I pursued a career as a teacher and scholar of politics out of a conviction that a serious education in political ideas can serve as an essential foundation for citizenship in a liberal-constitutional order. More than other types of regimes, I think republics and democracies require citizens that can articulate their rights and duties, and believe in their society’s principles enough to act upon that understanding. In my classes at Montclair State, I pose questions that force students to move beyond summarizing facts. I give my students the freedom and responsibility to develop their own interpretative responses to both course material and one another’s claims in class. By avoiding long in-class lectures in favor of discussion and focusing my students’ attention on important texts, I hope to build their skills in analysis and interpretation, and thus, their confidence in their own intellectual abilities.
Below I provide syllabi for a selection of courses I have taught at Montclair State.
This course serves both our major and minor as a required starting point to the field and as a general education class. Each of these iterations is quite different: in the first, I focused the class around themes in political economy; in the second, online course, I used films alongside accessible texts to provoke conversation.
I teach this subfield introduction course a little differently than most people, using a mix of great works of international thought, history, and recent work in international relations.
I teach my department’s introduction to political thought course a little differently each semester to discourage cheating and keep myself engaged in the material. Some semesters I proceed in a chronological order; others I approach conceptually or primarily through contemporary works. These are two representative examples.
Great Books and Ideas II (What Sustains Liberty?), Spring 2013
This freshman Honors Program seminar was supported by the NEH Enduring Questions grant program, and allowed me the chance to develop a course using great texts in literature, philosophy, and politics around the question “What Sustains Liberty?”
Globalization and Security, Fall 2012
This class mixed discussions focused on philosophical political economy with problems in international security.
The Politics and Morality of War, Spring 2014
I framed this class as an historical introduction to the just war tradition and its major critics.
War and International Security, Summer 2014
This six-week online course briefly introduced students to concepts in international security and strategic history.
The Politics of Science Fiction, Spring 2015
This class paired major works of science fiction with thematically-appropriate works of political thought and social science.