I have taught classes at the University of Chicago on European history, the global history of masculinity from antiquity to the present, and Irish and Jewish Identities. I have also taught introductory classes on gender history at Wayne State University, in online and conventional classroom settings.
In my teaching, as in my research, I am interested in moving across national boundaries and I draw on up-to-date interdisciplinary work on nationalism, gender, race, political economy, and imperialism. I aim to help students explore those concepts that are often seen as organic or ahistorical – masculinity and femininity, racial and national identity, capitalism – but which, in reality, are inorganic, historically constructed, and regularly contested and reconstructed.
My BA was in History and Political Science and the style of teaching used in my undergraduate institution, Trinity College Dublin, favoured a more old-fashioned style of education; a predominance of lectures over seminars and a strong emphasis on introducing students to the major debates in the field. In my own teaching, which has exclusively been in North American institutions, I have sought to combine the best elements of this system with a strong focus on student participation and collaborative learning. For instance, teaching a class on What is Masculinity? at the University of Chicago, my teaching concentrated on introducing students to the scholarly study of masculinity, the major debates in the field, and the types of methodologies favoured. I did this, however, via engaged discussions with students through which they could build a knowledge of this emergent scholarly field. Thus, by the end of this class, students had acquired a new set of academic skills and were able to produce individual research projects on the history of masculinity.
I have taught introductory classes on Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Wayne State University, in both online and conventional classroom settings. This humanities course sought to introduce students to the academic study of gender and sexuality as well as to help students develop their writing and rhetorical skills. In working with students on their weekly writing assignments, I helped them identify where their writing needed further development. The frequency of their writing assignments meant that they could address these issues in subsequent work and improve their writing skills throughout the course. I also used my office hours as informal writing tutorials for any students who wanted additional assistance or advice; this was particularly popular among those students for whom English was a second language.
Most of my teaching has been in small, seminar-style settings with a strong emphasis on student participation and on helping students grasp new historiographical and social scientific methodologies. In addition, I have worked closely with students as they identified research interests and developed them into essay-length projects. My PhD qualifying exams were in Irish history, Jewish and Israeli history, and Middle Eastern history and my broad research interests are reflected in my broad teaching interests.
Download some student evaluations of my courses here.