dickinson fears hundreds of thousands of Americans will go hungry.

Dickinson, whose recent Atlantic magazine article, “The Ripple Effects of Taking SNAP Benefits From One Person,” discusses potentially devastating fallout from a new Trump administration rule projected to cut nearly 700,000 people from government food assistance, will share her concerns at SUNY Cortland on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Her talk, on how the changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program illustrate a growing national food crisis and the abandonment of America’s food safety net, will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

The lecture continues the SUNY Cortland Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee’s (CICC) year-long series on “Debt,” a concept that will explore a wide range of issues spanning criminal justice, inequality, immigration and climate change.

The series of events are free and open to the public. To view a list of upcoming topics, visit the CICC’s calendar.

Dickinson, who ran a food-stamp outreach program in a Brooklyn soup kitchen and food pantry, is an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at Guttman Community College, City University of New York. She wrote Feeding the Crisis: Care and Abandonment in America’s Growing Food Safety Net (2018, University California Press).

Her research focus examines urban food systems, welfare policy, inequality and the politics of redistribution.

Dickinson’s recent Atlantic article highlights the trend she will discuss at Cortland. In it, she asserts that the coming SNAP cuts will make it harder for states to waive the federal program’s work requirements in areas of high unemployment, and target able-bodied adults without dependents. She said the rule will affect not only the targeted individuals but their families as well.

Last semester, students exhibited graphic designs on "Debt" in Old Main Colloquium, created in a class with Szilvia Kadas.

“The issues I saw in New York will play out nationally under the new cuts, and the Trump administration’s stated rationale — that able-bodied unemployed SNAP recipients should find jobs instead of depending on the government — obscures these consequences,” Dickinson said.

“It gives the impression that the program has to be protected from lazy, unemployed freeloaders while ignoring, say, the people caring for an elderly parent while out of work and the dads who are looking for work but still trying to make sure their kids have something to eat.”

The policy, Dickinson asserts, ignores the variety of “supportive family arrangements that exist across households and generations, particularly in low-income and queer communities. In this case, the result is more hunger and hardship for the members of low-income families who are doing their best to make sure everyone is cared for.”

The CICC’s “Debt” series will continue in Spring 2020 with the following events:

THURSDAY, FEB. 20. Stephanie Kelton as the keynote speaker also is a Founding Fellow of the Sanders’ Institute and author of a forthcoming book The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of a New Economy, which will be published by Public Affairs in 2020. Her research expertise is in Federal Reserve operations, fiscal policy, social security, international finance and employment policy. Kelton’s scholarship has been widely published in a range of academic and popular forums. She received her Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research and holds an M.Phil. in economics from Cambridge University. The talk on modern monetary theory and the policy proposals, including the Green New Deal, which this economic framework makes possible, runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 105.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10. David Fruend will lecture on the history of discriminatory lending practices in the U.S. and its role in perpetuating intergenerational inequality. Fruend, an associate professor of history at University of Maryland, will present from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. A specialist in the history of the modern United States, Fruend is the author of the 2008 book, Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America. The text was awarded the 2008 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the 2007 Kenneth Jackson Book Award from the Urban History Association and the 2009 Urban Affairs Association Best Book Award. Freund also has contributed to a number of public history, policy and documentary projects as well as receive grants and fellowships from organizations including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Graham Foundation for the Arts.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11. Joelle Leclaire will discuss macro-financial stability and household debt from the perspectives of American Post-Keynesian Economics, the Cambridge approach, and the Monetary Circuit School. The Buffalo State College academic will share his ideas from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12. Scott Ferguson will focus on the politics of care and the aesthetics of money when he returns to visit the campus again from University of South Florida. He will speak from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Ferguson’s research and pedagogy explore relations between political economy and aesthetics from a neochartalist perspective, specializing in the history of Western visual culture from Renaissance painting to the Hollywood blockbuster. His book Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics and the Politics of Care was published by University of Nebraska Press in 2018. He serves as a research scholar for the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, co-director of the Modern Money Network Humanities Division and co-host of the Money on the Left podcast.

THURSDAY, APRIL 9. Historical sociologist Jakob Feinig will address the topic of money creation from the perspective of popular knowledge and democratization as a means for delivering improved social outcomes. His presentation lasts from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Research by Feinig, who is on the faculty at Binghamton University, examines the intersection of money creation, electoral democracy and human rights. His work also looks at non-elite participation in North American money politics from the colonial period to the present. Feinig currently is writing a book titled The Moral Economy of Money, the first systematic long-term study of popular involvement in the monetary institutions of any country.

Featured Conversations in the Disciplines guests as well as Cortland faculty, staff and students are invited to contribute original works, which the committee plans to publish the collected works as a field guide under the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity’s ongoing book series under an agreement with publisher Palgrave-MacMillan. Last year, a field guide was published on the topic of Field Guide to Zombies and Surviving the Apocalypse. The institute is an independent public policy think-tank dedicated to the promotion of interdisciplinary research.

The “Debt” series programming is supported by a $5,000 grant from SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines, a program created to build connections between SUNY faculty and visiting faulty from non-SUNY institutions. The series is co-sponsored by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Office, the Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the Research and Sponsored Programs Office, the President’s Office and the Cortland College Foundation.

To submit an event, a Field Guide contribution, volunteer to support this year’s activities and programming, or for more information, contact organizer and Assistant Professor of Economics Benjamin Wilson at 607-753-2436. Stay current with the series news on Twitter at @SUNYCortCICC.