Teaching

Courses Taught as Instructor of Record:


History of Bullshit. 

Fall, 2018.

Indiana University–Bloomington. Collins Honors College.

Course description:

Philosopher Harry Frankfurt describes “bullshit” as a claim made for a purpose that is indifferent to truth. If lying requires knowing what the truth is and disregarding it, then bullshitting means offering information without any regard for whether it’s true or not. For bullshitters, the only thing that matters is getting their message out. This course examines the mountains of bullshit that have become an unavoidable feature of modern American life, from so-called “fake news” to Holocaust deniers to your grandma’s email forwards. How did the United States get to the point where bullshit is so pervasive? How did people in the past grapple with it? Why do so many people believe it? And what can we, as informed citizens, do about it?

We will examine bullshit through a variety of lenses, including those of political scientists, cultural critics, psychologists, philosophers, historians, sociologists, communications scholars, journalists, literary critics, and more. Our goal will be to equip ourselves to recognize and fight a world of bullshit.

 

Revolutionary America.

Summer, 2017.

Indiana University–Bloomington. History Department.

As Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton has recently demonstrated, the world of the American Revolution was more than boring old men in wigs complaining about taxes. The American revolutionaries grappled with questions of race, gender, and class in ways that still affect U.S. society today. Moreover, the revolution as a shared national concept has inspired countless myths that American society continues to face.

This course offers an overview of the political, social, and cultural history of the American Revolution and its era. It focuses heavily on the lived experience of ordinary people, including women, Native peoples, and African Americans. Here are some of the questions we will be returning to throughout the course:

  • Causes: what caused the revolution? What was it about? What did words like “liberal,” “republican,” and “democracy” mean to the revolutionaries?
  • Ordinary people: how did non-elites, women, Native peoples, and African Americans shape the revolution? How did it affect their lives?
  • Geography and chronology: when and where was the revolution?

 


United States History Since 1877. 

Summer, 2016.

Purdue University­–Northwest. History Department.

Everything has a history. It is impossible to understand the United States in 2016 without appreciating modern American history. This course is designed to introduce you to the history of the United States since Reconstruction, while also demonstrating some of the connections between past and present.