My teaching areas include cultural sociology, organizations, social movements, religion, sociology of globalization and transnationalism, qualitative methods, and sociological theory. These are my current and recent courses:
Humanitarian Activism and Civil Society
Lecture: Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020 (scheduled)
International humanitarian organizations are often first on the scene when armed conflicts erupt or natural disasters strike, but their efficiency and legitimacy are constantly questioned. This course examines humanitarian activism from a sociological perspective by looking at its history and its role in contemporary society. We will examine the origins of organized humanitarian activism and the dilemmas and challenges that NGOs must often face. We will investigate the consequences, justifications, and limitations of humanitarian work, focusing substantively on several case studies including the Kosovo War, the Nigerian Civil War, and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The course will conclude with presentations based on students' independent research and exploration of an applied topic from the course.
Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations
Lecture: Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019 (scheduled)
Most moral and religious frameworks uphold some form of benevolence and charity. However, societies have different ways of thinking about the roles of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. This course investigates the nature of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations and their influence on civil society. We will consider different sociological approaches to charitable giving and apply them to substantive topics, such as competing philosophies of giving and the relationship between philanthropic and state-sponsored programs. We will also address issues of social responsibility that arise when corporate actors engage in philanthropic work. As a culminating active learning exercise, students will identify and evaluate nonprofits as potential donation recipients, and will assess the impact a donation would make for those organizations.
Religion, Politics, and Society
Lecture, Spring 2020 (scheduled)
While many countries profess a separation between state and religion, faith and religiosity remain central to political life, both in the United States and in the global scene. In recent years more than ever, religious figures have been deeply involved in electoral processes, in welfare and charity, in social justice movements, in war-making, and in peace-building. Given the changing dynamics between faith and politics, it is doubly important for us to understand the multiple ways religion and politics interact. This course will examine the intersections between religion and politics by exploring questions like why do some religious groups engage in political activism, while others shy away from it? why do some countries try to regulate religious expression in their public spaces, when others celebrate it? why do certain religious groups resort to violence to achieve their aims, and how do some religious groups strive for social justice and peace? The course will begin with a broad overview of the sociology of religion by linking classic sociologists like W. E. Du Bois, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber to contemporary issues of faith and politics. It will continue by examining key meeting sites between politics and religion, such as social movements, welfare systems, terrorist organizations, and peacemaking initiatives. Case studies will include the French headscarf controversy, the U.S. Evangelical involvement in the 2016 elections, the Muslim Brotherhood welfare system in Egypt, and the religious-nationalist Hindutva movement in India. As a final project, students will write a term paper on a study case of their choice.
Tutorial (seminar): Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019 (scheduled)
Working and middle class, Blacks and Latinx, Christians and Muslims, Americans and French–groups have, by their very definition, some criteria to discern those who belong from those who do not, whether they are as large as whole nations, or as small as a group of friends. But what does it mean for a group to have a collective identity? This course will examine what collective identity is and how we can study it sociologically. It will ask questions such as Does a collective identity rely on group members sharing the same past experiences, or does it rely on them facing similar present circumstances? To what extent do group members have to agree on what their collective identity is, and how are disagreement and conflicts managed? How do group members engage in identity politics, and how do they compare their groups to others? The course will begin with a review of sociological literature that addresses some of the key debates on this topic. Moving forward, students will design and complete their own research projects. Each student will choose a group in the Boston area or on campus, formulate a research question, and conduct participant observations and / or interviews. The course will cover the various steps of the research process, from formulating a research question through collecting and analyzing data and reviewing existing literature, to constructing the final paper.
Social Trauma and Collective Identity
Seminar: Spring 2017
Even though trauma is often a personal experience, it can also affect groups, regions, and even whole nations. This course explores the notion of social trauma by focusing on its emergence, commemoration, and transmission in different societies. How do ideas of trauma stay constant across generations? And what are the consequences of these processes in a variety of sites such as politics, social activism, art, and domestic life? The main analytic assignment enables students to further explore a site of their choice that represents collective trauma. Upon collection of primary evidence, students will analyze their case using the concepts and readings covered in class.
Contact me for a full teaching portfolio.