Recent Courses



COURSE DESCRIPTION: A middle-aged homeless woman takes the bus to Ballard twice a week to sell her blood plasma. A Zanesville, Ohio man releases fifty-six exotic animals out of captivity. Thousands of Indian farmers march carrying Neem tree branches to protest ‘biopiracy.’ This course explores these and other cases of ‘contested commodities’ – social, biological, immaterial entities whose entry into (and exit out of) capitalist markets has raised ire, conflict, and conceptual confusion. Through weekly discussions, written reflections, experiential site visits around Seattle, guest speakers, and a final project, students will learn to understand commodification as a socially situated process fraught with relations of power, difference, and value. Course discussion will engage a range of issues related to contested commodification, including labor, race, class, the human/nonhuman divide, gender, sexuality, the state, biology, and political resistance. Readings will draw from a range of historical and contemporary case studies including early modern Europe, colonial India, and present-day Seattle, as well as a variety of media and genres. By the end of the course, students will learn to appreciate their own relation to (un)contested commodification, to unpack the politics surrounding these conflicts, and to imagine alternative ways of making and remaking value

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COURSE DESCRIPTION: In the United States today, more than 2.3 million people are living in prison. More than 324 million are living in a prison society. In this course, we will study both - the prison and the US prison society - to ask how did we get here? what does this mean for everyday life? and how might we create alternatives beyond the prison? This course focuses on mass incarceration in the US, but also interrogates the complex and transnational forces that underpin and undermine this reality - social control, power relations, cultural politics, resistance, and hope. Together we will engage this study through a mixture of classroom dialogue, multi-genre writing and peer review, and in-class and out-of-class activities that will ask you to consider your own place in relation to the prison. Drawing on a wide range of materials - evidence-based research, prisoner memoir, government policy, architectural design, social theory, activism, and science fiction - this course will ask you to consider what you think about prisons and how prisons became thinkable.



COURSE DESCRIPTION: What do you picture when you hear the word research? An individual wearing a white coat in a test tube-filled laboratory? An individual who is a White, able-bodied man? An individual you think is way smarter or more ‘together’ than you? We often think of “research” in this way, as a high-minded profession reserved only for the expert. Luckily for us…that is totally false! This course will give you an introduction to the intellectual, emotional, messy process we call social science research. You will practice the skills necessary to design your own research projects – logical reasoning, digesting academic literature, library research, problem solving, self-direction and organization, analytical thinking, curiosity, asking questions, writing, peer debate, self-reflection, and revision in the face of real world experience. In addition to the basics of research design, this course will also provide you a practical introduction to several methods for collecting qualitative and quantitative data. This course provides a vital step in your movement from being receivers of knowledge to being producers of knowledge. By the end of this course, you will have the foundation necessary to succeed in higher-level Geography courses, which include self-directed research. You will be on your way to being the experts. You will be scholars.

I have also taught courses on topics including qualitative methods, environmental conservation, urban studies, cultural geography, animal studies, and globalization. If you are interested in reviewing previous course syllabi, please contact me