My areas of specialization in teaching include: political geography, cultural geography, settler colonial studies, globalization and regional development, border and mobility studies, and Palestine/Israel.
I am committed to diversity, inclusivity, and equity in the classroom, in my research, and in academia and society more broadly. Through an emphasis on unequal interconnections between people and places across the globe, I push my students to think about their social and environmental responsibility as global citizens. I shape my classroom around the idea that “Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard.” My goal is for every student to feel like they belong in the classroom. My teaching is also shaped by my belief that we all learn in different ways and have assorted strengths and capabilities, and I strive to create a supportive learning environment for students from a range of different backgrounds, as well as students living with disabilities and students with targeted (as opposed to dominant) dimensions of identity. My teaching philosophy emphasizes community, mutual respect, and proactivity. Pedagogically, this means building a classroom culture around what I think of as the ABC’s of a diverse and inclusive active-learning community: Affirming identity, Building community, and Cultivating leadership (developed from Beverly Daniel Tatum’s ABC’s).
Building an International NGO: Migrant Advocacy Edition (Service Learning Course, Assistant Professor, Fall 2019)
This learning experience provides a critical examination of the structure, workings, and politics of international agencies, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots organizations working locally and across borders on current issues around migration and migrant advocacy. Students will also complete their upper division service learning requirement at local organizations. The interchange between experience and reflection is at the heart of Service Learning, and GS380S is a project-based service learning course, focused on learning while doing, and applying what we learn. This course is organized in three parts: in Part 1, we introduce service learning, NGOs, and migration; in Part 2, we cover “the issue”—the voluntary and involuntary movement of people around the globe, along with guest lectures from organizers and advocates; and in Part 3 we work in groups to design our own organizations and tackle important global issues at the local level, along with case studies of various organizations working in migrants’ rights.
Understanding Globalization (Assistant Professor, Fall 2019)
Globalization has been said to cause everything from rising living standards to rising inequality, from global cooperation to environmental disaster, from the transcendence of borders to the proliferation of border walls. Yet what, exactly, defines globalization? How new is it? Does it take just one, or many different forms? Often said to be inevitable, the past few decades have, nevertheless, witnessed increasing challenges to globalization: terrorism, climate change, migrant and refugee crises, global financial crises, and resurgent nationalisms. This course is designed to provide students with a nuanced historical understanding of the interconnected processes that have shaped both growing global integration and uneven development. This course examines contemporary and historical processes of globalization from a variety of perspectives: conceptual, historical, geographic, economic, political, cultural, and sociological; and examines how globalization is experienced differentially depending on things like place, class, race, and citizenship.
Cities of the Middle East (Postdoctoral Scholar - Teaching Fellow, Spring 2019)
Cities are dynamic landscapes informed by myriad economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural processes. They are home to over half the world’s population, consume a majority of its resources, and cause a large share of its waste. Cities are both a challenge for global sustainability and crucial for its solution. This course delves into the forces of urbanization and examines how cities have been investigated, built, experienced, and lived in, with a regional focus on the Middle East (broadly defined). In the last few decades, the Middle East has experienced one of the highest rates of urbanization in the world. Combined with one of the highest birth rates and a high rate of foreign migrant labor, the region’s urban population has grown too fast for the dated urban infrastructure. This has led to a number of crises in housing, water and power supply, education, and transportation, to say nothing of garbage and pollution. In addition, vast construction projects launched from Beirut to Dubai, Cairo to Istanbul, Tehran to Casablanca, are creating additional stresses on existing systems. By accenting a geographic perspective and drawing upon an array of theoretical ideas and empirical examples, this class grapples with the fascinating complexities of the urban context. In particular, we examine the concepts of “sustainable urbanism” and environmental justice in the Middle East, and whether or not urban development can, in fact, be “green.”
The US and the Middle East (Postdoctoral Scholar - Teaching Fellow, Spring 2019)
In this class we examine various aspects of the relationship between the US and the peoples and countries of the Middle East (broadly conceived), post-9/11. The class is split into two parts: in the first part of the class, we examine the experience of peoples of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) descent and of Muslim heritage in the United States through the lens of cultural geography. Cultural geographers are interested in the social and cultural dynamics of relationships between people and their environments—in particular, we examine how relations of power shape cultural and spatial processes for MENA-identified folks in the US. In the second part of the class, we will examine recent US interventions in the Middle East through the lens of political geography and geopolitics. Political geographers are interested in the uneven distribution of political power around the world—how it is produced and the consequences for human populations. Throughout the course, we will examine issues around identity, sovereignty, imperialism, and territory in a post-9/11 world.
Power and Authority in the Middle East (Postdoctoral Scholar - Teaching Fellow, Fall 2018)
In this class we will examine the relationship between power, knowledge, and authority, centered on the Middle East (broadly defined). Typically when we think of power and authority, we think of hard power (military force, for example), but in this course we will also examine the violence of “soft power” in relation to the region. In the course, after an introduction to theories of power/authority/knowledge, we will move through four broad themes: (1) Constructing the Middle East (how the Middle East came to be “known” as a region); (2) Representing the Middle East (examining Western representations and stereotypes about “the Middle East”); (3) Sovereignty in the Middle East (examining conceptions of sovereignty and the emergence of modern Middle East states); and (4) Greening the Middle East (examining environmental racism and sustainability/climate-change mitigation in the Middle East). Throughout, we will be asking ourselves who gets to be an authority on “the Middle East.”
Cities in a Global Context (Visiting Lecturer, Spring 2018)
Cities are dynamic landscapes informed by myriad economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural processes. This course delves into the forces of urbanization and examines how cities have been investigated, built, experienced, and lived in throughout history and around the globe. By accenting a geographic perspective and drawing upon an array of theoretical ideas and empirical examples, this class grapples with the fascinating complexities of the urban context.
Comparative Settler Colonial Studies: Land, the ‘Logic of Elimination,’ and Structures of Race (Visiting Lecturer, Spring 2018)
This seminar focuses on the spatial practices and place-based implications of settler colonialism as distinct from (metropole) colonialism. Through a series of case studies beginning in the 17th century, this course delves into the evolution of settler colonial framework(s) and theory, the structuring similarities of settler formations across space and time, and the way race continues to structure relationships (between people and to the land) in settler colonial contexts. Additional course themes include: the exploitation of land vs. labor, the conflict between settlers and natives and the “logic of elimination,” colonization as a structure vs. event, the relationship between settler colonialism and the emergence of (global) capitalism, historical precursors to the field of comparative settler colonialism, and critiques of the field. Throughout the course, analyses will emphasize the territorial dimensions, strategies, and aspirations of settler colonialism. Among the geographies discussed in the seminar are America (North and South), Australasia, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine.
Cultural Geography: Place, Power, and Positioning (Visiting Lecturer, Spring 2018)
Why do people act in certain ways in certain places? Why does the urban landscape look the way it does? How do consumer goods link people’s lives around the world? If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, you have already started thinking like a cultural geographer. Cultural geographers are interested in the relationships between people and their environments, and particularly in the cultural and social dynamics of these relationships. In this class, you will develop an understanding of some of ways cultural geographers think about the world, and you will gain a basic familiarity with some of the conceptual tools, theories, and methods of the field. Major themes include: culture, power, place, landscape, ethnography, and social and environmental justice. We will learn how to identify cultural and spatial processes, consider how relations of power shape these processes, and explore how these relationships differentially impact people’s lives. We will also explore how spaces and places are culturally, and unequally, made. Throughout the course, emphasis will be given to local and global interconnections and unequal power relations across space.
This class is heavily oriented towards social and environmental justice. The first half of the course will focus on questions of culture, power, and place. We will learn to identify cultural and spatial processes, consider how relations of power shape these processes, and explore how they differentially impact people’s lives. We will also explore how spaces and places are culturally, and unequally, made. In the course of these explorations, you will learn what cultural geographers mean when they use words like “space,” “place,” and “landscape.” In the second half of the course, we will turn to questions of the global. We will first consider the politics of environmentalism and assumptions about nature. Then we will focus on transnational migration and commodity chains as forms of global interconnection, considering the kinds of spatial relationships they involve. By the end of the course, you will be able to answer the question, “What is cultural geography?” and, hopefully, you will see cultural geographies everywhere!
Independent Study: Black Geographies (Visiting Lecturer, Spring 2018)
World Regional Geography (Visiting Lecturer, Fall 2017)
This course surveys the major geographic regions of the world in terms of environmental features and resource distributions, economic mainstays, population characteristics, cultural processes, social relationships, and patterns of urbanization and industrial growth. We will also critically assess the usefulness of “thinking regionally” about the world, and different ways of defining regions. In addition to these topical foci, we use various sub-fields of geography to animate different regions. This approach provides a sense of depth while we also pursue a breadth of knowledge about the world.
Global Movements: Migrations, Refugees, & Diasporas (Visiting Lecturer, Fall 2017)
The voluntary and involuntary movement of people around the globe is the core focus of this course on migrations, refugees, and diasporas. Questions of borders, nativism, transnationalism, the global economy, and legality thread through this class as we consider the many social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political factors shaping decisions to leave a home or homeland. Creative works, case studies, theoretical texts, and geographic perspectives on these topics collectively animate our discussions.
Introduction to International and Area Studies (Lecturer, Summer Session A 2017)
Introduction to International and Area Studies is designed to introduce students to the international studies curriculum. The goal is to illuminate the profoundly international and regional character of the world we live in, and to cover a number of contemporary issues and challenges with global implications. Most of these topics can be studied in greater depth in upper division thematic courses at UCLA. And many of them will reappear in upper division area-studies focused courses as well. The first section covers political and economic issues central to international studies such as democratization and economic development. The second half of the course focuses on social and cultural issues with a global significance such as transnational migration and climate change.
Border Studies: mobility, (extra)territoriality & sovereignty in a globalizing world (Teaching Fellow & Instructor of Record, Spring 2017)
This course considers theory and modern issues in border studies in Political Geography and related disciplines, and provides insights into research methodologies in the field. In an era of globalization, free trade, and increasing integration, in this course we will analyze the function and effects of bordering practices and transnational mobility in the contemporary, globalized world. It analyzes the impacts, imagined and real, of globalization on the modern sovereign state system, the practice of bordering around the world, and the relative (im)mobility of various groups and peoples. Among other topics, the course will explore: challenges to the sovereign state system, the securitization and externalization of borders both discursively and in practice, and immigration and mobility. Throughout the course we will apply theoretical concepts from political and cultural geography to contemporary geopolitical events. We will also analyze multidisciplinary studies of the continuing significance of borders—not just the line on the map, but more dynamic and functional processes of bordering within the wider realms of society and space, including invisible borders that separate groups.
Introduction to Cultural Geography (Teaching Associate, Fall 2015; Teaching Fellow & Instructor of Record, Summer Session A 2016)
Why do people act in certain ways in certain places? Why does the urban landscape look the way it does? How do consumer goods link people’s lives around the world? If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, you have already started thinking like a cultural geographer. Cultural geographers are interested in the relationships between people and their environments, and particularly in the cultural and social dynamics of these relationships. In this class, you will develop an understanding of some of the ways cultural geographers think about the world, and you will gain a basic familiarity with some of the conceptual tools that they use.
Globalization: Regional Development and the World Economy (Teaching Assistant Spring 2015; Teaching Associate, Spring 2016)
This course provides an introduction to the uneven geographies of economic globalization today, in the context of longer-term developments. By economic globalization (the economic being just one vector of globalization), I mean the ways in which our increasingly inter-connected world has been shaped by a variety of economic processes: The emergence of capitalism as the dominant way of organizing an economy, national and regional economic growth and development, class, gender and race and economic inequality, and economic interconnections (movements of commodities, people, money, corporations, labor, etc.). As geographers, we look at spatial aspects of these processes: Differences and inequality across and between places, the shifting influence and nature of different geographical scales (from the body to the globe), and the networks, mobilities and connectivities linking places. By uneven geographies, I mean that globalization is not producing a flat world in which everything is equally possible everywhere; difference and inequality remain pervasive (characterized by increasingly complex geographies).
Political Geography (Teaching Assistant Winter 2015; Teaching Associate, Winter 2016)
Political geography is about the uneven distribution of political power around the world: how it is produced and the consequences for human populations. Political power is manifested geographically in the definition of boundaries between states, in the control exercised by more powerful states and empires over less powerful ones, in the origins and spread of political and social movements, and in the identifications people make between themselves and the territories and places they inhabit. Political geographers thus study the following topics: the spatiality (or geographical organization) of polities, geopolitics (or geographies of international relations), place and politics, and geographies of nationalism and ethnic conflicts. They study these in different ways depending on their theoretical views about geographical space, history, and political power. The purpose of this course is to introduce each of the topics by looking at how they have been studied from the three broad theoretical perspectives that dominate the field: the spatial-analytic, the political-economic, and the postmodern. At the end of the course you should have an understanding of the scope of contemporary political geography, how it has developed, and the main ways in which scholars have studies its main topics.