My goal as an instructor is to equip students to understand their place in the social world, examine structures keeping that world intact, and envision radical alternatives. Students interrogate how race, gender, class, and sexuality intersect to shape policy, culture, situated knowledge, and access to resources and opportunities, and learn to challenge, complicate, and extend their knowledge through scholarly texts and assignments that engage a diversity of voices.
Introduction to Sociology
Taught Fa23 at Regis University
This course examines what the discipline of sociology is and how to think sociologically. We explore the theories sociologists use to understand the social world, the methods they use to study society, and some of the key topics they have researched and written about. The class begins by outlining sociology’s premises, history, core concepts, and methods. It then moves to investigate questions of power and inequality, with a focus on class, gender, race, and sexuality. We conclude by applying sociological thinking to help us understand social change.
Introduction to Criminology
Taught Fa23 at Regis University
This course examines the social construction of crime, society’s responses to crime, and social conditions associated with crime. We begin with an
overview of criminological approaches to deviance, which is rule- or norm-breaking behavior, and social control, or how society prevents us from breaking rules and norms. We then apply these frameworks across sites of the U.S. criminal-legal system including police, courts, prisons, jails, detention centers, and schools. Throughout the course, students will analyze the history and politics of criminological knowledge, and critique and assess claims, data, and knowledge about criminal-legal systems. Special attention is paid to how power operates through criminal-legal systems, (re)producing inequities at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, citizen status, gender, and sexuality. Resistance and social change are also explored.
Punishment and Society
Taught Su22, Fa21, Spr21, and Spr19 at the University of Texas at Austin
This course provides an interdisciplinary analysis of the punishment industrial complex (PIC) in the United States. Analyzing the social, political, and economic dynamics of crime, we explore myths, trends, and theories about punishment across a variety of substantive topics including mass incarceration, corporate and government crime, and racism and sexism in the criminal-legal system. We start by tracing the history and purpose(s) of punishment. Then we examine different modes of punishment in the United States and critically assess the conditions and outcomes associated with punishment. Finally, we discuss how the U.S. approach to punishment might be reformed, remade, contested, and/or abolished.
Gender/Race/Class/Sexuality in U.S. Society
Taught Fa22 at the University of Texas at Austin
This course examines the intersection of gender, race, class, and sexuality in the United States. Drawing on sociological research and analysis, we investigate how these identities operate not only as ways of categorizing people, but as interrelated structures that shape our points of view, experiences, life chances, and social worlds. Intersections pertaining to body size, citizen status, religion, ethnicity, and disability are also addressed. Attending to the ways social construction (re)produces and rationalizes power imbalances in institutions (e.g., work, the family, education, the criminal legal system, the media) is a key focus. We conclude by discussing movements for liberation and social change.
Qualitative Research Methods
Taught Fa22/Block 4 at Colorado College
This hands-on, project-based course is an introduction to the practice of qualitative sociological research, which attends to people’s words, narratives, practices, interactions, explanations, emotions, and identities. We first examine the kinds of questions qualitative methods are best suited to answer. Students assess the methods' strengths and limitations; unpack ethical issues and dilemmas; and explore how micro-level phenomena connect to broader social structures, institutions, and cultural meanings. Taking a practicum approach, students then design and conduct their own research studies using three methods: in-depth interviews, field/participant observation, and content analysis. Students conceptualize research questions and methodological design through a written proposal, gather and analyze their own data, and present their findings both orally and in writing.