Teaching Overview

Photo from a course on Modern Muslims and the Qur'an at at UNC, Chapel Hill, 2014.

Photo from a course on Modern Muslims and the Qur'an at at UNC, Chapel Hill, 2014.

In the tabs below, there is information about recent courses I have taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bard College (2017-2019), Visiting Lecturer at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC (2015-2016), and as a Teaching Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (2014-2016).

In my teaching, I attempt to bridge the gap between the unfamiliar and the familiar through the use of a variety of media, extensive and engaged classroom discussion, as well as through projects that integrate technology and creativity within the class environment. I emphasize critical thinking, extrapolation and application of ideas, and synthesis across a broad range of topics. My primary disciplinary training is in religious studies; in my teaching I incorporate an interdisciplinary approach that brings in elements of medieval and late antique history, comparative literature, philosophy, new media, aesthetics and art history, as well as critical theory. 


Rumi and Revolution, Guilford College, Spring 2016

In this course within the Guilford College Religious Studies Department, we examined the life and works of the 13th century mystic teacher and poet, Jalal al-din Rumi, also know as Mawlana. We read primary source texts in translation, as well as materials that discuss Rumi’s life and legacy.

The course also investigated the theme of revolution, and thus explored different methodologies and instances of transformative change within the world. Some of the course materials were explicitly linked to Rumi, to Sufis and mysticism, or to Islam in general, while others required students to make connections on their own.

The course presumed no prior knowledge on any of these topics. Students were asked to bring an intellectual curiosity to the classroom, and be ready to critically examine both the world we live in and the ways we think about it. Some questions that the course examined include: Is radical change possible, or even desirable? What is the role of creativity in social transformation? How does the past and our memory of it help us to understand the dynamic world we occupy? 


Religion and the New Media, Guilford College, Fall 2015

In this exciting, intro-level course, we explored media such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Redditt, video games, the blogosphere, and more to see the influence online technology has on contemporary religion and political movements (like the Green Movement, the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, and more). What does new media offer to religious movements, leaders, and communities? How do viral videos, cults of personality, and celebrity worship inform our ideas of religion in the contemporary world?

See the Tumblr for the class here.



Introduction to Islamic Civilization

Online Course, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2015-2016

This online course, offered through the UNC-Chapel Hill Dept. of Religious Studies and the Friday Center, provides both a historical overview of the foundational aspects of Islam as well as a thematic examination of issues like gender, ethnicity, and contemporary politics. Students participate in weekly forums as well as interact further online through Twitter. Through film and media analyses, students learn to apply critical thinking methods in their writings while integrating other course materials. Ultimately, students gain a vocabulary for speaking about Islam and Islamic studies, and develop resources for engaging with the contemporary world--both in the classroom and beyond the university.