Teaching

I teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses, but primarily advanced-level seminars open to B.A. and M.A. students (see below). I supervise several doctoral candidates in the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Ph.D. program as well.

Currrent Teaching

  • Present2013

    Visualizing Human Rights: Advocacy, Action, and the Politics of Representation

    What do human rights look like? This seminar critically examines the advocacy strategies used to make human rights “visible” to different audiences (the general public, government officials, policy-makers, etc.) and assesses the efficacy of the methods used. Particular attention is focused on the use of digital media to mobilize expert opinions, popular sentiment, and material resources to contest the status quo and to promote the protection of human rights.

  • Present2015

    Transitional Justice: Theoretical Debates, Institutional Frameworks, and Development Impacts

    “Never forget” and “never again” are promises—to remember the horrors of the past and to prevent their reoccurrence in the future. Present circumstances shape the possibilities of what can be done to realize both goals in the wake of mass atrocities. This course examines: 1) how these circumstances affect understandings of what “transitional justice” means to different actors; 2) the myriad forms it takes in different contexts (e.g. criminal proceedings, truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations, and memory projects); and 3) the impacts these initiatives have upon post-conflict reconstruction and development. The course is divided into two sections. The first section is philosophical and historical in orientation. The focus is upon the ethical issues, political events, and the legal mechanisms out of which the concept of “transitional justice” emerged and has since become institutionalized. The second section consists of topic-focused case studies on development-related issues – ranging from displacement and corruption to sexual violence and climate change – in different countries such as Yugoslavia, Argentina, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, among others. The details shed light on both the implementation of transitional justice proceedings in concrete settings, creating the basis for informed comparative discussions.

  • Present2007

    Seeing Like a Humanitarian Agency

    Since World War II, several different but overlapping regimes have emerged to help structure humanitarian responses to large-scale forms of displacement and forced migration. In what ways do these evolving regimes enable humanitarian agencies to “see,” and in what ways does their particular field of vision—to continue James Scott’s metaphor—differ from that of states, academics, policymakers and the displaced themselves? What kinds of blind-spots (theoretical, methodological, and ethical) inevitably result? This seminar will explore these questions from a variety of vantage points. Three themes run throughout: 1) Special attention is focused on the ways scholars and policymakers have historically constructed forced migration as a “problem” either for analysis or action, and how these concerns as well as the proposed “solutions” have shifted over the past six decades; 2) Case-studies of humanitarian interventions in different geographic settings, which will highlight the relevance (and limits) of concepts and methods drawn from different philosophic traditions, academic disciplines, and technical sciences; and 3) The methodological and ethical dilemmas complex emergencies present for those who wish to study or to manage them, including: access to the “field,” research and writing amidst complex emergencies, and critical forms of engagement with humanitarianism more generally.

  • Present2008

    Trafficking: Governing the Ungovernable

    This course turns a critical eye towards the different cultural, political, and economic processes that make contemporary forms of “trafficking” possible. It examines these processes from three different vantage points. Part one will engage with the key concepts that inform the existing literature on “trafficking” (e.g. commodification, shadow economies, transnational criminal networks, and regulatory authority) to explore both their assumptions and their limits. Special attention is focused on the ways scholars, policymakers, and activists have historically constructed trafficking as a “problem” either for analysis or action, the globalization of the legal and policy frameworks designed to counter-trafficking, as well as their change over time. Part two examines the above concerns in greater detail through a series of case studies on trafficking in and the consumption of human labor, sexual services, organs and tissue, and animal parts. Part three, which is interwoven with the case-studies, considers some of the opportunities and dilemmas (theoretical, methodological and ethical) such practices present for those who wish to study, to manage, or to advocate on behalf of those affected by different forms of trafficking.

  • Present2007

    Qualitative Research Methods

    The course is designed so that students can gain first-hand experience with the qualitative methods that they are most likely to use during study abroad and/or other independent research projects. These methods include but are not limited to: participant-observation, social mapping, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, oral histories, PhotoVoice, surveys and questionnaires, and some of the participatory techniques commonly used by development practitioners. As part of this course, students will also gain familiarity with the theoretical paradigms that guide research design as well as the ethical issues that arise therein via course-readings and mini-lectures by the instructor. Special emphasis will be placed upon cultivating a critical stance towards these methods, the cultural assumptions that underlie them, and the impact relations of power have upon the research process as a whole. This iterative process will prepare students to become self-reflective researchers able to troubleshoot many of the problems they are likely to encounter “in the field.” To further ground these discussions, students will design a full-length mock research grant proposal of their own in consultation with the instructor. Students are encouraged to submit revised versions of these proposals to Clark University and outside bodies for financial support to carry out the proposed research.

  • Present2013

    The Political Economy of Food and the Ethics of Eating

    Is it possible to eat in an ethical fashion in world with more than seven billion people? What would this entail? And what are the likely consequences of our choices upon others as well as the environment? This course examines the evolving political-economy and ethics of food production, distribution, and consumption and its effects upon our ecosystems, animal welfare, worker safety, consumer health, and cultural identities. Course readings introduce different theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches to the study of what we eat. They range from: historical accounts to food exposés and detailed empirical studies to forecasts of what we will eat in the future. All of them are provocative and they provide us with the opportunity to develop critical perspectives on the following: 1) The development of a global food system and the industrial techniques used to sustain it: confinement livestock operations, genetic homogenization, fisheries and aquaculture, and (trans-) national supply chain management; 2) Contemporary debates over food safety: genetically modified organisms, oversight mechanisms, regulatory regimes, famine prevention and humanitarian relief; and 3) The possibilities and limits of ethical alternatives: organics, locavore, fair trade, bio-tech, and food sovereignty.

Teaching History

  • 20132007

    Tales from the Farside: Contemporary Dilemmas in International Development

  • 20102008

    States of Violence: Culture, Trauma, and Identity in Asia

  • 20102009

    Critical Cartographies: Mapping Culture, History, and Power

  • 20112011

    Theoretical and Ethnographic Approaches to Studying States

  • 20152015

    Memory and Memorialization

  • 20072005

    Peoples and Cultures of Southeast Asia: Space, Place, and Personhood

Used Book Store (Yangon, Myanmar)

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