Teaching

Teaching Fields: Early Modern Europe & World (proficient in Medieval & Modern as well); French History; Social History; History of Childhood, Children, & Youth; Gender & Sexuality; History of Education; History of Social Reform; Early Modern European State-Building; History of Commodities & Exchanges; Economic History; Labor History; Renaissance/Reformation; Tudor & Stuart England; Age of Revolutions; Atlantic History.

I am also capable and prepared to teach on many other topics of cultural, political, and economic history in the early modern era.

Teaching Statement:

As a historian and educator, I emphasize that though the past is irretrievable, the past is still incredibly relevant. Being able to draw connections or contrasts to past social, cultural, religious, economic, and political movements helps students understand both the ephemeral and lasting effects that even the most mundane actions have on history. I strive to teach students not only about a time period and society much different from their own (or perhaps more similar than they realized), but also about the practicality of history’s transferable skills.

At Utah State University and The University of Texas at Austin, I taught a diverse student population in a variety of settings.  At USU, I am an Assistant Professor of History and Honors Education.  In Fall 2017, I am teaching HIST 1110: Foundations of Western Civ: Modern and HONS 1320: Revolution!: Reacting to Atlantic Revolutions.  At UT, I served as a Lecturer, Supplemental Instructor & Supervisor, and Teaching Assistant. I have experience teaching in one-on-one tutorials, seminars, and large lectures. Through my role as a Supplemental Instruction Supervisor, I was formally trained in emerging and classical pedagogy in order to teach other Graduate Instructors about new teaching methods and best practices.

In my classes, I aim to make my students, whether majors or non-majors, critical thinkers capable of effectively reading and engaging with a variety of sources on a historical process, sagely analyzing those sources, and cogently articulating their responses both in written assignments and orally. To foster these practical skills my students engage with a variety of primary and secondary sources. In addition to printed primary sources, my students also examine digital primary sources, such at the Old Bailey Court records, documents from Fordham University’s Internet Medieval and Modern Sourcebooks, The John Carter Brown Library’s extensive digital map collection, and the Virginia Foundation’s Atlantic Slavery Collection. These digital collections allow students to immerse themselves in a particular theme or historical problem, exploring varied types of evidence such as manuscripts, legal cases, portraits, pamphlets, songs, and even pieces of material culture. Exposing students to various types of primary sources helps them understand how history is not simply a narrative written in documents, but is an interpretive field with many different types of evidence.

Old Bailey Court, circa 1808

Old Bailey Court, circa 1808

Digital sources are also excellent examples of how our current world is experiencing a digital revolution similar to the early modern world’s print revolution. Information can now be accessed and created more easily and faster than ever before. With the myriad advantages that come from open-access, there are also a number of disadvantages, namely digital illiteracy. Although digital tools can be helpful to students when applied correctly, students often do not know how to wield them. Therefore, in addition to using digital sources in my classes, I organize activities and assignments that foster digital literacy.

Students in my “Global Early Modern Europe” course built their digital literacy through the creation of a collaborative map and database of the early modern world in Fall 2015. Using Google Maps and Google Docs, students charted the transmission and exchange of goods, people, ideologies, and cultures across the globe from 1400 to 1800. Every student was responsible for at least four entries, each at around 200 words, throughout the semester. Much like identification terms on examinations, these entries explained the historical significance of the subject, the date(s), and connections to the historical narrative and other entries in the map. Students were encouraged to check each other’s work and make revisions as necessary. Entries were added to the map as well as to an Excel file in Google Docs. Students used this Excel file as a study guide of sorts, helping them review important key terms and ideas. This exercise not only fostered digital literacy of mapping software, Microsoft Excel, and the Google Drive, it also taught them about collaborative projects, organization, and verification of online text. Furthermore, for visual learners, this map served as a visual representation of how interconnected Europe was with the rest of the world in the early modern era. To learn more about this assignment, class, and see the map in real time, visit the Mapping the Early Modern World page.  The success of this project in a survey course led me to develop another digital activity in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, Food in the West.  Students in my Modern Western Civilization course created a digital timeline of the history of food and food ephemera from 1500 to the present day.  In groups, students chose 3 food-related items (food, utensils, recipes, appliances, etc) and wrote 200-word entries.  By having students examine what people ate at different points in time, we can tell both what food was “in style” and also a lot about the economic conditions, social mores, political conflicts, religious issues, and nutrition. To learn more about this project see: Food in the West.  My upper division courses also have digital literacy assignments.  For example, in Spring 2016 and Spring 2017, students in my “Witches, Workers, & Wives” courses built digital timelines as a class archive of witchcraft trials across early modern Europe and America.  To learn more about this project, visit the Spellbinding Timeline page.

As a digital humanist, I am committed to cultivating new digital techniques and resources in all of my classes.  This is an area where my teaching becomes part of my research.  Over summer and fall 2017, with the assistance of an undergrad research fellow (sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Summer Mentorship Grant), I will begin experimenting with GIS to map the migration of young French women who arrived in Louisiana in 1720.  Using census, birth, and marriage records, I will examine how young women sent to Louisiana from Paris helped to build the French population in the eighteenth-century Gulf South.  Furthermore, at USU, I helped found the Digital Humanities Working Group, or DH@USU which highlights emerging research and scholarship in digital humanities across campus. DH@USU will host the DHU3 Conference (Digital Humanities Utah) in Spring 2018 where I hope to build a significant cohort of Utahan scholars interested in digital humanities in the classroom.

As my mapping and timeline exercises demonstrate, I am a strong proponent for active learning in the classroom and organize activities that will engage many different learning styles. For example, in my Western Civilizations course, my students practiced evaluating documents’ bias and reliability through a “historical scavenger hunt” at the library. That week we spent two sessions at the library. The first session was Booksdevoted to learning about the library system itself – how books are cataloged, how to find sources using the catalog system, and how to use various databases like JStor and EBSCO. Since many of my students were first and second year students, these practical skills were much needed. For the students who were more advanced in their skills, I had them learn about other resources and tools that the library offered, like Zotero, which can benefit their studies. The second class put those skills into action. After we formulated different criteria for evaluating sources together, students selected primary and secondary source documents for their research projects at the library. Using these criteria, in small groups, students justified their choices to their peers. This activity not only put the students in charge of their own learning in small groups, but also taught students about source biases, different kinds of evidence, historiography, and about the library system. Simultaneously, it developed their critical thinking and analytical skills while forcing them to practice oral presentations.

My overall goals are to provide students both with a solid education in a particular historical time period as well as with transferable skills to be well-rounded citizens of a global world. Although students need strong critical thinking, analytic, and oral skills to succeed in a history course, these skills can also be transferred to a wide variety of disciplines and to students’ eventual professional lives. I am ready to offer a wide range of undergraduate courses in European, Atlantic, and comparative world history. In addition to teaching survey courses such as Global Early Modern Europe; World Civilizations: The Pre-Modern World; World Civilizations: The Modern World; Western Civilizations I & II; Europe in the Age of the Renaissance & Reformation; or The Atlantic World, I can teach upper-division courses on a variety of topics with a special focus on social history, especially childhood, gender, family history, education, and social reform. I would be excited to teach courses that provide insight into the history of education and pedagogy such as Ruling by Schooling: A History of Early Modern Education; The Rise of the Modern University; or Growing Up in Europe, 1500-1900. As my work touches on many fields of history, I am also happy to teach other courses in economic, intellectual, political, cultural, religious, and legal history. From my experience as a Graduate Mentor in the Intellectual Entrepreneurship program at UT and as a Supplemental Instructor Supervisor, I am trained to supervise and teach both undergraduate and graduate students. I am also a highly experienced organizer, leader, and teacher in study abroad programs due to my positions for seven years as Assistant Director in Southern Methodist University’s summer program in Paris, France.

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