Teaching

Here are a few examples of syllabi I developed for courses that I have taught over the years, many of them at Fordham University. Other academics are welcome to use or adapt these as they see fit. Unless otherwise notes, these were developed as Undergraduate Liberal Arts courses for a relatively small class size (15-35 students).

Political Science

Course Description

The aim of this course is twofold. First, to introduce students to the field of political science and studying politics more generally. Secondly, to help students develop the ability to understand and analyze how different issues—power, identity, race, ethics and the media, to name just a few—are thought about, discussed and studied within political science and popular culture more generally. Some of the questions we will explore include: What does it mean to study politics? What is the role of power in shaping how people think about politics? How has our understanding of what is “political” changed over time? What is the role of public opinion and public policy in shaping politic discourse, and how much information does the public need in order to evaluate government decisions? What is the role of the state in an increasingly globalized world? Is liberal democracy the best form of politics?

Course Description

The aim of this course is twofold. First, to introduce students to the four main sub-fields within the discipline of political science: political theory, international relations (IR)/global politics, comparative politics and American politics. Secondly, to help students develop the ability to understand and analyze how different issues—power, identity, justice and media, to name a few—are thought about and discussed within these four fields, as well as in popular culture more generally. Some of the questions we will explore include: What does it mean to study politics? What is the role of power in shaping how people think about politics? How has our understanding of what is “political” changed over time? What is the role of public opinion and public policy in shaping politic discourse, and how much information does the public need in order to evaluate government decisions? What is the role of the state in an increasingly globalized world? Is liberal democracy the end of history?

Course Description

The aim of this course is twofold. First, to introduce students to the basics of critical reading, writing, thinking and presentation in relation to contemporary political issues. Secondly, to help students develop the ability to understand and analyze how different issues—power, identity, justice and the media, to name just a few—inform and shape our views of politics and the world. Some of the questions we will explore include: What does it mean to study politics? What is the role of power in shaping how people think about politics? How has our understanding of what is “political” changed over time? What is the role of public opinion and public policy in shaping political discourse, and how much information does the public need in order to evaluate government decisions? What is
the role of the state in an increasingly globalized world? What would an Obama or Romney victory mean for the future of America? What led to the 2008 Economic Crash, and will it happen again? (*One section was developed for the 2012 election, so this section would need updating based on current politics.)

Environmental Politics

Course Description

The aim of this course is to explore the emergence of environmental politics as a field of study. To do this, we will be looking at the rise of environmental discourses and awareness from 1970 onward, and asking how our understanding of environmental challenges and laws has been shaped by past and current events. This journey will take us from the oil fields and waterways of America to those walking the halls of power from Congress to the White House. We will look at who makes environmental law, what shapes those policies, and who has power in deciding what gets passed and what gets blocked. Some of the questions we will explore include: How did the environment come to be a political issue,
and how does this history shape our views today? What led to the proliferation of environmental discourses and laws in the 1970’s? How did these discourses change over time, and what factors led to these changes? What is the role of public opinion and public policy in shaping environmental politics, and how much information does the public need in order to evaluate government decisions? (*Note: The last portion of this class focused on engaging students with an environmental case study in New York, and would need to be updated with a new case.)

Social Justice

Course Description

The aim of this course is twofold. First, to introduce students to the study of race and ethnicity within the field of political science by exploring how the terms “race” and “ethnicity” are used by different scholars. As we will see, neither term is as simple as it might first appear. We will explore some of the different ways that these two concepts have evolved and changed over time in the United States, as well as how conceptions of culture, nationality, language and identity have influenced these terms. Secondly, this course aims to challenge students to engage honestly and openly with the often contentious and politically explosive issue of race politics and racial discrimination in America. Some of the issues we will explore include: What it means to say race is a social construct. What distinguishes race from ethnicity. How our understanding of “race” has changed over time. How immigrants shaped America’s racial and ethnic identity. Why a colorblind society is problematic. How white privilege and white supremacy continue to shape American society. Current racial trends in education, housing, employment and the criminal justice system. How theories of intersectionality can help expose institutional racism and complicity. And finally, how to develop anti-racist politics.