Sample Courses

  • Native America through Ethnography The course investigates current American Indian societies and issues. Students will read recent ethnographies written by and about Native peoples that bring attention to critical issues such as nation-building, citizenship, identity, material culture, and sociopolitical movements. The course includes an overview U.S. Indian policy since contact, providing the historical context for understanding contemporary issues facing Native Nations today.
  • Anthropology of Environmental Justice An introduction to the Environmental Justice movement using an anthropological perspective, which considers Environmental Justice as a social movement and a body of critical scholarship. Environmental Justice offers a framework for examining human rights and ecological health in the contemporary world, making connections between race, ethnicity, gender, poverty, power, and environmental problems. Students will look at case studies from North Carolina while also taking a comparative perspective through international case studies.
  • Political Ecology and Sustainability An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of political ecology as an important critical approach in contemporary anthropology. The course uses in-depth examples to understand how current global issues like sustainability, conservation, and land management regimes can be critically engaged through the lenses of history and power. Students in the course will study several political ecology ethnographies to deepen their critical awareness of past and present struggles over land use, natural resources, and other embattled human-environment relationships.
  • Environmental Anthropology This course explores how anthropologists understand the human and cultural dimensions of environmental problems. Or, to put it another way, the intersection of nature and culture. Environmental anthropologists examine how different sociocultural groups – from hunter-gatherers in the Amazon to rangers in national parks in the United States – have conceptualized, categorized, valued, and acted upon the non-human world. We will explore theories, methods, and applications of environmental anthropology. The field examines issues of vital concern today: how humans shape and are shaped by our surroundings.
  • Culture, Energy, Power This course explores anthropological dimensions of energy, with energy understood as the power to utilize physical and natural resources. In particular, we will look at the cultural politics of energy production and consumption in North American and global contexts. Using anthropological approaches to science and technology, we will consider how energy is never solely a techno-scientific process, but is fundamentally a social practice, always embedded in complex, uneven relations of power. In other words, we consider how the production of “power” concerns the materiality of generating electricity, heat, nuclear weapons, and other sources of fuel from natural resources, but at the same time, also concerns the politics of infrastructure, human difference, and trans-local networks of social action.
  • Anthropology of Development This course offers an anthropological perspective on the critical study of national and international development projects. The anthropology of development puts questions of culture and human experience at the center of analysis. Through anthropological studies of the everyday life of development, we consider the lived consequences of development for those “being developed,” as well as for those advocating development. This ethnographic approach highlights the intimacies and materialities of development experiences.
  • Seminar in Native American/Indigenous Studies An upper-level seminar (offered at AppState and Cornell) that engages NAIS and settler colonial studies as a site for critical theory of the contemporary. Primary emphasis is North America with comparative literatures from Oceania.
  • History of Anthropological Ideas A critical examination of influential ideas and theories in cultural anthropology from the 19th century to contemporary theoretical schools, viewed in historical context and with a critical view of the “canon.”

My teaching has been recognized through induction into Appalachian State University’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers and being named a Faculty Member of Distinction.

I have also received the Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars Grant to create a collaborative curriculum for a field-based learning experience for Appalachian students with community-based researchers and environmental justice leaders through the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.