TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

My approach to undergraduate teaching rests on the idea that students learn sociological concepts, theories, and research methods best through active engagement with material that is made applicable to their everyday lives. I structure my courses around a variety of assignments that complement my teaching goals. I vary the format of class time, using small group activities and projects, structured classroom discussions, and guest speakers to complement the material that I present through mini-lectures. I also find incorporating media – including films, podcasts, video clips or blog pieces – serve as a catalyst for lively discussion and thoughtful written assignments. Students report this approach inspires real interest in the subject, and results in engaged learning.

COURSES

THE FAMILY

Course Description: This course examines how sociologists’ study families and the varied meanings, needs and functions of families as seen across time and place. We begin by studying the history of families and meanings that exist around what constitutes family. Next we consider varied formations that contemporary families take, moving into a discussion of intimate relationships and marriage as one point around which some families form. From there we examine various modes and approaches to the reproduction of future generations. We then consider dynamics and experiences of parents and children, ending the course by considering how families form, transform, or end, across the life course. Throughout the class we pay particular attention to how gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexuality, shape family life. We examine how notions of families are tied to inequalities that are created and recreated through various social institutions such as schools, work, media and the state. The primary focus of the course is to examine how contemporary families are studied, and the connection between families and inequalities.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

Course Description: This class introduces you to research design in sociology. We start by considering the types of questions relevant for sociological inquiry and the relevant method for data collection. We examine a range of approaches for collecting sociological data including interviews, observations, field methods, and surveys. This course introduces the strengths and drawbacks of these research methods, while learning to assess reliability and validity of data. We consider  ethical concerns that arise through social science research, while learning to situate studies within existing scholarship. We trace the steps of research design, from sampling, coding, and analysis, to the reporting of findings. A primary course theme is the connection between power and knowledge production. For example, what is the relationship between the research questions being asked and their impact on those being studied? We close the course by exploring various ways that sociologists’ report research, and how this is shaped by the intended audience.

RACE, GENDER, CLASS, AND ETHNICITY

Course Description: This course explores how sociologists’ study social inequalities related to race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. We begin by exploring how these identities are experienced in people’s everyday lives. Next, we examine how these identities are constructed and maintained through dominant institutions, from families, schools, and workplaces, to the media, and state. We close out the course by considering creative solutions that work to end inequalities as seen through resistance and social change efforts. Throughout we will explore the significance of these categories within the different contexts of our lives.

GENDER & WRITING 

Course Description: This course develops students writing through developing their ability to articulate complex sociological ideas and concepts in clear and persuasive writing. By learning to frame written work for varied audiences, including academics and non-academics, students develop communication skills that prepare them for a range of careers. They develop these skills through the sociological study of gender. The course begins with an examination of prominent sociological gender theory, before moving through five topical areas within the field: (1) bodies, identities, and culture, (2) families and intimate relationships, (3) work and employment, (4) social control and violence, and (5) politics and social change. Across units, we pay particular attention to ways that gender intersects with other locations and identities such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and citizenship. We examine how gender is socially constructed, and how meanings have changed over time, within the United States and transnationally. This includes considering important developments within the field related to transgender and masculinity studies.

COURSES ASSISTED

Gender and Difference, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies 

Gender and Asian America, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies

The Family, Sociology Department

Introduction to Sociology, Sociology Department

Social Class Inequality, Sociology Department

Race, Gender, Class & Ethnicity, Sociology Department