Symphony Way Temporary Relocation Area ("Blikkiesdorp"), Delft, Cape Town.

Symphony Way Temporary Relocation Area ("Blikkiesdorp"), Delft, Cape Town.

Teaching is one of my passions, and I think quite a bit about syllabus construction, how to encourage active engagement, and above all, new techniques for improving student writing and research. In every one of my seminars, I spend a great deal of time teaching undergraduates the fundamentals of writing a compelling research paper. We typically end the semester with a two-day mini-conference, complete with student panels and Q&A sessions. Over the course of the seminar, students learn how to design research questions, how to compile bibliographies, how to develop rigorous research practices, and how to construct compelling arguments. Above all, my goal as an instructor is to transform sociological research from a task presumed to be tedious to one that is useful, thought-provoking, and engaged with the world.

For the 2016-17 academic year, I was the Herbert Blumer Fellow for Teaching Excellence, Berkeley Sociology's most prestigious teaching award. As such, I co-taught the department's pedagogy class for new teaching assistants with Professor Cihan Tuğal. I also won the university's Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for 2017.

I have served as the instructor of record for an original undergraduate seminar called "Space and Power: A Global Sociology of Urban Planning." This course challenges the prevailing tendency of urban sociologists to take the urban environment as a given, instead focusing on how humans have intervened in physical space in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how this has in turn transformed social relations. As a global sociology of urban planning, this course focuses especially closely on Asian, African, and Latin American cities, comparing their developmental trajectories to cities in the US and Europe. The syllabus is available here.

In Fall 2015, I taught my second original course, "Absolutely Surplus: Social Exclusion in Contemporary Sociology." After a brief foray through classical social theories of social exclusion, we assessed the adequacy of recent sociological (as opposed to social theoretical) understandings of the same subject matter. We covered concepts such as "underclass," "precariat," "social death," "marginality," "informality," and many more. How do the insights of classical social theory speak to these sociological formulations and vice versa? What are the benefits and limits to each conceptualization of social exclusion? The syllabus is available here.

I also teach classes on race (syllabus here) and urban informality (syllabus here), and I am currently developing courses in political sociology, ethnographic methods, and the sociology of development.

In addition to teaching my own classes, I have worked as a teaching assistant for a variety of courses in both Sociology and related departments. Among these are:

  • Political Sociology (Laura Enriquez)
  • History of Sociological Theory: Sociology (Michael Burawoy)
  • History of Sociological Theory: Marxism (Michael Burawoy)
  • Classical Social Theory (Dylan Riley)
  • Contemporary Social Theory (Dylan Riley)
  • Contemporary Social Theory (John Lie)
  • History of Development and Underdevelopment (Gillian Hart)
  • Introduction to Social Theory and Contemporary Cultural Analysis (Gary Wren)

I have also served as the faculty advisor to the Latin@ Sociology Association.