Teaching

Inside and outside the classroom, my teaching in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies is a horizontal practice: it is inclusive, collaborative, and experimental. From the course design to the evaluation stage, I foster an environment that empowers everyone to risk new ideas; build on each other’s propositions; and revisit, enrich, and alter prior views. Combining cooperative thinking with a pragmatic approach to writing across genres and styles, my teaching practice fosters critical, analytical, and compositional skills that serve students beyond a given course.

Please find below sample course descriptions.


Introduction to Fiction

100-level English course

Course Description

What is fiction? What are its essential components? What makes it good, pleasurable, or original? In this course, students familiarize themselves with critical habits for reading, interpreting, and writing about fiction. With the support of a technical vocabulary, notably introduced via contextual and analytical essays, students learn to recognize literary genres and close-read texts by drawing conclusions from patterns and singularities. They mull over the questions of judgment and taste that emerge in debates about the value of works of fiction. Finally, they attend to the questions raised and interventions made by texts along axes of sex, gender, race, nation, empire, and dis/ability.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Interpret works of fiction based on their conventions and particularities;
  2. Define and apply the lexicon of fiction criticism (e.g. genre, style, plot, narration, time, character, point of view, tone);
  3. Draw formal, thematic, and literary-historical connections between various works of fiction, such as epic poems, short stories, works of electronic literature, films, and of course various kinds of novels (e.g. satire, picaresque, science fiction, magical realism).

Introduction to Women and Gender Studies

100-level women and gender studies course

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to topics and methods in the field of women and gender studies. Students survey matters of gender, sex, sexual orientation, and sexual practices through a series of themes: gender 101; social and biological reproduction; race and ethnicity; empire, colony, and postcolony; and queer desire. As they explore these themes, students learn to map out how different groups, particularly but not exclusively in the 20th and 21st centuries, have foregrounded gender and sexuality in such political struggles as women’s liberation (and various waves of feminism), gay liberation, and trans liberation. Students apply methods in women’s and gender studies (e.g. intersectionality) to identify coalitions and fault lines between the aforementioned movements and Civil Rights, disability activism, and decolonization. Finally, students investigate how literary works (notably by Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Djuna Barnes, and Nella Larsen) register oppression and inequalities as well as figure feminist, queer, anti-colonial, and anti-racist relations.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Provide an account, using methods in women’s and gender studies, of key social, political, and cultural problems of gender, sex, sexual orientation, and sexual practices, particularly as they pertain to race, ethnicity, class, nationality, ability, and age;
  2. Chart political struggles articulated around issues of gender and sexuality across history (with a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries) and their connection to movements like Civil Rights, disability activism, and decolonization;
  3. Identify and interpret the ways aesthetic objects like literary works represent, reformulate, or complicate matters of gender and sexuality.

Literature, Media, and the Environment

200-level English or Environmental Studies course

Course Description

In this course, students survey the ways writers and media producers have imagined their relation to nature, the environment, and more recently ecology. Two modules compose the course. In the first one, students track the development of nature writing, environmental activism, and ecocriticism. Approaching two foundational texts (Thoreau’s Walden and Carson’s Silent Spring) in light of relevant critical scholarship, students assess the role of an aesthetic approach to nature, the environment, and ecology in articulating the interplay between rubrics like nationality, transnationality, globality, empire, and the planetary scale. The second module draws on the conceptual and historical baggage of the first one to consider a range of contemporary (1970s-today) aesthetic objects that explicitly address the category of ecology. Instead of applying predetermined definitions of aesthetics and ecology, students engage in media-specific analysis to flesh out the notions of ecology, aesthetics, and ecological aesthetics extractable from particular objects. Moving across experimental and narrative cinema, fiction and nonfiction prose, poetry, music, application softwares, and performance art, this module asks, one, how different aesthetic vehicles mediate our relation to pressing questions of ecological crisis and environmental degradation; two, what the role of aesthetics is in anchoring regional, national, and global ecological alliances and solidarities; and three, what ecology can teach us about aesthetics.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Map out the role of literature in shaping popular understandings of the environment in the transitions from nature writing to environmental awareness, to ecological aesthetics;
  2. Track the transformations of ecological politics and activism as they show up across media;
  3. Explain the stakes, from local to planetary, of studying and making art about the environment in the 21st century.

Imagining the Present in the Late 20th Century

300- or 400-level English course

Course Description

In the last decades of the 20th century, anxieties about the present—when it had begun, and whether it had a future—were especially visible in theory, criticism, journalism, and art. Many notions we still use today were invoked around that time in an effort to get a grasp of the present: neoliberalism, postmodernism, late capitalism, late liberalism, crisis time, deregulation, and end of history.

In this course, students familiarize themselves with the forces at play in shaping representations of history and the present at the end of the 20th century, including mythology, spirituality, theology, as well as nationality and transnationality. They also study the rhetorical and stylistic conventions of writing and making art about historical change and stasis. In their written assignments, students explore both scholarly and non-scholarly (e.g. journalistic) styles. Lastly, students reflect on the stakes of revisiting late-20th-century questions and debates in the 21st century.

Focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the United States, the course zooms in on three important nexuses for imagining history and the present: the social movements loosely associated with the 1960s (e.g. Civil Rights, feminism, the New Left, anti-war activism) and their afterlives; the end of the Cold War and the intensification of globalization discourses; and the AIDS crisis.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and demonstrate key rhetorical and formal aspects (what is said and how it is said) of late-20th-century writing about the present;
  2. Evaluate the aesthetic and historical significance of late-20th-century texts and films;
  3. Interpret and analyze late-20th-century fiction and nonfiction.

Life Writing and Sexuality

300- or 400-level English or Gender & Sexuality course

Course Description

This course investigates the interplay between autobiographical life writing (most broadly defined as a type of writing that takes the author’s own life as its main subject) and sexuality. How does autobiographical life writing render notions of gender, sexual orientation, and intimacy? And how do these notions, as they circulate across personal and public realms, in turn shape the rubric of autobiographical life writing?

Students in this course develop skills in the study of gender and sexuality as well as in literary criticism, conceptual, formal, and historical. They develop a critical lexicon for approaching the questions of truth, authenticity, factuality, and explicitness raised by the unfolding, in an autobiographical mode, of sexual, racial, ethnic, and dis/abled subjectivity. Students also learn to map out the political movements (e.g. feminism, gay liberation, trans* liberation), institutional pressures (e.g. scholarly and nonscholarly anthologies and canons, prizes and awards, book clubs, publishing and market imperatives), and media forces (e.g. blogging) at play in the production and consumption of life writing. Finally, students acquire analytical tools for tracking the ways prose and poetry about sexual identity, identification, and relationality test the limits of what counts as autobiographical life writing. Students have the option, for one of the two major assignments, of submitting a creative piece.

Readings combine autobiographical life writing with pertinent scholarship. While surveying relevant cases across history, the course mainly zooms in on English-language, North American works published since the mid-20th century. Primary texts encompass short- and long-form pieces, from bestselling tell-alls to works associated with various avant-gardes.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the different ways matters tied to life writing (truth, authenticity, factuality, and explicitness) and to sexuality (gender, sexual orientation, and intimacy) shape each other, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries;
  2. Chart the political and institutional forces that inform avant-garde and mainstream life writing about sexuality;
  3. Recognize and analyze or apply the thematic and formal conventions of life writing about sexuality.
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