My primary objective in the classroom is to challenge students to think critically about their own positionality as political and economic actors within a profoundly complex world. Understanding that political science majors often see themselves as headed for positions in government, business, law, and the non-profit sector, my goal in the classroom is to help students develop the skills to better understand the fundamental and intractable complexity defining the world in which we live. By helping students “problematize the world” I encourage them to arrive at a deeper understanding of the fierce contestations that exist over how political actors frame the problems (and possible solutions) defining our collective social, political, and economic life.
For example, my seminar “Politics and Theories of African Decolonization” is premised on the fact that writers from African anticolonial struggles constitute a body of work essential to understanding the colonial present. The class therefore devotes an entire semester to studying a body of intellectual work that, within the Western academy, is often marginalized as only relevant to “African politics.” We instead read these texts—many fairly epistemically strange and politically challenging to Trinity students—as texts indispensable for understanding contemporary world politics. In doing so, students develop a deeper understanding both of how little they know about the world, but also about the richness of its many engagements.
I combine these efforts to disorient students within a complex and multi-perspectival world with courses that demand that the immediately present also receive critical and scholarly attention. In my “World Economy of Higher Education” class, for example, I introduce students to the Watkinson Archives to examine Trinity College handbooks spanning nearly two hundred years. Students then conduct their own archival work in which they examine Trinity College as itself a complicated institution, in which the past still very much shapes our many presents, and possible futures.
Below are a list of classes I teach/have taught. Syllabi and teaching materials available upon request.
Deviant Capitalisms (2019), first-year seminar
International Relations (2013), introductory lecture
International Political Economy (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019), upper-level
The Politics of Africa (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020), upper-level
Slavery, Property, Piracy (2014, 2015), first-year seminar
Theories of International Political Economy (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020), sophomore/junior seminar
Theory and Politics of African Decolonization (2015, 2017, 2019), sophomore/junior seminar
Understanding Conflict in Africa (2017, 2018, 2019), introductory/thematic lecture
The World Economy of Higher Education (2016, 2017, 2019), upper-level
Johns Hopkins University
The Worlds of Globalization (2013), upper-level seminar
Africa and American Foreign Policy (2012), upper-level seminar
Introduction to International Political Economy (2012), introductory
Theories of International Political Economy (2011 & 2012), upper-level
Theorists of African National Liberation (2011), upper-level seminar
Theorizing Globalization from the Third World (2010), upper-level seminar
The Politics of Africa (2008 & 2009), upper-level seminar
University of Minnesota
International Relations (2008), upper-level lecture
International Conflict and Security (2007), upper-level lecture
Global Politics (2007), introductory lecture