Teaching Philosophy

My teaching takes an interdisciplinary comparative approach to think about how cultural production can teach us about social values. My goal is to equip students with a toolbox of critical skills and guide them to asking questions about what texts can tell us about the culture and society in which they are produced. I emphasize that these skills are transferable across disciplines and valuable in decoding the politics of everyday life.

My courses foreground the importance of cultural context and stress relations across media and history. I also stress that even the loftiest of high modernisms, such as T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and James Joyce’s Ulysses, are informed by popular culture, a fact too easily forgotten. This juxtaposition of high and low, and historical and contemporary is at the heart of my pedagogy, as it helps students to relate to texts that may at first appear too historically or culturally distant.

Sample Courses

Rio Hondo Community College

College Composition and Research (Spring 2016, Summer 2016)

This course teaches critical thinking, reading and writing around the theme of “Language, Violence, Difference.” Through an archive varying in genre, media, and topic, students practice critical, argumentative writing about: literature, essays, film, and advertisements.

Developmental Composition and Research (Spring 2016)

This course models critical thinking, reading, and writing for students through a variety of essays and requires students to practice these skills on a variety of texts including short stories, essays, and films, with a strong focus on thesis statements and argumentation.

Whittier College

College Writing Seminar: Imagining Contagion (Fall 2015)

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining how popular and scientific narratives imagine contagion, with particular attention to how microscopic, personal, and national violence are figured and justified. Critical thinking and argumentation are developed and the course culminates in an interdiscplinary research paper that speaks to both science and cultural production.

University of California, Santa Barbara

American Literature 1900-Present (Spring 2015)

This survey of American Literature provokes students to think about how the definition of “American” is at stake in our classification of American Literature. The course begins by examining the relation of modernism (an art movement), modernization (an industrial process), and modernity (a historical period), as a model to examine how literature and art engage with historical and social events. Typically “ethnic” literatures are consciously juxtaposed with canonical American literature to facilitate critical thinking about both terms.

Science Fiction: Monstrosity, Technology, and the Limits of the Human (Spring 2015)

Through a survey of science fiction texts beginning with Shelley’s Frankenstein, this course explores how technology and knowledge mediate the complex interrelation of monstrosity, humanity, and alterity. Students are tasked with analyzing how science fictions define, delimit, and transcend the concept of the human. Students are also exposed to related critical theoretical concepts of Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, and others.

Introduction to Literary Study (Summer 2013)

Focusing on the theme of Monstrosity, this course teaches students the language and methodology of literary study, with an emphasis on writing argumentative papers. Students are introduced to foundational theoretical concepts, and popular and canonical literatures.

Cultures of Infection (Fall 2012)

This advanced course in literature and culture examines how narratives and discourses of contagion are entangled with racial and sexual alterity. Students read historic and contemporary works in biomedicine, avant garde literature, and popular culture examining how contagion refigures social and political relations.

Detective Fiction (Summer 2011, Summer 2012)

This survey of detective fiction introduces students to major figures and developments in the genre, moving from the tireless search for justice of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes to the confounding postmodern search for meaning that plagues Paul Auster’s Quinn. Particular attention is paid to the role of biomedicine, technology, masculinity, race, and sexuality in the genre.

Academic Writing, 5 terms (Academic Years 2009-2010; Winter 2011, Summer 2011)

This course teaches critical thinking, reading, and writing across genre, media, and discipline around varying themes.