I have taught the following courses since I joined Connecticut College's faculty in Fall 2012. Alongside my work to co-create an exciting, highly intersectional, and career-oriented curriculum in Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectionality Studies, I frequently have taught courses supporting our Connections general education curriculum and the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy's certificate program. My pedagogical approach centers students' own relationship to their learning and the importance of using multiple methods, sources, and assignments to create entry points for a range of learners.
FIRST YEAR SEMINAR - RACE, SEX, GENDER
In this class, we consider how social forces have made race, class, gender and sexual categories legible. In other words, we will explore how and why these terms carry meaning for us as we engage how such categories are relational as well as intersecting. We will be thinking about how social forces not only influence how we understand and represent others and ourselves, but also what we experience and imagine as possible or impossible based on these categories. Finally, we consider how people individually and collectively respond to these forces.
FIRST YEAR SEMINAR - WOMEN ON THE LOOSE
Fall 2013 and Fall 2017
This course centers feminists’ paths towards understanding and responding to injustice in their lives and communities from sexual and racist violence to casual sexism at work and at home. We begin by examining feminism through its history, contemporary reception and practice from learning about its intersectional and international origins to its contentious popularization by celebrities. Importantly, we seek to understand the many different forms of feminism and its connections with other social justice movements such as racial justice and transgender rights struggles.
SEX, GENDER, CULTURE: INTRODUCTION TO GENDER AND WOMEN’S STUDIES
Fall 2014, Fall 2016
How do you understand the role of identity in your life and interactions? How have identities developed across time and place? In this course we will begin to answer these questions. In particular we explore the ways in which binary (either/or) logic frames our understanding of categories and structures such as gender, race, and sexuality. We move from these concerns to a study of the social movements that have been central to the formation of the field and contemporary life. Finally, we examine current transnational issues such as representations of gendered bodies, labor markets, and violence against women that are critical to Gender and Women’s Studies.
FOUNDATIONS OF COMMUNITY ACTION
Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2021
Foundations of Community Action introduces students to foundational theories of identity, inequity, agency, and community. Students’ study of policies, institutions, and movements ground their understanding of community action. Our introduction to the Program in Community Action (PICA) Certiﬁcate program explores the foundations of community action. We examine the relationship between identity, agency, communities, institutions, policies, and movements.
Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020
How and why is sex a site of conflict in so many workplaces? From debates about decriminalizing paid sex to the emergence of the #MeToo, we learn about how workers understand their experiences with sex and labor. We begin by examining the history of sexual harassment, as activists named abuses they encountered at work and in turn, our laws and policies changed. From farmworkers to college students, waitresses to government lawyers, we ask what it is like to encounter sexual harassment and what are the obstacles to justice. As we learn about why sexual harassment continues to be an issue in our society, we build a foundation to study the range of work that has been deemed “intimate labor.” In particular, we study the varying reasons sex workers pursue their jobs, we go beyond simple ideas about people who sell sex as victims or deviants. Our exploration of dominatrix offers insight into how explicit practices of power exchange become a service to be sold. By the end of the course, you should have a more complex set of ideas about sex and work that is well-informed by the range of perspectives we have encountered.
INTRODUCTION TO QUEER STUDIES
Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
This course provides multiple entries into sexuality, queer and gender studies. As we study the development of the fields of queer studies and LGBTQ history, we examine experiences of sexuality and gender across practices and identities. By utilizing varied resources, we explore the development of queer studies that encompasses critical analyses of power dynamics and the construction of sexual and gender categories. We study a range of approaches to uncovering and representing the experiences of people who deviate from sexual and gender norms. These tactics are considered within the broader context of normative gender and sexual social orders. A key component of the course is considering the intertwining of sexuality and gender identities with other categories such as race, class, and nation. With this intersectional approach, we gain a more robust understanding of the varying experiences and understandings of sexuality and gender.
FEMINIST APPROACHES TO DISABILITY STUDIES
This course explores disability as both a social identity and category of analysis. The mix of feminist and disability-based scholarship provides an interdisciplinary and intersectional entrance into this innovative field. Our course materials include critical theory, historical and contemporary studies, as well as activist and artistic representations in order to provide multiple ways of connecting to our course topics. Together, we seek to gain an intellectual foundation as well as consider the importance that disability studies holds for our social and political lives.
TRANSNATIONAL WOMEN’S MOVEMENTS
Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2019
This course examines the theory and practice of women’s transnational movements. We learn about the range of demands for social justice and usage of alliances to pursue their agendas. An emphasis is placed on understanding questions of gender justice intersectionally. This approach includes the recognition and respect for the complex lived experiences of people globally. We examine the dynamic challenges that these realities and perspectives present activists. Case studies addressing reproductive justice, environmental activism, refugees’ rights and post-conflict politics, femicide, and digital activism compliment our course assignments to deepen our learning about social movements across the globe.
TRAINING FOR TRANSFORMATION
The common thread of our course is supporting positive change in public education and contesting the “school to prison” pipeline. Together we will discuss key social justice issues that relate to your placements as well as develop best practice for participating in community-based service learning. A core value of this course is respect as we engage each other in the classroom, our community partners and the broader Connecticut College and New London communities. Through a combination of critical thinking and action, we will develop a grounded understanding of how transformation is being pursued at the community level today and the possible avenues for students such as yourselves to become active participants in social justice movements.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRAXIS
Spring 2018, Fall 2018
This course challenges you to weave together scholarly research on social justice movements and immigration history with works from activists on organizing practices and experiences. We focus on the praxis (dynamic theory and practice) of social justice, considering activists’ motivations, goals, and what their efforts look like in detail. A core component of our course is a collaboration with New London’s Immigration Advocacy & Support Center (IASC) that will allow our class to gain hands-on experience with critical aspects of social justice work today as IASC seeks to address urgent needs in our local community.
ADVANCED READINGS IN FEMINIST THEORY
Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017
Feminist theory seeks to provide frameworks for understanding the past, present, and future of our world. We delve into critical works that have informed the development of Gender and Women’s Studies as a field. The mix of authors is intended to provoke your understanding of feminist theory as multiple, contested, and overlapping. Our assignments familiarize you with feminist theory frameworks as you build your understanding, interpretation, and usage of concepts.
FEMINIST SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS
Spring 2013, Spring 2016
This course provides an in-depth exploration of interdisciplinary approaches to feminist research in theory and practice. As our department is conducting a senior faculty search this year, our class is fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from the final candidates about their work in our class at the beginning of the semester. Their visits set the stage for our examination of how research can uncover, document, synthesize and become part of the pursuit of social change. We will move back and forth between considering feminist research practices broadly to using a range of research techniques in our own setting at Connecticut College and New London.
LEATHER & GLITTER
This team-taught course considers a multitude of literary and visual works articulating queer aesthetics alongside ways of knowing and being. Queer theoretical and socio-historical scholarship provide context for our analysis. Students are challenged to articulate through a series of assignments their own interests and understanding of key course themes.
Students consider the importance of class in daily life, particularly its role as a social identity and its interconnectedness with socioeconomic status; the successes and failures of street-level mobilizations, membership organizing, and connections and disjunctures with other social movements; and the current realities and struggles workers face as they attempt to make ends meet. We particularly focus on intersections with struggles for racial, gender, LGBTQ, and migrant justice.
QUEER THEORY AND ACTIVISM
Fall 2018, Spring 2020
This course emphasizes the dynamic relationship between queer theory and activism. As you are challenged to engage with key theoretical texts, cultural representations, historical and contemporary examples of queer culture and politics. This combination of materials asks that you take on a flexible learning style in order to gain a kaleidoscopic understanding of what queer means across these contexts. As we study the development of the field of queer studies, we examine experiences of sexuality and gender across practices and identities. We focus on how queer studies encompasses critical analyses of power dynamics and the construction of sexual and gender categories.
DESIRING JUSTICE: SEX, DIFFERENCE AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
This course explores the intertwined histories of disability and sexuality. Topics we study include eugenics and reproductive justice, as well as arts movements that challenge mainstream attitudes about sexuality and disability. We seek to develop critical understandings of disability and sexuality as categories central to socio-political structures and practices. As a seminar course, your own path into this topic is centered alongside seeking out connections with other students as you study sexuality, disability, and (in)justice.
SENIOR CAPSTONE IN GWS
Spring 2017, Spring 2018
This course provides Gender and Women’s Studies majors with a seminar-based conclusion to your undergraduate studies. We combine reflective and forward-facing work to consider what you have gained from your GWS and related studies. You are challenged to develop and present yourself as a GWS undergraduate - to your cohort classmates through our discussions, in your composition of a private or public website, and most importantly, to yourself as a graduating student. Through dynamically engaging your cohort’s shared and individual knowledge, learning experiences, and skills, you will emerge with a deeper sense of the journey that you have taken and your aspirations for your post-college life.
CLAIM YOUR EDUCATION: GSIS TUTORIAL
This course supports upper-level students as they reflect on their education thus far and develop plans for upcoming opportunities including honors theses, internships, and jobs. It combines shared readings, resources, and assignments with student-developed elements that focus on each student's specific educational goals. Together, we consider the central elements of our field and the range of possibilities for undergraduate students during their studies and post-graduate life. Each student develops, refines, and pursues an individual project that uniquely is focused on their area of interest. These projects include elements for assessment, a timeline, and culminate in the project’s work itself alongside a final essay that narrates the project in relationship to the student’s undergraduate studies and aims.
COURSES TAUGHT AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
I taught as a graduate student and adjunct professor at Rutgers University from 2005 to 2012. My courses in Women's and Gender Studies along with Social Justice, Critical Sexuality Studies, and the Honors College reflect my ability to successfully teach a range of topics and engage students across the university.