I hope my classroom is a place for people to grow and that my students feel challenged, yet encouraged. If you are interested in taking a course with me and would like to learn more about it, please do not hesitate to email me. If you are a fellow teacher who teaches similar themes and would like to swap tactics, please reach out!
- GRADUATE SEMINARS: Civilians in Civil Conflict; Network Analysis
- UNDERGRADUATE COURSES: Descriptions below
The historical record is rich with cases in which individuals bound together collectively to challenge the status quo. These challenges are often about territorial jurisdiction, succession, natural resources, colonial legacies, or socio-political identities. In this realm of contentious politics, actors often resort to violence and force in order to achieve their goals. In some cases, these conflicts have been both liberating for some, and incredibly destructive for others, accounting for the deaths and displacement of millions. This course is an advanced introduction to the study of civil war and civil conflicts. As such, we will cover a wide range of regional cases throughout the globe including, but not limited to the criminal conflict in Mexico, intervention in El Salvador and Guatemala, African civil wars, and failed uprisings in the middle east. The course will enable students to analytically conceptualize civil conflicts as well as debate how to reduce violence in these regions. Finally, students will learn to develop original research questions and broaden their understanding of the causes, duration, and consequences of civil conflicts.
The Politics of Resistance through Film
This course is motivated by a long-standing question about human nature: why do people resort to violence to challenge the status quo? We will first examine arguments and case studies in the social sciences that seek to explain how individuals choose between violence and nonviolent action to achieve political goals. Next we will investigate the collective nature of violence and violent groups in contexts of contentious politics, revolutions, insurgencies, and civil war. We will then analyze these arguments and normative conceptualizations of conflict in the narrative form of film. Exposing students to normative conceptualizations of conflict presents an analytical challenge that requires students to apply critical thinking and social science perspectives to understand the implications and value of such narratives and visual representations. This course and the films we view will examine political violence through broader topics such as social movements and civil war as well as more specific themes such as the use of sexual violence in war and how to distinguish civil wars from political genocides.
Networks & Behavior
Everyone has heard of Social Networks-- Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have popularized this concept within the realm of social media. Yet, networks exist in many other important socio-political areas of life as well, including pop culture, international relations, social movements, modern work environments, conflict zones and more. Network analysis allows for a way to precisely conceptualize and measure the relations, or ties, between actors, or entities, in a given environment. This course introduces students to the study and tools of network analysis. In order to create network graphs and visualizations, students will learn entry-level programming skills. Students will leave the course with a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of today's world through studying a broad range of topics including but not limited to geography, psychology, gender, politics, race, public health, violence, climate and more. Currently, this course is offered as very fast 8-week course, ending with a poster session. See below for a few student examples from 2018's poster session!