Skip to main content


InFocus - Scarcity: Poverty & Inequality


InFocus: Poverty & Inequality Co-Directors

Sonia Aziz 

Sonia Aziz

Dr. Aziz's most recent research involves work under the aegis of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Applied Earth Sciences. She is co-principal investigator of the NASA funded multi-year project “Socio-economic evaluation of multi-sensor remote sensing approach to predict cholera” which is ongoing through April 2018 under collaborative agreements with West Virginia University and the University of Maryland at College Park. She is currently an associate professor, and, as Co-Director of the Poverty & Inequality Center of Investigation at Moravian College, she coordinates multiple interdisciplinary research initiatives related to environmental and health issues. 

Heikki Lempa 

Heikki Lempa

Dr. Lempa's most current research involves, "Spaces of Recognition. Honor and Civil Society in Classical Germany, 1700-1914" explores, through a series of case studies, how the sense and practices of honor changed in Germany and how these changes were connected to the development of civil society from 1700 to 1914, and "Feelings Materialized. Emotions, Bodies, and Things in Modern Germany." My new research project probes the history of the German body in a global context, 1700-1914. As co-director of Poverty and Inequality InFocus he coordinates research initiatives related to global challenges using scarcity as a foundational framework.


What is Scarcity? Why Scarcity?

The focal point of investigation for 2019-2020 InFocus is Scarcity: Poverty and Inequality. To expand the scope of this area of study and to make it accessible to all disciplines, methodologies, and artistic fields of expression we have added a concept: scarcity. Why scarcity? The synonyms to scarcity are quite negative: “crunch, dearth, deficiency, deficit, drought, failure, famine, inadequacy, inadequateness, insufficiency, lack, lacuna, paucity, pinch, poverty, scantiness, scarceness, shortage, undersupply, want” (Webster online). But can scarcity also be something positive? Doesn’t minimalistic music play with scarcity? Doesn’t the Japanese poetry of haiku rest on the scarcity of words? Can scarcity also mean “simple” as in simple lifestyle? Poverty and inequality emerging from socially and economically defined solutions to scarcity. But scarcity is more than poverty and inequality. It can be the critique of scarcity; it can be the beauty of scarcity. We are interested in interdisciplinary aspects of scarcity through the lenses of the art, music, mathematics, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This academic year we invite you to explore how scarcity is embedded in our world, life, and current scholarly and artistic work.

As we embark on In Focus this year, our plan is to broadly focus on research and its applications with respect to the challenges of Poverty, Inequality, and Scarcity, both at home and abroad. We jumpstart the year with the first-year seminar faculty and students studying the book “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty” and bookend it with the In Focus conference and Town Hall in the spring, which highlights these and other focused studies on scarcity, poverty, and inequality.

In so doing we synthesize, integrate and subsequently leverage faculty member’s expertise; and use this opportunity to call attention to both the type of work that incoming students can expect to be a part of at Moravian College, and the type of work that epitomizes In Focus.

Dry, cracked land and silent water pump

INFOCUS: Poverty, Inequality, and Scarcity 2019-2020

The goal of IN FOCUS is for Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary to realize the promise of becoming known as an institution that engages its students in the study of important issues that challenge humanity today and as we look to the future. Through grappling with complex problems, and examining them from several different perspectives Moravian’s graduates will be better prepared to contribute to a just society and a vibrant democracy.

InFocus Highlights 2019-2020

InFocus symposium, Keynote speaker Eric Klinenberg

Moravian InFocus Symposium '20: Scarcity, Poverty and Inequality 

Wednesday and Thursday, April 22nd and 23rd, 2020
Virtual Format

Keynote Speaker Eric Klinenberg, author of the book, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, will be live streaming with Moravian College to share his research and answer questions. 

Moravian InFocus Symposium website

franca Roibal Fernández
Franca Roibal Fernandez, Visiting Instructor of Spanish Dept. of Modern Languages & Literatures
Town Hall course: “Immigration, Exile, and Internal Displacement in Latin American and Latino Literature”

InFocus Town Hall Spring '20 

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
6:00 pm Virtual Format

Fifteen courses representing diverse disciplines, and including over 200 students, will develop research projects that link the topic of each course with urgent questions and challenge areas of InFocus: War, Peacebuilding and the Just Society; Scarcity: Poverty and Inequality; Sustainability; Health and Health Care. On April 23rd, these students will come together to share their research and to hear and learn from one another, together with Moravian faculty and expert consultants from our wider community. Our InFocus Town Hall is part of the process of building knowledge that will help us address society’s greatest needs. 

Please feel free to view photographs of the 2019 InFocus Town Hall event: Town Hall 2019 Photographs

Elite Perceptions of Inequality in Mexico

Elite Perceptions of Inequality in Mexico by Dr. Alice Krozer

Thursday, February 27
5:00 pm UBC (HUB)

The History Department and InFocus invites you to the talk: Elite Perceptions of Inequality in Mexico by Dr. Alice Krozer El Colegio de México, Mexico City. Based on over 40 in-depth interviews with members of the Mexican elite, this presentation examines how the dissonance between elite perception and measured economic status matters for the social construction of inequality..

View Poster

"James Baldwin and the History of the Present" Tyrone Simpson, II, Ph.D.

"James Baldwin and the History of the Present" Tyrone Simpson, II, Ph.D. 

Wednesday, February 26, 4:30 p.m. UBC (HUB)
1119 Monocacy Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018

Africana Studies, Black Student Union, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, In Focus, and the Departments of English, Philosophy, and Political Science invite you to attend the talk: "James Baldwin and the History of the Present" Tyrone Simpson, II, Ph.D. Associate Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies Vassar College.

Dr. Simpson is the author of Ghetto Images in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Writing Apartheid (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2012)  

View Poster 

Scarcity as the Cause of Poverty and Inequality in the Era of Globalization: Assessing the Impact of the Tourist Gaze from Zanzibar, Tanzania to the Oregon Coast

Scarcity as the Cause of Poverty and Inequality in the Era of Globalization: Assessing the Impact of the Tourist Gaze from Zanzibar, Tanzania to the Oregon Coast 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
HUB Prosser Auditorium

Dr. Akbar Keshodkar, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Moravian College

View Poster

Charles Rojzman, Ph.D.  Learning to Live Together: Being Real and Facing Our Differences

Charles Rojzman, Ph.D. Learning to Live Together: Being Real and Facing Our Differences

Friday, November 8, 2019 6:00 p.m. 
Dana Lecture Hall/ Collier Hall of Science/ Room 204

Dr. Charles Rojzman leads people to come together, face our differences, and build community, as he has in Rwanda, Israel and around the world. 
Dr. Rojzman has written dozens of books, including: 
How to Live Together: A New Way of Dealing with Racism and Violence. 
Experiential Workshop Opportunities: Friday, November 8 3:00 pm -5:00 pm, 
Saturday, November 9, 9:00 am -12:00 pm, Saturday, November 9, 1 :00 pm -4:00 pm. Everyone Is Welcome!

View Poster

"Las Madres de Berks"  created by Michelle Angela Ortiz

"Las Madres de Berks" 
created by Michelle Angela Ortiz

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 6:30 p.m. 
Moravian College, Bahnson Center/Saal 

Las Madres de Berks" documentary shares the testimonials of four mothers 
that were detained for two years with their children at The Berks County Residential Center, a family prison in Pennsylvania. Talkback with Angela Ortiz and a representative from Shut Down Berks Coalition. 

View Poster

Telemedicine Program for Specialty Training of Doctors in Less-Resourced Countries

Telemedicine Program for Specialty Training of Doctors in Less-Resourced Countries

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:30 p.m. 
Moravian College, Collier Hall of Science Room 202 

Since 1999, despite wars and bureaucracy and myriad other difficulties, Sveti Jovan (St. John’s), originally a private charity surgical clinic founded in a house, has been developed into a full general hospital meeting many healthcare needs of the population in Zrenjanin, Serbia. Come hear and discuss the challenges of medical missions, technology, healthcare and service in our complicated world with 
scientist/philanthropist Thomas Cattabiani. 

View Poster

Privilege at play

"PRIVILEGE AT PLAY: Class, Race, Gender, and Golf in Mexico" by Dr. Hugo Ceron-Anaya

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. 
PPHAC Room 302 

Dr. Hugo Ceron-Anaya is an assistant professor of Sociology at Lehigh University. His work focuses on social inequalities and privilege; examining the notion of whiteness (within a Latin American context), perceptions of masculinity, and class dynamics impact affluent people's behavior.  He is particularly interested in the vast array of ordinary and everyday practices that reproduce privilege. 

View Poster

Science, Public Health, and Development in Colombia during the Cold War

Science, Public Health, and Development in Colombia During the Cold War

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 5:00 p.m. 
Moravian College, Haupert Union Building (UBC Room) 

Discussion with Dr. Stefan Pohl Valero 
The History Department with the support of Arts & Lectures invites you to the talk: Science, Public Health, and Development in Colombia during the Cold War by Dr. Stefan Pohl Valero from the Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia.

View Poster

Teatr Brama InFocus Kickoff

In Focus Kick-Off: Teatr Brama

Friday, September 27, 2019, 8:00 p.m. 

Visiting artists from the Polish theatre company Teatr Brama will share work related to Moravian’s InFocus theme of Poverty and Inequality. Members of the company will be artists in residence for three weeks in the Fall. This presentation is an opportunity for the community to experience Teatr Brama’s work and begin a year-long investigation of this important theme.

View Poster


Professor Sikand

Nandini Sikand, associate professor of film and media studies at Lafayette College

Join Dr. Joyce Hinnefeld and students in English 263: Writing as Activism for a screening of the film Inside/Outside

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
Prosser Auditorium

Inside/Outside (2019, 94 minutes) is a feature-length documentary film about women and mass incarceration in the United States as they struggle with the challenges of sexual assault, substance abuse and often, motherhood. Seen through the lens of a predominantly white, county jail in a rapidly gentrifying town in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, this film explores challenges the women face inside and outside jail. 


Poor Economics

2019 Summer Reading

Each year, the co-directors of the InFocus program select a book related to the upcoming year’s InFocus theme. All incoming first-year students are required to read the book and submit an assignment prior to their arrival on campus in the fall as part of the First Year Writing Seminar (FYWS) Program.

Over summer 2019, students were encouraged to read Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. Which is a non-fiction book by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both professors of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, focusing on poverty and inequality. POOR ECONOMICS argues that so much of anti-poverty policy has failed over the years because of an inadequate understanding of poverty. The battle against poverty can be won, but it will take patience, careful thinking and a willingness to learn from evidence. Banerjee and Duflo are practical visionaries whose meticulous work offers transformative potential for poor people anywhere, and is a vital guide to policy makers, philanthropists, activists and anyone else who cares about building a world without poverty.