4 Sep ’14
My research focuses on poverty and homelessness, which as it turns out is a very broad topic. I decided to compare the issue of poverty in the United States and in Sri Lanka to see how it plays out differently in two very different countries, one being a developed country (USA) and one classified as being in the Global South (Sri Lanka).
At the beginning of my research, I intended on comparing how these two countries approach the issues of poverty and homelessness. Specific areas I would research included the rates of poverty/homelessness, major causes, social attitude towards those living with these issues, relief programs, what has worked to alleviate the issues, and what hasn’t worked.
The further I got into my research, I realized that I needed to narrow my focus a bit, as there are many, many causes of poverty, each with resulting sub-issues and programs. An example would be job loss, drug or alcohol addiction, poor economies, and a lack of education. Each of these subjects has their own causes and resulting consequences, making the scope of my research to broad and not well-defined.
After hearing Dr. Powell speak to the class about her work with displacement and studying displaced peoples, I decided that a good unifying topic between both the United States and Sri Lanka is the history of displacement events within both countries, with a major one being natural disasters. I then decided to focus my research on how natural disasters affects poverty within these two countries. Even that proved to be too broad of a topic and I have since decided to focus only on natural disasters and their relation to homelessness, rather than poverty in general.
Before traveling, and during our time abroad, I have concluded that I will narrow my research to study the differences between how natural disasters affect homelessness using Hurricane Katrina in the United States and the 2004 Asian Tsunami for Sri Lanka. Upon doing some research, I have already realized that the tsunami was a much larger disaster than Hurricane Katrina, resulting in a much wider range of areas affected, and larger rates of death, damage, economic expense, and homelessness. This is something that I will take into account when compiling my research, as it is important to note that programs and relief efforts will differ based on the scope and level of disaster that occurred.
I originally wanted to portray my research through a creative context such as a photojournal. Even at the time of my original proposal, I knew that a photojournal would be a difficult medium to display this type of research. I am going to consider new options, but would still like to use a less conventional method of presenting.