Collaborative learning in action

I am a passionate educator, deeply immersed in the liberal arts model of education. My approach is built around two main ideas: community building and collaborative learning. In my classroom, I build community by inviting students to celebrate and share the diversity of their experiences, and I encourage them to use that diversity as a critical tool as they work collaboratively to engage with the many new ideas and perspectives we encounter together.

I always work to engage and challenge my students. I introduce notions of context and contingency to encourage them to reconsider their assumptions about history, and I help them develop the analytical skills to look at the evidence for themselves and draw their own conclusions about the past and how it has shaped the world around them. In the classroom, I create a student-centered, collaborative environment in which diverse students come together as as community of active learners to discover nw ideas, identities, and experiences that encourage them to think critically about their world. To ensure each student participates in classroom discussion, I model critical discussion leadership, then step back into a guiding role as students become empowered to take ownership of their intellectual growth.

Drawing on my dual education in history and music, I employ an interdisciplinary approach. I guide students in learning to discuss sources in a variety of media: literature, poetry, film, music, and visual art, alongside classic historical texts. Together, we learn to analyze these materials as historical sources, to discover what they can tell us about the time, place, and social and political environment in which they were created. By introducing such media into my lectures and inviting students to respond directly and through group work, I also bring the discussion experience into the large lecture setting.

My courses are writing-intensive. From day one, I have students compose reader-responses, blog posts, and other short assignments that get them practicing their critical writing skills on a regular basis. We then build up to longer assignments, like thesis-driven research papers. With such longer assignments, I meet with my students frequently throughout the planning and writing process to help them think through their ideas, confirm their progress, and assess the results of their endeavors.

In my substantial teaching experience, I have put the liberal arts model of collaborative learning, community building, and engaged citizenship into practice in seminar-style discussion classes and large lecture courses on Russian and Soviet history, European history from antiquity to the present, domestic and imperial cultural politics, and core texts in the European and Classical humanities traditions. The complete list of courses I have taught is below. Please click on the links to see my course websites!

Upper Division Seminars:
Capstone Seminar: Rethinking Europe (2022)

Music and Politics in 20th Century Europe  (2019, 2021)

The Cold War (2021)

Russian Revolutions from Peter to Putin (2020)

Cultural Construction in the Soviet Empire (2020)

Lower Division Seminars:
Big Ideas in Modern Europe (2022)

The Stalinist Experience (2021)

First Year Seminar: Speaking Truth to Power (2021)

Revolution! Europe at the Barricades (2020)

Introductory Courses:
The Soviet Union and Modern Russia (2020, 2022)

From Kievan Rus to Imperial Russia  (2019, 2021)

Europe’s Long 20th Century  (2020, 2021)

Making the Modern World: Europe in the 19th Century  (2020)

Honors Theses Advised:
Jordan Thomas, “Le Métissage Past and Present: France’s Construction of Racial Hierarchy and the Marginalization of the Franco-Algerian Métis Community” (2019-2020)

Upper Division Seminars:
Russia: From the USSR to Today (2016)

Lower Division Seminars:
Modern European Humanities (2016-2017)

History of European Civilization I and II (2012, 2013, 2014)

Power, Identity, Resistance (2011)

Introductory Courses:
Exploration and Discovery I: Stalinism Through Media (2019)

Exploration and Discovery II: Speaking Up, Speaking Out, Speaking Together (2018)

Introduction to Humanities: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean (2017-2018)

Development of Europe since 1650 (2015, 2016)

Honors Theses Advised

Colin White, “An End to the ‘Jewish Question’?: The Soviet Nationalities Policy and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast'” (2018-2019)

Eva Cilman, “Sonic Inscriptions: Re-sounding the Phonograph in American Culture” (2017-2018)

Shiloh McKinnon, “Punching Hitler in the Face: Navigating Representation and Identity in Superhero Comics” (2017-2018)

Cyryl Ryzak, “Necessity and Freedom: The Contradictions of Soviet Socialism: 1917-1933” (2016-2017)

Brandon Borjon, “Biafran Uncertainties: Challenges to the Norms and Structure of International Humanitarian Aid, 1967-1970” (2016-2017)

Teaching Fields
Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet history, Soviet Central Asia, European history, cultural and social history, arts and resistance/revolution, comparative Cold War culture, European avant-gardes, socialist aesthetics, empire and cultural hegemony