As an educator, my teaching style centers on situated and experiential learning--a style that is, in fact, compatible with our evermore regular engagement with virtual worlds. I encourage students to begin to draw lines between the theories of social life and human history that we confront in the classroom and their daily lives. I bring two primary aims to my teaching: first, I want students to understand how the topics raised in our class can help them to identify and develop their own social, political, and intellectual agendas. Together, we evaluate the merits of questions and arguments through the cultivation of three key practices: judicious appreciation, constructive dissent, and generous critique. Second, I want to guide students toward becoming confident communicators and sophisticated thinkers by meeting them on their own terms but maintaining high (yet, achievable) expectations. In turn, I expect my students to hold me to an equally high standard.
SAMPLE of OTHER PREPARED COURSES
REVEALING PEOPLE'S PASTS: AN INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY
Of all of the ways that we have devised to explore our pasts, archaeology remains unique in its emphasis on the mundane detritus of human life. What can our trash or our abandoned and ruined places offer us with regard to how we understand where we come from and what it is to be human in this world? What is at stake in such explorations? This class will begin by taking to task the notion of ‘the past’ and the idea of ‘pastness’. It will then consider how archaeology can be a useful mechanism for exploring this notion called the past. Finally, we will interrogate the ways in which the past becomes present through the collective construction of cultural heritage. By the course’s end, students will have learned to think archaeologically, gaining an understanding of how scholars construct the past, how they use scientific methods to explore it, and how those discoveries become socialized and politicized in our modern lives. Key texts include Wilkie (2016) Strung Out on Archaeology, Orser (2015) Archaeological Thinking, Johnson (2014) Lives in Ruins, and popular media from sources like SAPIENS.
(for undergraduate majors/graduate students)
This seminar explores how the myriad “alternative archaeologies” that have emerged over the past two decades articulate with one another toward the project of making archaeology relevant, ethics-conscious, change-effective, and self-/society-critical. This class interrogates what coupling archaeology with heritage, activism, feminism, and decolonialism frameworks offers and represents within the discipline writ large. It then introduces the notion of “coalitional archaeologies”—an approach that seeks to draw out the strengths of these intellectual and pragmatic approaches to be assembled under a single, though not consensus-seeking, rubric. Our job in this course will be to grapple with what the purpose of archaeology ought to be and what kinds of approaches might meet those ends. We will engage literature from across anthropology and critical feminist studies in order to arrive at a provisional definition of what “coalitional archaeologies” for the future might look like. Key texts include Battle-Baptiste (2011) Black Feminist Archaeology, Lydon and Rizvi (2010) Handbook of Postcolonial Archaeology, and Atalay et al (2016) Transforming Archaeology.
RACE, INDIGENEITY, & GENDER IN LATIN AMERICA
(for advanced undergraduate/graduate students)
As a geopolitical space characterized by the colonial processes set in motion in the late 15th century, racial formation in Latin America shares some commonalities with other (post)colonial regions of the world while diverging significantly in others. At the center of this discourse lies the opposition between the figures of the indigenous and the colonizer. This course explores racial thinking in Latin America and the realities of racism, inequality, and sociopolitical exclusion it engenders. We will progress semi-chronologically in order to establish some of the foundations of racial thinking in the region and how those have variously translated into post-Independence nation-building initiatives, figured at the center of revolution, and reemerged in the contemporary moment as central to the ways in which Latin America is characterized by its counterparts in the so-called "Global North." Key texts include Graham (1990) The Idea of Race in Latin America, Stepan (1991) The Hour of Eugenics, Suárez Findley (2000) Imposing Decency, Applebaum et al (2003) Race and Nation in Modern Latin America, Jackson (2012) Creole Indigeniety, Smith (2016) Afro-Paradise, and Castellanos (2017) Settler Colonialism in Latin America.