Given recent events in the state of Florida and elsewhere in the country, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the discipline of gender studies is under attack. It is therefore critical that universities and the people within them work to preserve the space of the gender studies classroom by underlining its critical importance in our student’s everyday lives and futures. Gender studies, which also engages the issues of sexuality, race, class, and ability, has the potential to reveal broader modes of critical thinking about the hierarchal nature of society and culture, unlocking possibilities for new ways of interfacing with the world. My overall teaching philosophy takes this position as its starting point.
My teaching experience at both a majority-minority public R1 university, Georgia State (2016- 2017), and a private-elite university, Emory (2018-2024), during these political fraught times has given me the opportunity to draw on my background to create a varied and wholistic approach to pedagogy. I have designed my courses to serve as “social justice toolboxes” for students to access in order to make sense of the world and their lived experience through both theory and activism. In May 2022, I was awarded the Mellon Interventions Project Public Humanities Teaching Fellowship which funded the development of a public humanities-focused course of my own design titled The Sexual Politics of Hate. Throughout the course, student have been engaging in both individual and collectivized forms of public scholarship and/or activism, culminating in a final project in which they make a media project of their own design/creation. The overarching purpose of the class is to encourage critical thinking about the relationship between hate and its dissemination and to develop skills to effectively respond to and neutralize hate in the public sphere. As a Visiting Assistant Professor at Emory, I have developed two new courses: Feminist Media Studies and Critical Heterosexuality Studies. The develops student’s analytic skill set by introducing them taxonomies of interpretation and avenues of critique through both theory and example; and, in the second half of the course, students apply that skill set to assigned films, television, and digital media. The latter course takes a queer feminist to approach to its object – heterosexuality and heteronormativity – and explores its interpersonal, social, and political dimensions through a deep dive on concepts such as misogyny, heteropessimism, and biological determinism.
I strive to connect student’s experiences and prior knowledge to the class materials, along with bringing in current events in order to solidify the connection between theory and praxis, as my proposed course demonstrates. My experiences as a first-generation PhD graduate have shown me how important it is for first-gen students to have access to not only material support, but mentorship. In 2021-2022, I was a member of the inaugural First Generation Graduate Women’s Collective through the Emory Center for Women, which provided mentorship to first generation graduate students from across the university. I was also a member of First-Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP) which provides first generation graduate mentors to first generation undergraduate students.
As a Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I am uniquely positioned to both destabilize and broaden the perspectives of large groups of students. I understand that to be in a faculty position at an institution of higher learning comes with an enormous amount of power and privilege. I view it as my duty to use that power and privilege to lift up the academic voices of all students, but particularly those students from marginalized backgrounds. I firmly believe that, in doing so, I am playing a small but important role in the broader transformation of higher learning. I am eager to mentor students as a faculty advisor, committee member, and professor, as I believe that students with research backgrounds and interests different from mine have a great deal to teach me about Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as a discipline committed to interdisciplinarity. In sum, I believe diversity and inclusion in the classroom is critical for all universities dedicated to equity and social justice. All students regardless of race, class, gender, sexuality, or ability should have access to higher education in all its forms. My intense curiosity and impulse to trouble the day to day is why I am in academia and why I am eager to share my curiosity in ways that encourages and challenges students to develop their own unique voices.
Feminist and queer theory, intersex issues, LGBTQ and trans studies, intersectionality, Black feminism, identity formation and subjectivity, anti-foundationalism/anti-essentialism, emotion and activism, feminist negativity, hate groups, contextualizing radical feminism, State violence, settler colonialism, post-colonialism and decolonization, transnational struggle, critiques of feminism, and writing.
Emory University, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Visiting Assistant Professor for WGS 385:
Special Topics in WGS(W): The Sexual Politics of Hate; WGS 385: Special Topics in WGS: Feminist Media Studies; and WGS 300: Feminist Theory, Fall 2023; WGS 385: Critical Approaches to Heterosexuality; WGS 300: Feminist Theory, Spring 2023.
Emory University, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Teaching Fellow for WGS 385: Special
Topics in WGS: The Sexual Politics of Hate, Spring 2023.
Kennesaw State University, Interdisciplinary Studies Department. Instructor for GWST 3001: Feminist Theory (Online), Spring 2023.
Emory University, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Graduate Teaching Associate for Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS 200), Spring 2020 (in-person, moved online during COVID-19), Fall 2020 (online only), Fall 2021 (in-person).
Emory University, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Graduate Teaching Assistant for Gender Trouble (WGS 100), Deboleena Roy. Fall 2018.
Emory University, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Graduate Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Sexuality Studies (WGS 205), Kadji Amin. Spring 2019.
Georgia State University, Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Instructor of Record for Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS 2010). Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.