To solve a problem we first need to describe it. I help my students understand and practice different approaches to problem solving, including political theory and social scientific methodologies.
I’m committed to a democratic classroom: I aim to create and sustain a democratic learning community that is sensitive to diverse learning styles, skills and abilities. I emphasize individual and collective goal setting, and we conduct peer and self-assessment to promote and reward improvement.
In 2022, I won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at Temple University; in 2017 the Eleanor Hofkin Award for Excellence in Teaching at Temple University; in 2004, I won the Dr. Brenda Phaehler Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here are the courses in my current teaching portfolio:
Feminist and Queer Studies
- Description: This course offers an advanced introduction to students interested in the interdisciplinary field of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies as well as in applying feminist and queer methods of research, analysis and practice in their own disciplines and professional development. This is a rigorous graduate course designed for Ph.D. and M.A. students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.
Discrimination and the Law
- Description: Discrimination, the act of drawing distinctions, looms large in our social judgments and interactions. When is discrimination harmful? And what role should law play in addressing such harm? We will examine various definitions of discrimination in light of a wide array and intersection of social identifications, such as religion, race, sex and gender, sexual orientation, physical and intellectual ability, gender identity, and criminal history.
African American Political Thought
- Description: What philosophical claims have shaped, and continue to shape black political practice in the United States? How have blacks living in the U.S. responded to political theories such as liberalism, conservatism, feminism, Marxism, nationalism, and queer theory? We will explore how social categories such as class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, and geographical location intersect with black identities and black political thinking.
Perspectives on LGBTQ Politics
- Description: This seminar focuses on political activism, both formal and informal, elite and grassroots, pertaining to LGBTQIA social identities. Most of our focus will be on the U.S., with an emphasis on the past twenty years. To better understand some of the distinct features of this political movement, we will spend some time learning about LGBTQ civil rights activism in other parts of the world. Together, we will analyze the successes and obstacles to building and sustaining a civil rights movement based on the identities under this umbrella term.
Political Theories of Justice
- Description: What is justice, and how does justice relate to the political theory concepts of rights, obligations, duties, virtues, freedoms, democracy, patriotism, citizenship, and political ideals? How do the utopian and dystopian visions of political society laid out by philosophers and popular culture help us explore political questions about political participation, the environment, the global order, and social identities such as gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, and disability?
Political Theory & Identity
- Description: What do identities such as race, sex, gender identity, class, religion, ethnicity, age, ability, ideology, geographical location and their intersections have to do with politics? What is and/or should be the relationship between individualism and group affiliation/classification? As we grapple with these questions, we will also explore identities not usually discussed under the rubric of “identity politics,” such as criminality, medical status, homelessness, family membership, and rebellion.
Politics of Identity
- Description: What does identity have to do with politics? Which theories (or models) best capture the relationship between personal and public conceptions of identities such as race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, age, and ability? How might we best portray the intersections that exist between and among such identities? Our ideas about “the political” will also come under scrutiny as we study formal political venues such as political representation, social movements, and law and public policymaking, as well as informal and emergent political realms such as popular culture and social media.
Introduction to Political Theory
- Description: Political theories relate to our political environment, and come in both descriptive and prescriptive forms. But what distinguishes our political environment from other aspects of our social world? Whether a government is monarchical, theocratic, democratic, or socialist is obviously a political matter. But other matters are less clear-cut such as the structure of families, the provision of health care, the promotion and cultivation of the arts, the psychological trauma of war, and our moral obligations to non-human animals and the natural environment. The course is based upon close readings of key political theory texts from ancient times to the 21st century.