At a small liberal arts university, I use feminist pedagogy to place my students at the center of their learning experience. I teach a broad range of subjects spanning the course of American history, with a specific emphasis on race, gender, and sexuality in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Below is a sampling of courses I have taught over the last decade.
GENDER, WOMEN, AND SEXUALITY
● GWSS 219: Introduction to Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
This course examines conflicting definitions of gender in the contemporary U.S., analyzing general patterns. Differences in the definitions of womanhood and manhood are discussed along with the variety of women’s experiences and perspectives.
● HIST 101: History of American Sexuality
Students in this introductory course examine the political, cultural, and social construction of sexuality from the colonial period through 20th century America. Students consider how evolving understandings of sexuality have intersected with race, class, and gender. Topics include the evolution of heterosexual and LGBTQ+ identities, courtship and dating, reproduction, and medicine.
● HIST 352: US History of Women
This writing-intensive course surveys the history of American women from European contact to the present, paying special attention to the diversity of women’s experiences as they have been shaped by race, class, gender, and sexual identity. Through topics such as women’s relationship to the law, social policy, work, the family, sexuality, activism, and evolving conceptions of womanhood, students explore how American women have both influenced and been influenced by the political, economic, social, and cultural development of American civilization.
● GWSS 391: Internship
Students apply knowledge and theories gained through previous WGS coursework to a hands-on work experience off campus at an approved organization that focuses on gender, sexuality and/or women. This experience should help students identify careers that they would like to pursue and network with other professionals in the field.
In 2016, I supervised WGS major and History minor Taylor Nichols’ internship at Planned Parenthood. Here she presents a poster on her experience at an undergraduate research symposium. After completing her internship, Taylor went on to complete her Master’s degree in Women’s Studies at Towson University and is currently the Program Coordinator at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at The University of Virginia.
● HIST 440: Big Brother and the Bedroom
Students explore the historical relationship between the U.S. government and Americans’ private sex lives as the two concepts converge from the seventeenth century through the twentieth. Students examine a range of topics, including marriage, sex work, sexual orientation, contraception, and censorship
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY and RACE IN AMERICA
● HON 205: Leadership and Literature in the Civil Rights Movement
This honors course examines the characteristics of effective and ethical leadership by exploring the personal lives, traits, practices, and disciplines of leaders of the Long Civil Rights Movement.
● HIST 234: African American Life Since the Civil War
This course focuses on the major ideas, individuals, and institutions in African American history from the end of the Civil War to the present. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to consider the relationship between African American history and American history more broadly.
● HIST 349: Race in the American City
Using case studies of specific groups in major American cities, this course examines how race has played a major role in defining the physical, cultural, and political environment of American cities from the colonial period to the late twentieth century. The course ends with an up-close examination of our own city, Norfolk, Virginia.
● HIST 400: The American Civil Rights Movement
Everyone recognizes Martin, Malcolm, and Rosa. But countless other civil rights activists and organizations remain largely unknown. This upper-level seminar takes a broad look at the origins and evolution of the Long Black Freedom Struggle, beginning with the premise that the movement began long before the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. The course explores the differences and parallels between the philosophies of armed resistance and non-violence, and investigates the dynamic histories of organizations like the NAACP, UNIA, CORE, SNCC, and the Black Panther Party.
SPECIAL TOPICS COURSES
● HIST 101: Apparel in American History
Clothing allows us to blend in with others, stand out in a group, and express a unique sense of ourselves. But it can also speak volumes about changing values over time. With a specific emphasis on gender, race, and class, this course examines how clothing and apparel has been produced, advertised, and worn from the seventeenth through the twentieth century.
● HIST 101: The Pursuit of Pleasure: A History of Fun in America
This course examines the experience of Americans pursing pleasure. Focusing on dime museums, dance halls, amusement parks, theaters and sports arenas, students explore how different generations have defined “fun,” asking what leisure reveals about how Americans understood themselves, their nation, and their political, social and economic circumstances.
● HIST 349: Reinterpreting the Roaring Twenties
This course examines cultural debates over gender roles, racial ideologies, the sexual revolution, technological change, and the music and literature that caused controversy in the 1920s. It concludes by considering the American obsession with the “Jazz Age,” studying the contrast between the realities and romantic myths surrounding this provocative period in American history.
HISTORICAL METHODS and PUBLIC HISTORY
● HIST 260: Introduction to Historiography
Students learn how to find and interpret a variety of primary and secondary sources and examine how different scholars, writing in different times and places, use a variety of methods to represent and interpret the same events in strikingly different ways.
● HIST 337: Museums, Monuments, and Memorials
This course introduces students to the ideas and methods public historians use and the ways in which they grapple with the challenges of interpreting and representing history in a variety of settings. Students meet local practitioners and explore the ways that history is used (and sometimes misused) in public forums.