Courses I teach include:
Ethnographic Field School – coming in summer 2019!
I will be offering an ethnographic field school in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the summer 2019. The five week course will include two weeks of preparation in Muncie, and three weeks in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Stay tuned for updates!
In fall 2016, I led 15 undergraduate and graduate students in an ethnographic methods course that studied the Riverside/Normal City neighborhood in Muncie, located east of the Ball State University campus. The class website can be found here: and a video about this class can be found here. Future ethnographic methods courses include developing a neighborhood story project in Muncie that contributes to Middletown Studies and urban anthropology of postindustrial small cities.
Anthropology, Culture, Globalization
Anth 111 examines culture and cultural variation in a globalizing world. Through discussion, film, lectures, individual and group projects, readings, and writing, we learn to think anthropologically, to connect the dots. We make the strange familiar and the familiar strange, particularly through pop culture.
History and Theory of Anthropology
This course focuses on how the central elements of the discipline of anthropology (theory, method, argument) have been informed across time. We study different traditions in the field of anthropology, including evolutionary theory, American historicism, political economy, structuralism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, feminism, globalization and transnationalism, biopower, and affect. The goal is be conversant with historic and contemporary trends in social theory that have influenced the discipline of anthropology; more importantly, we learn how these ideas shape contemporary social policy and can be used in a range of ways to understand and interpret contemporary social problems.
Anthropology has been “applied” in various forms throughout its history, but it took root in the discipline in the middle of the twentieth century. This course explores some of applied anthropology’s most significant origins, debates, and applications. The first half of the course considers the politics of anthropological research, tracing its evolution from colonial encounters, through upheaval and critique in the 1970s and 1980s, to various postcolonial and applied responses to these criticisms. The second half of the course focuses on how contemporary applied anthropologists address social issues like healthcare, poverty, neoliberalism, criminal (in)justice, racism, immigration, climate change, human rights, and the military. Ultimately, the course seeks to locate today’s applied anthropology within a larger disciplinary tradition that is both critical and engaged, and to explore possibilities for a new terrain beyond the “practice” versus “theory” chasm.
Race and Ethnicity
Race is one of the most powerful and deeply embedded social constructs in the modern world, but looks different across time and space and must be understood in both local and global contexts. My courses on race and ethnicity examine the ways in which they are constructed along with class, gender, and nation, and in a cross-cultural perspective. This means also interrogating how race and ethnicity are tied to ethnonationalism, racism, inequality, precarity, and social movements, like #BlackLivesMatter.
Gender and Feminism
I teach introductory, intermediate and graduate-level anthropology courses about the role of gender in society that draws information from a wide variety of sources and cultures. “Gender” is a powerful force, something that shapes an individual’s or a group’s identity, power, influence, and authority. These courses investigate categories of gender in anthropology, in contemporary public and private life, in work, health, the media, and through migration. We discuss how gender intersects with race, ethnicity, class, religion, nation, and sexuality, and how these intersections affect people in a variety of ways. We address how notions of gender are shaped by ideas about femininity and masculinity, reproduction, beauty, and militarism, and the ways that people subscribe to and/or resist gender norms.
Anthropology of the United States
This class explores the culture and political economy of the contemporary United States with a particular focus on citizenship. “Citizenship” is a term that is used often in politics, media, and day-to-day life but where did it come from? What is the definition of a worthy or unworthy citizen? Who or what influences this definition and how? More specifically, how does citizenship status shape access to resources in the United States (e.g. social services, education, employment, and housing), political clout, and respect? To answer these questions, this class addresses the ways in which anthropology contributes to understanding different social groups, communities, regions and social and political institutions in the United States. We examine how anthropologists study (and sometimes influence) complex public policy issues like poverty, imprisonment, education, immigration, the labor force, religion, and the environment.
The goal of this course is to look at the ways in which urban anthropologists work – theoretically and methodologically – in order to understand the interaction between structural forces and culturally produced meaning and action on the ground. We will do this by studying a variety of cities across the globe, including Muncie. The course is organized around exploring: 1) structural frameworks for contextualizing cities; 2) “top-down” and “bottom-up” strategies for analysis of cities and urban populations (looking at more powerful and less powerful actors); and 3) current themes of the sub-field including: urban communities, space and place as structured by the state and market, urban politics of poverty, race, and gender; global cities and processes of migration and globalization; and trends in urban planning and architecture as an anthropological concern. The course requires students to participate in a small-scale ethnographic project, using Muncie as an urban field site, to illuminate these patterns and themes.
Women and Gender Studies 220: International Women’s Issues
WGS 220 is an interdisciplinary introduction to international women’s studies with an emphasis on contemporary issues framed by historical context. Students will learn how gender is produced historically and in culturally specific ways. The course emphasizes a transnational approach to women and gender studies, insisting that gender cannot be understood alone but is rather part of a larger constellation that includes histories of colonialism, contemporary globalization, transnational mobilities, and capitalist production and consumption.
My pedagogy strives to be inclusive of students with diverse backgrounds and ways of being in the world. We examine “official” (e.g. government websites) and “unofficial” versions of culture (e.g. social media and ethnographic accounts of everyday life) from around the world and learn to see the world from a variety of perspectives, top-down and bottom-up, from those with a lot of power and those with little power. To do this, I have students participate in a wide variety of exercises from more traditional small and large group discussion and student-led presentations to interactive, hands-on ethnographic activities, mapping, gaming, and discourse analysis of social media, music, and popular culture. I welcome ideas to make the classroom environment more engaging, fun, diverse, and inclusive.