My mission as a teacher is to enable my students to learn joyfully, read carefully, think clearly, and write well.
Substantive Teaching Areas
I'm currently pursuing my teaching mission in four areas:
Political Psychology Beliefs about how people think about politics have been at the core of theories of politics since the ancients. In this course, we will begin with a survey of important theories of political psychology from the past century. We will focus mainly on hypotheses about how people develop their political attitudes and on the methods used to test those hypotheses. Twentieth century researchers were constrained to observing behavior and relied on surveys, interviews, and simple experiments to make inferences about the political mind. The second half of the course will look at the future of political psychology. We will learn about cutting edge insights from fields like neuroscience, genetics, computational modeling, and evolutionary theory. And, we will ask how those insights should inform our understanding of political cognition, affect, and behavior.
Jurisprudence While we begin with ancient conceptions about the fundamental nature of law, we will end by looking at the most recent thinking as influenced by new work in neuroscience. We still wrestle with questions of justice and responsibility that Moses, Hammurabi, and Lao Tzu faced as we move into an age of brain imaging and genome mapping.
Perspectives on Race Drawing heavily from the political psychology literature, this course looks at race in American politics from a variety of perspectives. We consider psychological, genetic, neuroscience, economic, political, sociological, and legal views of what drives powerful dynamics of race in our country.
The Pursuit of Happiness The Declaration of Independence describes the pursuit of happiness as an inalienable right. Economists are investigating subjective well-being. And, positive psychology is providing new insights. How might political science contribute to our individual and collective pursuit of happiness?
Political Science 100M Political Psychology