Teaching

Here you will find a selection of syllabi for courses that I’ve designed and taught over the past years. Most of these courses focus on topics such as youth literatures, queer literature and media, teen cinema, gender studies, and queer theoretical approaches. You are welcome to download these syllabi for your own personal use.

Professors, teachers, educators, and librarians, please make sure to give me credit if you use any of my syllabi as inspiration for your own courses. If you are interested in including these syllabi as a resource in your website, course, or book, please contact via email or social media using the links listed above.

All of these syllabi were designed using a combination of Mac Pages, Adobe Photoshop, and Canva. The images and media used in these syllabi fall under the principles of fair, educational use since they are being used for noncommercial instruction, contribution to a field of knowledge, and curriculum-based purposes.


Gender and Sexuality in Teen Cinema – Revised and Updated – Online Course
(GSWS 2320/CINE 2141, Fall 2020)
Undergraduate course, Bowdoin College

Course Description: How does the figure of the teen reflect and mobilize different ideologies of gender, sexuality, and queerness in various genres of film? To what extent do contemporary sociocultural circumstances affect both the reception and interpretation of teen films produced throughout the decades? In this course, we will examine mainstream and independent cinema from the 1950s to the present in order to examine how they frame, approach, and at times misrepresent adolescent experience. We will pay close attention to how understandings of adolescence, gender, and sexuality have shifted over the decades, how teen sexuality is visually aestheticized, and how representations of gender and sexuality are inflected by other domains of identity, including race, ability, and class. In addition to learning how to “close read” these films, taking notions such as editing, sound, form, and style into consideration, we will also determine the extent to which queer and feminist approaches can unlock unprecedented and politically viable ways of critiquing these so-called “vapid” and “uncritical” cultural productions.


Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies – Online Course
(GSWS 1101, Fall 2020)
Introductory Undergraduate course, Bowdoin College

Course Description: This course is designed to provide you with both foundational critical frameworks and concepts for thinking about gender, sexuality, and identity through intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches. In addition to introducing you to fundamental ideas, questions, and debates present in these rapidly-changing fields of study, this course will provide you with a basic understanding of how these fields are practiced across a range of disciplines, including biology, media studies, history, anthropology, and environmental studies. My particular version of this course will focus on theory, application, and collaboration, and it is designed with the goal of disrupting conceptual binaries and hierarchies of knowledge. We will explore how gender and sexuality take shape in academic, personal, and popular discourses, and our learning will be informed by critical theory, pop culture, video games, academic articles, YouTube videos, visual texts, and everyday life. 


Gender and Sexuality in Teen Cinema (ENGL 503, Spring 2020)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: How does the figure of the teen reflect and mobilize different ideologies of gender, sexuality, and queerness in various genres of film? To what extent do contemporary sociocultural circumstances affect both the reception and interpretation of teen films produced throughout the decades? In this course, we will examine mainstream and independent cinema from the 1950s to the present in order to examine how they frame, approach, and at times misrepresent adolescent experience. We will pay close attention to how understandings of adolescence, gender, and sexuality have shifted over the decades, how teen sexuality is visually aestheticized, and how representations of gender and sexuality are inflected by other domains of identity, including race, ability, and class. In addition to learning how to “close read” these films, taking notions such as editing, sound, form, and style into consideration, we will also determine the extent to which queer and feminist approaches can unlock unprecedented and politically viable ways of critiquing these so-called “vapid” and “uncritical” cultural productions.


Queer Literature, Media, and Culture (ENGL 550, Spring 2020)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: What do different audiences expect from representations of queer thought and experience in contemporary literature and media? To what extent does a target audience affect the content, structure, and narrative complexity of a queer text? How do our own identities and experiences inform and affect the ways in which we read, interpret, and enjoy different texts? This course will focus on how queer experiences are shaped, organized, and aestheticized in different genres, fields, and contexts—including but not limited to novels, young adult literature, musicals, comics, and video games. We will not only examine how different target audiences affect the creation, distribution, and consumption of texts with queer characters, events, and themes, but we will also question many of the binaries and taxonomies that are held dear in various critical contexts. Special attention will be given to texts that focus on the coming out narrative, queer kinship, the AIDS crisis, queer youth cultures, and/ or the experiences of IPOC queer folk. We will also draw from queer theories and methodologies to conduct important and viable critiques of the texts that we examine.


Minority Experience and the Young Adult Novel (ENGL 502, Spring 2020)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: Young Adult (YA) literature is a pioneering field when it comes to diverse representations of identity and human experience. Nonetheless, the field is haunted by normative values and ideologies that often center the experiences of white, straight, able-bodied, middle-to-upper-class protagonists. In this course, we will challenge the YA field’s focus on normative identities and experiences by solely examining contemporary texts that focus on minority representation. Special attention given to how these representations often necessitate alternative and innovative forms of narration and storytelling. We will explore the normative ideologies that frequently inform the creation, distribution, criticism, and reception of YA literature, and we will develop a better understanding of the potential that YA literature possesses to highlight and validate different ways of existing in the world. The novels that we will examine will focus on characters and voices that are marginalized in the YA field, including the experiences of queer, transgender, Indigenous, Latinx, Black, and Persian protagonists. Furthermore, all of the texts that we will read in this course are “Own Voices” novels, meaning that the authors (either fully or partially) belong to the minority groups that they center in their texts.


Fantastic Teens (and Where to Find Them) (ENGL 502, Fall 2019)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: This course is a rigorous examination of contemporary young adult literature and media with speculative themes. It will focus on fantasy, dystopian, and science fiction texts, and as a collective, we will determine the capacity that these genres possess to shed light on precarious issues such as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism, settler colonialism, and poverty. Wherein lies the literary, political, and cultural importance of these young adult genres? To what extent can these novels push us to think critically about ourselves, our perspectives, our values, and our place in society? Why are these genres so popular today and to what extent do they reflect issues and concerns present in contemporary society? We will address these questions by interrogating texts that are focalized through a teen’s consciousness and experience, and in turn, we will debate the viability of approaching both real and fictional worlds through the eyes of teenagers from different walks of life. This course focuses heavily on matters of gender, sexuality, race, and queerness.


Ideologies of Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood (ENGL 401, Fall 2019)
Introductory general education course, San Diego State University

Course Description: Why are the divisions between developmental stages such as childhood, adolescence, and adulthood so difficult to sustain? Why are an increasing number of adults reading texts that are crafted with a younger audience in mind? How can youth literature push older readers to acknowledge the value of keeping your “inner-child” intact, and what do we even mean when referring to our “inner-child”? This course is a broad introduction to the overarching issues and ideological concerns that arise in the study of children’s and young adult literature. We will develop answers to the questions above by examining a series of “classic,” popular, and award-winning youth texts that interrogate, challenge, and/or subvert the dichotomy between childhood and adulthood. Furthermore, we will challenge the impulse to approach youth literature as “simple,” “unsophisticated,” and “didactic” by examining the literary and cultural merits of these texts. By the time the course is over, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of how complex, deep, and meaningful children’s and young adult literature can be.


Theorizing Queer Adolescent Literature (ENGL 727, Spring 2019)
Graduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: Much has changed in the landscape of queer adolescent literature since the publication of John Donovan’s young adult novel, I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip (1969), arguably the first text with queer content written for and read by teen audiences. Originally a niche genre of literature, queer young adult novels have become cornerstone texts in the field, reaching a previously unthinkable degree of admiration and celebration in both academic and popular contexts. How can queer adolescent literature push us to better appreciate different ways of existing, surviving, and thriving in heterocentric, patriarchal, and antiqueer cultures? To what extent can different branches of (queer) theory assist us in unpacking and examining the literary and radical potentiality of this increasingly mainstream subset of young adult literature? In order to effectively answer these questions, we will draw from different queer approaches— including queer affect studies, queer ecocriticism, queer of color critique, queer decolonization, and queer narratology—to examine different subgenres of contemporary queer adolescent literature. As a student in this class, you will develop an understanding of the literary, aesthetic, cultural, and historical issues that inform the creation and interpretation of queer adolescent literature, and you will develop a robust understanding of different queer theory approaches and their application towards the examination of various texts and cultural productions.


The Adolescent in Film (ENGL 503, Fall 2018)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: Why has the teen become such a prominent and celebrated figure in cinema from the mid-twentieth century onward? How does the figure of the adolescent reflect and mobilize different social and cultural concerns? Do teen films represent adolescence as a developmental period full of potential and promise, or as a phase that people must overcome? In this course, we will examine representations of adolescence in cinema from the 1980s to the present in order to address these (and other) questions. We will pay close attention to how understandings of adolescence have shifted over the decades, how adolescent thought and experience is visually aestheticized, and how teen representation is inflected by domains of identity such as gender, sexuality, race, ability, and class. We will also scrutinize the different stereotypes and social groups that have been represented in teen films, and develop a rigorous understanding of the different subgenres of teen cinema that have emerged over the decades, including the teen romance film, the teen comedy, the slasher film, and the high school film. We will conclude the course with an examination of film adaptations of young adult novels, and think carefully about the relationship between these adaptations and their source texts.


The Young Adult Novel, Then and Now (ENGL 502, Fall 2018)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: How have representations of adolescence transformed throughout the past decades in the field of Young Adult (YA) literature? To what extent do “classic” YA novels speak to the literary and cultural needs, desires, and expectations of our contemporary moment? What do we obtain from contemporary YA literature that was impossible to obtain from novels published years ago, and vice- versa? In this course, a series of “classic” YA novels will be paired with more recent texts that resonate thematically with these classics, and/or that use similar narrative techniques to aestheticize adolescent thought and experience. Through this comparative approach, we will better understand the similarities and differences that have characterized YA texts throughout time, and the traits that facilitate a novel’s placement within the YA tradition. We will develop a nuanced critical framework in order to determine what makes a YA novel “timeless,” culturally relevant, and innovative. Furthermore, we will closely examine the various intersections of queerness, gender, sexuality, race, and class represented in YA literature, and demonstrate how these intersections highlight the political and emotional viability of the field.


The Queer Young Adult Novel (ENGL 502, Spring 2018)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: This course focuses on representations of LGBTQ+ thought and experience in contemporary novels that are primarily written for (and marketed to) teens and young adults. Our approach to these novels will be informed primarily through the theoretical lenses of queer temporality and affect studies. We will examine the tensions that arise when authors try to implement radical queer frameworks in a genre that frequently pushes readers to embrace assimilationist and (hetero)normative values. We will also explore the emotional dimensions of queer young adult novels, and develop our own understanding of the political, cultural, and literary viability of these texts. What cultural work is accomplished by a “sad” or “happy” queer text? What are the potential political and literary consequences of implementing traditional forms of comfort and narrative closure in a queer young adult novel? Can we identify moments of happiness and optimism in these novels without succumbing to normative and neoliberal forms of reading and interpretation? To address these questions, we will explore representations of queer adolescence across various genres of young adult literature, including historical novels, graphic novels, science fiction, and fantasy.


Social Justice and Activism in Youth Literatures (ENGL 401, Spring 2018)
Introductory general education course, San Diego State University

Course Description: This course focuses on representations of LGBTQ+ thought and experience in contemporary novels that are primarily written for (and marketed to) teens and young adults. Our approach to these novels will be informed primarily through the theoretical lenses of queer temporality and affect studies. We will examine the tensions that arise when authors try to implement radical queer frameworks in a genre that frequently pushes readers to embrace assimilationist and (hetero)normative values. We will also explore the emotional dimensions of queer young adult novels, and develop our own understanding of the political, cultural, and literary viability of these texts. What cultural work is accomplished by a “sad” or “happy” queer text? What are the potential political and literary consequences of implementing traditional forms of comfort and narrative closure in a queer young adult novel? Can we identify moments of happiness and optimism in these novels without succumbing to normative and neoliberal forms of reading and interpretation? To address these questions, we will explore representations of queer adolescence across various genres of young adult literature, including historical novels, graphic novels, science fiction, and fantasy.


In Search of Queer Forms (ENGL 550, Fall 2017)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: To what extent does the representation of queer experience require the implementation of experimental or disruptive methods of narration and storytelling? What occurs when products of queer cultural production unsettle the boundaries that typically exist between the reader and text, the real and the imaginary, and the past, present, and future? In this course, we will examine how queer experience is shaped, organized, and aestheticized in different genres and contexts—including but not limited to novels, young adult fiction, graphic novels, picture books, and films. We will think through the ways in which queer representation pressures the organizing logics and reader-text interactions commonly taken for granted in conventional narrative modes. The themes that we will explore include temporality and futurity, space and place, fantasy and the imagination, and the non-human. A selection of theoretical and critical readings will challenge us to better understand how narrative and aesthetic practices can foster affective, political, and temporal resonances that nuance our understanding of queer thought.


Undoing Adolescence (ENGL 502, Fall 2017)
Advanced undergraduate course, San Diego State University

Course Description: Adolescence is a developmental period that is often approached as regulatory and assimilationist. In young adult novels, characters often struggle to leave behind childish dreams, behaviors, and attitudes in their quest to integrate into domains of adulthood that fetishize responsibility, productivity, and normativity. This course will problematize normative approaches to adolescence in two ways. During the first half of the course, we will examine realist novels that emphasize the emotional and political viability of adolescence— therefore troubling it as a developmental phase that should be temporary, escapable, and teleological. These texts will highlight the countercultural and queer potentiality of adolescence, especially through their celebration of notions such as malleability, fluidity, and rebellion against the status quo. During the second half of the course, we will examine speculative (sci-fi and fantasy) novels that pressure adolescence as a developmental category, in that they question who does or does not have the privilege to be an adolescent, and they dismantle normative approaches to growth and development.


Undoing Adolescence (ENGL 502, Fall 2017)
Intermediate undergraduate course, Bowdoin College

Course Description: How do literary texts communicate ideas that are supposed to be “unspeakable,” especially to a younger audience? In this course, we will explore contemporary young adult literature that represents the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer adolescents. We will not only scrutinize the complex relationship that exists between narrative, sexuality, gender, and audience, but we will also determine how certain genres and narrative modes enable or limit representations of queerness. Drawing from temporal and affective approaches to queer studies, we will examine the genre’s attempt to encapsulate an enduring change in terms of how queer adolescence is (or can be) represented, perceived, and experienced. Throughout this course, you will: (a) Explore how authors implement innovations of content and narrative form to represent contemporary queer adolescence; (b) Draw from queer theories and methodologies in order to conduct sophisticated critiques of texts with LGBTQ themes and content; (c) Understand the narrative and sociopolitical role of affect and temporality in queer young adult literature; (d) Engage with theorizations of the queer child/adolescent, and determine how contemporary young adult fiction complicates or reaffirms these categorizations.

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