Pedagogy

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

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.

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. 

 
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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.

Courses I Have Assisted

The Politics of Good and Evil
Dr. William Connolly

This class is organized around “elemental theory,” in which diverse existential stories about good and evil interrupt each other. Since each of us is already imbued with an existential orientation, such juxtapositions can both advance thinking and periodically foment anxiety. Evil, perhaps, is partly rooted in thoughtlessness. We will explore the politics surrounding good and evil through readings by Sophocles, Augustine, Voltaire, Nietzsche, and William James, among others.

Classics of Political Thought: Virtue, Labor, Power
Dr. Samuel Chambers

The history of political thought is long, complicated, and, overall, proves to be of great importance both politically and philosophically. Sometimes, however, it can prove to be quite boring and dry as well. But that history contains a significant number of amazing texts―texts that speak not just to their historical context but to ours as well. This is not a class in the history of political thought. Instead, it is an opportunity for a selective, circumscribed, but very focused engagement with some of the most powerful and provocative texts in that history. We will read selections from six thinkers (Plato, Machiavelli, Locke, Marx, Nietzsche, and Foucault), focusing on three themes (Virtue, Labor, and Power). These texts have all profoundly shaped the way we think about politics, and they are texts that resonate with our own political problematics today.

Introduction to International Studies
Dr. Siba Grovogui

This course is an orientation course for future majors in International Studies. It has three main objectives. The first is to provide you with cross-disciplinary perspectives on complex problems arising from the international arena in the era of globalization. The second is to provide you with the linguistic, regional, and/or functional tools for research on particular issues of internationalization and globalization. The third is to give you the analytical and methodological resources to relate your objects and places of concerns or interest to the larger global context. To work toward these objectives, we will explore a selection of issues in International Studies: Peace and Security, International Trade and Development Studies, Transnational Flows, and Global Environment.