My efforts to connect abstract social forces to individuals’ everyday experiences extend to my teaching, where I use project-based learning to bring real-world controversies into the course in structured ways. In courses I’ve taught and developed, students visit courts, prisons, places of worship, and local archives to see how the phenomena we are studying work out in the lives of real people. I also incorporate diverse perspectives into my teaching that draw on my research and social justice work: “Incarceration Nation,” a first-year writing course I designed, includes Skype interactions with a civil rights attorney and a former corrections official. The pedagogical goal of these discussions is to expose students to the ways the debates and histories we are studying in the course are also being worked through by practitioners — often in complex and messy ways.
I designed and taught “Religion and Politics in American History” at Washington University in St. Louis in the Spring of 2020. This course enrolled 37 students and is one of the gateway courses for WashU’s Religion and Politics Minor. The course emphasized the interconnections of race, religion, and nationalism. Highlights of the course include units on Native American boarding schools, slavery (with readings by Frederick Douglass), Confederate nationalism, and American Empire.
Access the syllabus here, which contains links to many of the activities and assignments.
I taught “The Politics of Religion, Crime, and Punishment in the United States” at Washington University in St. Louis in the Fall of 2018. The course enrolled 20 students and emphasized how religious interventions in criminal justice often backfired. Access the syllabus here.