Teaching

My teaching interests and experience range widely across the history and social thought of modern Europe and the Islamicate world. My courses combine close textual analysis with opportunities for broad historical thinking, and train students to think and act like scholars, probing the foundations of scholarly consensus and reflecting critically on the assumptions that structure their findings.

At the University of Chicago, I designed a course on Islamic Political Thought in the Global Era [PDF] built around a selection of primary sources that allowed students to trace the development of competing ideological strains in global Muslim thought from 19th-century Cairo to 21st-century Birmingham. The course was featured in Tableau, the magazine of the University’s Humanities Division.

I have also taught in the University’s Classics of Social and Political Thought sequence, designed to introduce first- and second-year undergraduates to the problems and approaches of European social theory from Plato to Beauvoir. Two of the syllabi I designed can be found here: on Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau (and Pateman and Mills) [PDF], and on Wollstonecraft, Tocqueville, Marx, Nietzsche, Du Bois and Beauvoir [PDF].  My other experience includes assistant-teaching a survey course on the history of the modern Middle East within the University’s Islamic History and Society sequence and a first-year undergraduate seminar on Readings in World Literature.

From 2015 to 2017, I helped lead the Race and Pedagogy Working Group, dedicated to cultivating new pedagogical tools and approaches for teaching about race across the disciplines. At the same time, I was a teaching consultant and then a fellow with the Chicago Center for Teaching, where I helped design and lead workshops on syllabus design and inclusive classroom practices, including a series on “Fundamentals of Teaching in the Humanities.” All that thinking and teaching about pedagogy led me to a number of reflections that are gathered at Inside Higher Ed. (Here is a link to my favorite one: “When I first started teaching college students, I was pretty sure I knew how to handle them….”)

My courses emphasize the practice of writing as an essential tool for thinking: they include short public reflections, carefully scaffolded longer projects, and plenty of reading and commenting on peers’ drafts. These techniques are ones I developed as an instructor of Academic and Professional Writing with the University of Chicago’s Writing Program, where I learned to put the reader first and teach my students to do the same. My guide to essay-writing for students is available here: Guide to Writing, Revising, and Submitting Essays [PDF].