While I currently hold a full-time position with ICESA, I continue to enjoy teaching courses at American University. I transformed my traditional in-person "Gender and Violence" course into an online class, and I have also developed a new online course called "Gender, Violence, and Inequality."
Feminist values strongly influence my teaching style; I value the inclusion of numerous diverse voices in the classroom. At the same time, I urge students to self-reflectively explore how their voices come from differing levels of privilege and power, and I actively encourage students to think about how their presentations of self in the classroom reflect the ways in which culture has influenced them, and the ways in which they interact with other students. Because I teach courses that are emotionally taxing and psychologically triggering, I continually remind my students of the importance of paying attention to our emotions and our responses to what we are reading and learning about. Students often tell me that I am the only professor they've ever had who has expressed an interest in their emotional wellbeing, and that they appreciate the self-care practices that I incorporate into our classes and assignments.
As a socialist feminist educator and researcher, I am particularly committed to combatting cultural myths about prostitution and pornography as forms of "empowerment" for women and disenfranchised people. My firm opposition to varying and insidious forms of sexual exploitation is based on decades of scholarly research, as well as my own professional experiences conducting research with incarcerated women, and serving as a rape crisis counselor in two different major metropolitan areas. (You can find great reading lists about the harms of pornography here and here, and reading lists about the harms of prostitution here and here). I view prostitution and pornography as forms of violence against women and children, and I believe that men should be held accountable for the profoundly central role that they play in maintaining sexually exploitative industries. I publicly support the Nordic Model as a best practice model for responding to prostitution and protecting the women, children, and men who are routinely victimized by sex buyers, traffickers, and pimps. As a lifelong feminist and someone who has worked to end violence against women since 2001, I am deeply troubled by the hositility, name-calling, and reactionary culture of our current "fourth wave feminism." It saddens me that people who speak out against pornography and prostitution are depicted as "anti-feminist" when the reality is, quite simply, the opposite: pornography and prostitution are obvious products of patriarchy, and are profoundly harmful to women, children, men, and our society as a whole. However, we now have entire generations of women and men who have been indoctrinated by our "pornified" society, and it appears to be increasingly difficult for many people to engage in rational, polite, and evidence-based discussions about how pornography and prostitution harm women and children.
Over the past few semesters, I have begun to introduce articles about the harms of prostitution into my classes. Not surprisingly, several of my students have stated that my courses were the first time they had been exposed to the ideas that prostitution is harmful, capitalism is inherently exploitative, and "sex work" within capitalism is a form of patriarchal oppression. As a feminist educator, I believe that all faculty members who teach about violence, gender, and/or sexuality have a responsibilty to help their students learn about the many decades of research that document the harms of prostitution and pornography. However, both within and outside of academia, it seems that many people have fully succumbed to the enticing anti-feminist propaganda of our pornified society. I take my responsibilty as an educator very seriously, and I believe that my students deserve to be well-educated about connections between violence against women and sexually exploitative industries. Three readings that you may find particularly helpful for your own education can be found here: Christine Overall, Laurie Shrage, and Kathy Miriam. Each of these articles played a fundamental role in helping me articulate my concerns about prostitution as a form of violence against women.
Below, you will find a copy of all my syllabi. You are welcome to adapt these syllabi for your own courses or trainings. If you duplicate my courses, please be sure to give me proper credit; I have invested significant time and energy in carefully designing my classes and selecting readings and documentaries. Please email me if you have any questions or comments about my syllabi or if you are interested in discussing pedagogy with me.