Below are descriptions and syllabi for three courses that I designed and taught as the sole instructor at the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A full list of my teaching-related experience and awards can be found in my CV.
Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course is an introduction to how scholars have tried to answer some of the most vexing questions of our age: Why are some countries rich, and others poor? Why are some governments wracked with corruption and instability, while others appear permanent and rational? Why are some regimes democratic, and others authoritarian? What is the relationship between capitalism and democracy? And finally, can democracy survive in a warming globe? We will explore these questions comparatively, examining how power has changed over time and across space. We begin our study prior to the modern age in order to examine the historical processes and accidents that have shaped the states, nations, economies, and natural environments around us. We then shift to examine nation-states comparatively, studying the variety of forms that democracy, authoritarianism, and capitalism take around the world. Finally, we examine theories that consider the future of democracy on an increasingly interconnected and warming planet.
Government and Politics of the Middle East
This course introduces students to contemporary politics in the Middle East. The goal is to provide students with the theoretical and empirical knowledge necessary to address the following questions about Middle Eastern countries: How were states formed during and after colonization? How has this history influenced conflicts between different religious and ethnic groups? Why is authoritarianism so persistent in the region? How is Islam mobilized for different political agendas, and why have Islamic activists become so influential? What does the fight for equality between genders and sexual minorities look like? What was the Arab Spring, why did it happen, and what hope is there for people’s movements in the region?
Interpretation and Analysis
This course is designed to develop students’ hard skills of communication and analysis in the social sciences. It is practice-oriented. That is, students will improve upon these skills through exercises focused on writing, reading, and revision. This will include analyzing and evaluating arguments and evidence of assigned readings. But most of the class will be devoted to producing original material, including an op-ed, literature review, and a resume and cover letter for a job or graduate school application. Students will also conduct political science research and present their findings in both a final paper and an in-class presentation. The course satisfies the University’s junior year writing requirement.