When my students are lawyers or teachers, and the intellectual leaders of their community, I want them to understand and explain their world, and that is not something that can be accomplished simply by remembering who Fredrik Barth was, or memorizing the intellectual antecedents to racial threat theory.

To facilitate transformation of sociological thought into understanding of the world, my courses are structured around current issues and the national dialogue. By the end of the quarter, I expect students to keep up with recent events and employ lecture material to explain these events.

Students learn best when lessons are relevant and experiential, so I build the class around the them. As I learn their backgrounds, research interests, learning styles and personalities, I provide in-class examples and select readings that match those interests. Tailoring the course in this way also helps address some of the sensitive and controversial topics we must deal with. The goal is a personal and interactive experience that connects students to the discipline of sociology.

specially enjoy introducing students to the logic of the everyday.

Consistent with my research, I believe we are our best selves when we are exposed to diverse ideas.  

Indigenous ways of knowing acknowledge that knowledge is community driven.


My classes are structure so that students learn as much from each other as from me.  They talk through complex issues, debate current social problems, and bring their personal experiences into the classroom.  They won’t always agree with each other (or me!).  And they shouldn’t.  The strength of society comes from it’s complexity.  Great minds do not think alike.

Students learn by doing. Since my simple and overriding goal is to encourage well-informed critical thinkers, my assignments are designed to develop these skills. Assignments require students develop the ability to understand public debates, evaluate each side fairly, form a well-considered opinion, and articulate it concisely.

My students have been successfully published in the Stanford Daily, the San Jose Mercury News, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Native American experience is complex and diverse. This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Native American Studies, focusing on indigenous peoples north of Mexico, their traditional cultures, histories, and their present day status and conditions.

The course examines how the modern structure of Native societies is a product of these historical trajectories as well as interactions with broader American institutions. Students will become familiar with the economic, political and legal structures of modern Native tribes, as well as the current economic and social experiences of Indians. Students will gain an understanding of sociological theory through an examination of Native America, as both a unique environment and as a representative case study of the inequality processes.

This course examines causes and consequences of inequality in American society. Lectures emphasize the mechanisms through which inequality develops and comes to be seen as legitimate, natural, and desirable. We will also examine the economic, social, and political consequences of rising inequality.

This course covers the economic, social, and political causes and consequence of class in America.

Specifically, this course examines the effects of class on culture, politics, social interaction, identity, social
psychology, and language, and emphasizes ways that social class shapes the background and experiences of current Northwestern students and what their future will hold.