I believe students can and have a desire to learn, and it is my job as a teacher to provide students with a safe space where they can learn and be challenged. They should be pushed to think critically, but not hazed. It is important to remember that students are individuals, each with a life outside of my classroom and a life outside of any classroom, and fostering a lifelong love of learning in students is more important than trying to cover as much information as possible in 16 weeks.
I believe learning happens best when students are allowed to exchange ideas, make mistakes, and come to conclusions for themselves. This encourages them to think critically rather than look to authority for answers.
In an ideal learning environment, I will evaluate students using assignments that encourage critical thinking, creativity, and practical application. In-class participation points should be supplemented by other forms of participation to account for students who may be timid in class.
Race, Science, and Race Science
Race science is the pseudoscientific process of using purportedly scientific methods to classify humans into biological racial groups. The use of race science ranges from the classic eugenics practice of measuring cranial capacity as a way of gauging the average intelligence of racial groups to the widespread belief among medical students that black people feel less pain to the increasingly mainstream practice of using genetic ancestry testing to identify one’s “true” race. This course will explore these topics and a wide variety of others. We will do this through paired readings of books and op-eds, where we read one of each from the same author, and in-class discussions culminating in a final research project where students will write their own op-ed and academic research paper. Along the way we will explore strategies for effective writing and hopefully leave the course with a deeper understanding of race and racism and the writing process
Racial and Ethnic Relations
This course will introduce students to the sociological study of race and ethnicity. It is designed to help students understand and learn to interrogate the origins and social production of race and racial inequality and how both continue to shape the world that we all live in. Topics will range from the multiplicative origins of the idea of race and racial classification to the breadth and depth of racial inequality and how even racial inequality is stratified further by skin shade to theories and speculations about the future of racial demographic change. This is an upper division course that has been designed to be collaborative and student led. Although I offer a scaffolding for the course and will serve as a guide and moderator, the specific directions of the learning will rely heavily on student input.
Masculinities in America
This course will survey masculinity in the United States. It will investigate its origins and development, its expressions (including in sports and pop culture, racial differences, regional differences, masculine women, LGBTQ, etc) and its problematic manifestations (including hegemonic masculinity, violence, sexual assault, health outcomes etc). By the end of the course, you should have an understanding of the ways that masculinity has shaped the lives and choices of men and women, boys and girls; you should be able to identify and question the taken-for-granted aspects of masculinity. It is also important to remember that this is a class on masculinity not on men. Though men may be the primary participants in masculine practices, women also perform and are affected by masculinity.
Introduction to the Study of Society
This course will introduce students to the sociological study of society. It is designed to help students understand the larger factors shaping social life and equip them with the tools to interrogate and comprehend the world around them. The course will introduce basic sociological concepts such as the relationship between the individual and society, the social construction of reality, and the causes and consequences of social inequality along with the methods sociologists use to examine these relationships. We will examine major topics in sociological research, including, but not limited to, inequality, mobility, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality. We will explore these topics through a combination of readings, lectures, in-class documentaries, and discussion sections. Most weeks will consist of one lecture, one in-class documentary, and a discussion section with a quiz.