In my own experience as a sociology student, teaching was most effective—and most transformative—to the extent that it encouraged me to make connections between my own experiences and observations of the world and the course material. The feeling of making those connections and beginning to see my world in a new way was a truly genuine learning experience, as it instilled in me not only new knowledge, but a heightened curiosity and passion for knowledge, not only new facts and concepts, but new tools for evaluating empirical evidence and a critical stance towards the world—and towards my own assumptions. This, above all, is what I want for my students: to help them connect their lives with sociological theories and findings and to locate their own experiences, struggles, and privileges within broader social forces. Whether they are a Sociology major or my course is their only exposure to Sociology, I strive to make sure students leave my class with a sharper sociological imagination and a greater understanding of, and compassion for, people with experiences of the world very different from their own.
Social Issues in America (SOC 150B): This course explores some of the most critical social problems in the contemporary United States and exposes students to diverse perspectives on the causes, dynamics, and consequences of these social problems. In addition to gaining a greater understanding of specific social problems, students will hone the ability to critically examine arguments and evidence and to connect broad social problems with their own experiences and observations of the world around them.
Social Movements (SOC 313): From the civil rights movements of the 1960s to Occupy Wall Street, people have come together and worked outside of convention political challenges (e.g. voting) to push for social change. This course explores the causes, dynamics, and outcomes of these social movements.
Explaining Deviance (SOC 447): This course explores what it means for society to brand an act or a person as “deviant,” ranging from mild breaches of social norms to fetishes and illegal activities. Why are some acts or people defined as deviant and not others? How and why does this vary across time and place? How does one become involved in deviant acts or come totake on a deviant identity? How is the stigma of being "deviant" managed? These are some of the questions this course explores.