Teaching

At Swarthmore, I teach on research methods, class, and politics, in various configurations.

My classes always engage with questions of inequality, and I often like to work with students to disseminate what we’re learning beyond Swarthmore.

Some Courses I regularly teach:

 

  • Introduction to Research Methods in the Social Sciences (SOCI 016b). This is essentially “learn how to do your own research.” We look at debates among sociologists about the nature of our discipline, how we make claims about what we know, and the meaning and use of sociology. We practice designing research questions, conducting literature reviews, using interview methods, and developing and analyzing our own survey. Students get an introduction to using R and a basic understanding of quantitative social science.
  • Class Matters: Privilege, Poverty and Power (SOCI 026b), which I always just call the “Class Class” because how could I not?  We read and talk about how class origin matters from childhood through college through careers, the deep connections between racial and economic inequality in the US, and the policies that maintain and exacerbate inequality.
  • Making Sense of This Year’s Election (SOCI 056) (name changes depending on the election; this year it was Philadelphia and the 2020 Elections). Here we read political science and sociology about voters and voting, campaigns and political communication. We cover class inequality in political participation, how racism and white supremacy motivate many voters and shape party positions, and how, when, and whether campaign tactics affect election outcomes.
  • Data Visualization in the Social Sciences (SOCI 046). We use existing datasets such as the General Social Survey, World Values Survey, and the American National Election Studies to find answers to student-defined questions, and learn essentials of quantitative social science and making pretty and informative graphics, using the book Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction.
  • The Working Class and the Politics of Whiteness (SOCI 06C). This is a first-year seminar where we look closely at how race and class shape American politics, with a particular emphasis on understanding both the actual communities that could be called “white working class” and the uses of that terminology in political debates. Here is a blog full of posts students wrote last time I taught it in 2019.
  • Distinction: Class and the Judgment of Taste (SOCI 109). As you’ll guess if you’ve read the book, this is an honors seminar where we read the entirety of Bourdieu’s Distinction, as well as research inspired by it and critiquing it.

Download Sample Syllabi (.doc files)

for students considering applying to grad school, please read this.