See my CV for a complete list of courses I have taught. Below are the three courses I have taught most often.
Classical Social Theory
This course is centered on the works of five theorists (Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Du Bois, and Freud) whose works are essential if one is to understand contemporary sociology. We will read the key texts associated with these theorists with the intent of finding key underlying themes and conflicts that are in many cases are the foundation for sociological questioning more generally. This course will explore the classical texts as those founding a discipline that has certain ways of thinking about the world. You will become fluent with these classical theories and vocabularies. As such, you will be able to extend their thoughts beyond their works to apply them to contemporary sociological issues and social representations. This course will proceed by lectures, film, class discussion, group work, and your own reflective writing through blogs, essay exams and exploratory writing assignments.
Current Social Theory
This course will build upon the foundations learned in classical theory in order to bring students to a more advanced theory practice. You will learn how to practice theory in order to understand social issues, and yourself, more in depth. We will identify the names and theories of many social theorists—theorists any sociologists should be able to speak about, however, we will focus on reading the texts of a much smaller number of theorists in order to have both a general knowledge, yet also a very specific knowledge of current social theory. We will focus on the following areas: The Frankfurt School, Post-Marxism, Knowledge Production, Post-Structuralism, Race Theory, Post-Colonialism, Queer Theory, Feminist Theory, New Materialist Theory. We will read the key texts associated with these theories with the intent of finding key underlying themes, and seeing the legacy of the classical theorists. As such, you will be able to extend and/or critique their thoughts beyond their works to apply them to contemporary sociological issues and social representations as well as to your own life. This course will proceed by lectures, film, class discussion, group work, and your own reflective writing through wikis, blogs, essay exams and exploratory writing assignments.
Gender, Sex, Society
Sex and Gender are concepts that affect each and every one of us. There are many ways to approach a course on this subject; this course will take a sociological, yet interdisciplinary approach. Although the course will connect the subject to our lives, it will also always maintain a critical and aware stance on how gender and sexuality are tools for the flow of power in society. For that reason the course is unofficially retitled Gender, Sex, Society, rather than the out-of-date Sex and Gender Roles, which would take the concepts of sex and gender for granted and only analyze the established roles that are attached. Rather, this course will analyze the production of gender, in part through the body where we will discuss biological sexual difference—as well as sex and desire—as we link gender with sexuality.
Our basic sociological understandings will thus start from understanding that gender is continually produced (it is not natural) and our main goal of the course will be to analyze critically what that production accomplishes for various different power networks. We will do this from understanding the negotiations of individual experiences of gender with social experiences. We will move away from simpler ideas about ‘accepting’ various gender and sexual identities (ie. ‘it doesn’t matter to me what other people do’) to analyzing critically why it should matter to you as a critical thinker—for example, why certain gender or sexual identities would need to be ‘accepted’ in the first place, whilst others are taken for granted. Through this critical thinking we will then be able to analyze how gender and sexuality can never be understood in a vacuum, but must always be analyzed through understandings of power, and to trends in capitalism and governance as well as racism, colonialism, abuse of women and animals, and the prison industrial complex.