President Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we know it” in 1996 when he signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act into law. This significant and historical welfare reform fundamentally changed the federal safety net in the United States and abolished guaranteed aid for those in poverty. In this first-year seminar, we will use a sociological lens to investigate the causes and consequences of welfare reform, as well as the subsequent expansion of other antipoverty programs designed to help the working poor. We will consider a range of viewpoints that inform current policy debates. Topics will include the conceptualization and measurement of poverty, causes of poverty, public and political attitudes toward welfare and the role of the government, and the implementation and efficacy of antipoverty policies.