I design my courses so that students become the drivers of their education in politics. To that end, I: generate interest in the course themes by examining the personal dimensions of political issues; cultivate a safe space by being forthcoming with my own experiences to show how academic inquiry and personal life may enrich each other; and work closely with students in the design of their own research projects. My courses develop intersectional analyses of political life by engaging theory, case studies, and a variety genres, such as the novel, poetry, and film. Students continue this interdisciplinary work in assignments that call for analysis and creativity; they select the form of their research projects, such as research papers, music, performances, and public art installations, based on what would best enact their ideas. Through my courses, students learn to connect theory and practice, explain the nuances of different types of texts, and become leaders of an education that combines intellectual and personal growth.
Courses I Have Offered
Modern Political Thought
What does it mean to be human when the planet may no longer sustain human life? This course on modern political thought explores relationships between humanity and ecology. It engages the ecological implications of anthropocentrism in its intersections with capitalism and colonialism with an emphasis on race, gender, sexuality, and indigeneity. It also considers nonanthropocentric imaginations of the human. The course examines the human through African American studies, anthropology, eco-feminism, environmental humanities, indigenous and settler colonial studies, multispecies studies, new materialism, philosophy, and queer theory.
Poetics and Politics of Sex: Intimacy and Its Discontents
What happens when politics authorizes certain forms of intimacy but not others? Where might one turn for intimacy if its available forms are dissatisfying? This course explores monogamy, family, and intimate publics across issues of ambivalence, trauma, queerness, war, and longing. It also explores intimacy through different genres, such as poems, aphorisms, novellas, and essays.
American Political Thought
This course aims to develop an understanding of American political life from the margins. Rather than surveying traditional figures of American Political Thought, it attends to historically marginalized voices at the crossings of race, gender, sexuality, and nation. It explores issues such as intersectionality, antiblack racism and the American Dream, ordinary life, borderlands and migration, public feelings, mental health, and settler colonialism. The materials we examine also exceed the usual genres of American Political Thought. They include, among other things, poems, an ethnography, academic articles, a novel, and a hacked tarot card set.
Impasse Matters: The Politics of Unmaking Lives
How might we understand situations wherein letting go of hopes, relationships, and attachments is so hard or painful that we cling to them and risk being destroyed? What might we do so that the unmaking of our lives becomes preferable to keeping a damaging one? This course explores such impasse matters, where political and personal life meet in struggles to endure, change, and thrive.
The Bad Good Life: Cruel Optimisms, Bad Romances, and Other Political Depressions
What if the good life that we desire turns out to be bad? This course explores the intersection of personal and political life when our hopes are damaging to ourselves and to others. Topics covered include: optimism, the American Dream, antiblack racisms, depression, intimacy, heteronormativity and homonormativity, queer survival, ecological crises, and the end of the world.