In this section are three proposed classes, of the type that I might teach as a member of a history department. I have included these syllabi to give a more rounded sense of my pedagogical approach and methods than the structure of Cornell’s First-Year Writing Seminars offer. These three syllabi should provide a better sense for how my work fits in the classroom, in a department, and within the discipline more broadly. I am including, for each course, a rationale for the syllabus that explains my reasons for putting the class together as I did, and which includes week-by-week consideration of readings and activities.
These three example classes serve to demonstrate multiple teaching and knowledge competencies. The first is a lower-level class, temporally grounded in the Middle Ages, dealing with specifics of travel and connectivity. The second is aimed at mid-level undergraduate majors, examining connected global history in the Early Modern Era. The third is an upper-level course thematically grounded in spatial and cartographic history, including a heavy focus on issues related to European and American colonial projects.
Each listing has a short description of the course. To read a longer summary, click the inverted caret ( ) to expand the section.
On the Road Again: The Hows and Whys of Medieval Travel
- Description: A study of medieval types and rationals of movement. This class begins by addressing the popular misconceptions that medieval Europeans were an almost wholly static people, tied to the land and unable to move through the world. The course will examine both how medieval people traveled and why. In studying medieval travel, students will have a useful lens through which to consider a broad range of peoples, economies and geographies. This course will urge students to see how many of the historical themes that came to define Europe in the Early Modern period had their deep roots in a medieval society of motion.
- Target Audience: Mid-level undergraduate students (sophomores and juniors).
- Class Materials
A Journey by Road, Map, and Encounter: Following Strands of Global Connections in the Early Modern Era
- Description: A course examining aspects of connected global history in the Early Modern Era. The primary focus of the class lies in a study of the connected nature of global events and movements, and in creating a broad horizon in which to contextualize historical actions and actors. We will look at the types of people and movements that provided the connective tissues for a connected world, with an emphasis on their cross-cultural iterations.
The secondary focus of this class is in assessing the ways that early modern people understood and visualized the spaces through which they moved. The actors examined throughout the course of the semester are all people who moved across multiple spatial boundaries, both real and imagined. We will consider their movements and interactions with an eye towards gaining a better understanding of how they saw, and inscribed, the world around them.
- Target Audience: Mid-level undergraduate students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors).
- Class Materials
Making Space: The Creation of Geography and History
- Description: A class based on case studies of spatial creation, drawn from a range of places and times. This course takes Edward Said’s famous statement, that people create their own geographies just as they make their own histories, as a guide rail to use in asking a series of questions about the connections between the our stories about our pasts and our stories about our spaces. The class will ask students to consider how people move through the world and attach meaning to places; how people imagine and map the spaces they encounter; and what happens when different peoples’ ideas about geography and space come into contact with each other. From these ideas, we will proceed to consider how history is produced in relation to spatial practices.
- Description: A class based on case studies of spatial creation, drawn from a range of places and times.