Summary & Philosophy
My teaching pedagogy centers around four core methods to help students develop a sociological way of thinking about the world: creating an inclusive classroom; facilitating intellectual risk-taking; engaging students through questions; and teaching students how knowledge is produced. As a scholar of knowledge, I have a great interest in teaching my students about the process through which the research they are studying was produced. As bell hooks writes, "Education can only be liberatory when everyone claims knowledge as a field in which we all labor." Together, we interrogate the outcomes of the research studies we read, question whether the methods are sufficient to justify the results, and evaluate the logic of the arguments. To support all to participate in this process, I demand a lot from my students but also aim to create a space for identity safety in the classroom so that students can feel comfortable taking intellectual risks.
Explore below to see syllabi, activities, lesson plans, and rubrics for courses I have designed.
Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy
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Over the last quarter century, inequality in America has increased substantially. Why has this happened, and what can be done about it? This course examines the causes and consequences of U.S. poverty and inequality, and explores strategies for addressing it.
The course will begin by surveying the basic features of poverty, income and wealth inequality, and economic mobility in the 21st century. We cover the major theoretical explanations scholars have advanced to explain the persistence of poverty and inequality including labor markets, family structure, healthcare, and the criminal justice system. Students are introduced to a range of interventions and policy instruments aimed at alleviating poverty and inequality: income support programs, progressive taxation, and education. Students will engage in different forms of policy relevant writing and discussion, including debates, policy memoranda, and letters to policymakers.
Gender is a central organizing principle in social relations, giving rise to institutional and social practices that distinguish between men and women on the basis of apparent difference and inequality. This course develops the sociological analysis of gender systems in contemporary American society. In this course, we will critically examine the multiple ways that gender structures the social world in which we live. We will highlight social practices at multiple levels of analysis, including biological and socialization processes at the individual level. Next, we will explore how gender shapes the interactions between and among women and men, creating and recreating gender. We will then use this multilevel framework to examine the workings of gender in the American workplace and as individuals balance work and family obligations. Finally, we will conclude by considering the possibilities of a “degendered” or less-gendered society. The central goal throughout the course is to understand how gender roles and attitudes shape social structure, and how gender inequalities are maintained in everyday social situations.
This course provides students with an understanding of qualitative methods for social research by focusing on (1) a selection of qualitative methods and techniques in sociology; (2) considerations for carrying out high-quality qualitative research; and (3) a review of classical and contemporary sociological works employing qualitative methods. Students gain hands-on experience by producing a qualitative research project.
I have structured the course to scaffold building up the final research project through a series of nine small assignments that students complete individually or in groups throughout the term. These range from interview transcriptions to reflective memos. Every assignment builds toward the final research product.