As an educator, my teaching style centers around situated and experiential learning. I encourage students to begin to draw lines between the theories of social life and human history that we confront in the classroom and their daily lives. I bring two primary aims to my teaching: first, I want students to understand how the topics raised in our class can help them to identify and develop their own social, political, and intellectual agendas. Together, we evaluate the merits of questions and arguments through the cultivation of three key practices: judicious appreciation, constructive dissent, and generous critique. Second, I want to guide students toward becoming confident communicators and sophisticated thinkers by meeting them on their own terms but maintaining high (yet, achievable) expectations. In turn, I expect my students to hold me to an equally high standard.
Princeton, Spring 2020
This course contends with how shared histories are collectively made and remade in contemporary society. We will interrogate the meaning of history, memory, heritage, and "the past." What is at stake in how we represent the past? What do we mean when we make a claim on history as "ours"? What role do museums, monuments, and memorials play in the formation and maintenance of collective identities? Can practices like public history and archaeology promote collective healing? Key texts include the Equal Justice Initiative's (2016) Lynching in America report, Colwell (2017) Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits, Olivier (2011) The Dark Abyss of Time, and Olick (2011) The Collective Memory Reader.
Princeton, Fall 2019
What does it mean to be indigenous? What is settler colonialism? How are indigenous peoples' experiences across American colonial contexts similar? Different? This course introduces students to the comparative study of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. We will take a broad hemispheric approach instead of focusing solely on the experiences of any particular native community, allowing students to both acquaint themselves with the diversity of indigenous communities and better understand the multitude of indigenous experiences across regional contexts. Together, we will consider key debates within the fields of Native American, Indigenous, and Settler Colonial Studies. We will delve into how processes of imperial expansionism and settler colonialisms shape the conditions within which indigenous Americans now live, focusing on native peoples and the settler colonial governing bodies they must now relate to. Students will confront and interrogate these systems of settler colonialism, while exploring topics like sovereignty, ancestry, language revitalization, contemporary indigenous arts, and more. Key texts include Tommy Orange's (2018) There, There: A Novel, Kauanui (2018) Speaking of Indigenous Politics, Forte (2013) Who Is an Indian?, and the All My Relations Podcast.
SAMPLE of PREPARED COURSES
REVEALING PEOPLE'S PASTS: AN INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY
Of all of the ways that we have devised to explore our pasts, archaeology remains unique in its emphasis on the mundane detritus of human life. What can our trash or our abandoned and ruined places offer us with regard to how we understand where we come from and what it is to be human in this world? What is at stake in such explorations? This class will begin by taking to task the notion of ‘the past’ and the idea of ‘pastness’. It will then consider how archaeology can be a useful mechanism for exploring this notion called the past. Finally, we will interrogate the ways in which the past becomes present through the collective construction of cultural heritage. By the course’s end, students will have learned to think archaeologically, gaining an understanding of how scholars construct the past, how they use scientific methods to explore it, and how those discoveries become socialized and politicized in our modern lives. Key texts include Wilkie (2016) Strung Out on Archaeology, Orser (2015) Archaeological Thinking, Johnson (2014) Lives in Ruins.
& CULTURAL HERITAGE
(for undergraduate majors/graduate students)
How is knowledge about the past constructed in anthropology? How do anthropologist approach cultural heritage and the study of collective history-making? This course critically examines anthropology's domains of historical knowledge production and the ethical concerns surrounding such undertakings. It looks specifically at how those domains approach the study of cultural heritage, examining work with local and indigenous communities and heritage-regulating institutions. This course will challenge students to think more deliberately about the praxis they will employ in their own work and the implications of their methodological and theoretical choices. Key texts include Edgeworth (2006) Ethnographies of Archaeological Practice, Castañeda & Matthews (2008) Ethnographic Archaeologies, Meskell (2012) The Nature of Culture, Jackson (2012) Speaking for the Enslaved, and Gonzalez-Ruibal (2013) Reclaiming Archaeology.
RACE, INDIGENEITY, & GENDER
IN LATIN AMERICA
(for advanced undergraduate/graduate students)
As a geopolitical space characterized by the colonial processes set in motion in the late 15th century, racial formation in Latin America shares some commonalities with other (post)colonial regions of the world while diverging significantly in others. At the center of this discourse lies the opposition between the figures of the indigenous and the colonizer. This course explores racial thinking in Latin America and the realities of racism, inequality, and sociopolitical exclusion it engenders. We will progress semi-chronologically in order to establish some of the foundations of racial thinking in the region and how those have variously translated into post-Independence nation-building initiatives, figured at the center of revolution, and reemerged in the contemporary moment as central to the ways in which Latin America is characterized by its counterparts in the so-called "Global North." Key texts include Graham (1990) The Idea of Race in Latin America, Stepan (1991) The Hour of Eugenics, Applebaum et al (2003) Race and Nation in Modern Latin America, Benavides (2008) Drugs, Thugs, & Divas, Jackson (2012) Creole Indigeniety, Suárez Findley (2000) Imposing Decency, as well as the works of key Latin American race thinkers like Bartolomé de las Casas, José Vasconcelos, José Marti, and Simón Bolivar.
(for advanced undergraduate/graduate students)
What is colonialism? How has it both transformed our world and transformed as a process? What are its social, political, and material signatures? How do colonialism's ongoing mechanisms impact our daily lives, our understandings of history, and the structuring of our social relationships? This course will deepen student's knowledge of colonialism as a sociopolitical system with significant time depth and real contemporary consequences. The course emphasizes a material standpoint angled toward the ways that people, things, and places are not only impacted by but become implicated in the reproduction of colonial processes. We will draw on broadly anthropological theories, methods, and examples, as well as works of cultural critique that have had interdisciplinary impact. Key texts include Cesaire (2001) Discourse on Colonialism, Voss (2008) Archaeology of Ethnogenesis, Stoler (2006) Haunted by Empire, Blackhawk (2006) Violence over the Land, and Dietler (2012) Archaeologies of Colonialism.
PUBLIC POLICY, MUSEUMS, & CULTURAL HERITAGE
(TA w/ Dr. Richard Leventhal)
This class examines the nature of cultural heritage as related to museums, the public, public policy, indigenous groups, and countries throughout the world. We explore front-page heritage-related news stories while examining the ideas, politics, and societal structures behind them. Theory related to heritage, sacredness, colonialism, power, and human rights will all be central to this course. Key texts include Appiah (2006) Cosmpolitanism, Mihesuah (2000) Repatriation Reader, Lowenthal (1985) The Past is a Foreign Country, Watson & Todeschini (2006) The Medici Conspiracy, Brodie et al (2006) Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade.
GLOBALIZATION IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
(TA w/ Drs. Brian Spooner, Mauro F. Guillén,
& Lee Cassanelli)
Globalization is a large subject and may potentially include developments in areas that we are used to categorizing as economics, politics, language, art, etc. But although each academic discipline must take account of globalization in its own subject matter, no single discipline can comprehend it fully. We need to study it holistically. How can so large a subject be covered in a single course? This interdisciplinary course is designed to give a grounding in the subject as a whole: an introduction to the theoretical frameworks and methodological problems the study of globalization presents. Key texts include Steger (2010) Globalization and Guillén & Ontiveros (2012) Global Turning Points.
THE MODERN WORLD & ITS CULTURAL BACKGROUND
(TA w/ Dr. Greg Urban)
An introduction to the diversity of cultures on the planet, this course is divided into two parts. The first examines different models of human diversity: population, languages and language families, religions, migration patterns and urbanization, peoples and nations, subsistence patterns, and cultural areas. Students learn to think about the world as a whole, and to reason about the significance of culture on a global scale. The second part is an introductionto area studies, in which we take a look at the different regions of the world: Europe, the Middle East/Near East, Africa, South and Central Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia, the Americas, Oceania, and the Circum-polar region. The purpose of this section of the course is to learn to form hypotheses about regional cultures and the similarities and differences among them. The course takes a dynamic approach to the culture concept, looking at how culture moves through time and space. Students will ideally gain greater appreciation and understanding not only of cultural differences, but also of the strands of culture that unite us together into one world. Key texts include Achebe (1994) Things Fall Apart, Menchu (1999) I, Rigoberta Menchu, Katzner (1986) The Languages of the World, Anderson (1994) Imagined Communities.
INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY
(TA w/ Dr. Robert Schuyler)
An introduction to anthropological archaeology. No prior background in Archaeology or Anthropology on the part of the student is assumed. The course covers the science of archaeology - its definition and history, how archaeologists explore the past (methodology), how archaeologists interpret the past (theory), and current and future directions in the field. Examples will be drawn from both prehistory and historic periods. Key texts include Kelly & Hurst Thomas (2013) Archaeology and Kelso (2008) Jamestown: The Buried Truth.