As a teacher of philosophy, I aim to expose students to different frameworks for thinking about reality, our knowledge of it, and our place as humans within it. My approach is thoroughly transdisciplinary, highlighting how philosophical tools can best be applied to bring transformative change by putting them in conversation with insights and resources from the full spectrum of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences but also the arts, humanities, and others, especially bodies of scholarship that center the perspectives, needs, and concerns of underrepresented and marginalized persons. I make it clear to students that life and its problems don’t come neatly packaged into clearly distinct disciplines and that we thus need to take a transdisciplinary approach to cultivate an adequate understanding of the deeply unjust and unequal world we have inherited, of the many factors that shape our lives and world, and of how we can effectively intervene on them to bring about real improvement to people’s lives and the world.
Accordingly, I connect philosophical concepts and issues with insights and views from other disciplines wherever relevant. For example, when discussing philosophical views of the self and self-knowledge, I share with students Audre Lorde’s views of the self as a complex, dynamic multicultural concert of voices and of the ways poetry can yield an indispensable and often-neglected kind of self-knowledge. When exploring happiness, I bring in pertinent psychological research and data like the phenomenon of flow but also make a point to critically discuss systemic obstacles to flow faced by marginalized persons as well as feminist critiques of both the philosophy and the science of happiness. When philosophically considering human psychology and biology, I articulate for students a scientific understanding of the development of organisms as dynamic, complex, and socially and culturally embedded. In my ethics courses, I connect traditional ethical theories and concepts with theoretical resources from anti-racist, disability, feminist, and queer scholarship and teach my students about the deeply unjust legacy of our Eurocolonial history. By doing so, I help students grasp just how deeply pernicious systems of oppression like racism, white supremacy, ableism, sexism, androcentrism, and homo- and transphobia are and how they affect every aspect of our social world including the way we interact, talk, and even think. Through this transdisciplinary approach, I encourage students to develop and enrich their own philosophical, moral, and political views and reasoning with a nuanced understanding of the natural, social, and economic realities of the world we live in.
I have had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of courses including logic and critical thinking, academic writing, introduction to philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of science, social and political philosophy, philosophy of happiness, history of philosophy, moral philosophy, and applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics).
The following are some sample syllabi:
I have applied my transdisciplinary approach to philosophy and teaching to develop a textbook anthology written for future and current health professionals. Titled Centering the Margins in Bioethics: A Social Justice Approach to the Ethics of Healthcare and Medicine, this textbook takes a social justice approach that centers the perspectives and experiences of different marginalized groups. Its approach puts philosophical concepts and theories in thoroughgoing conversation with a full spectrum of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, anti-racist scholarship, feminist and queer scholarship, and disability studies. The core chapters center the perspectives of people who are marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, or Indigeneity, disability, or sex, gender, and sexuality. It thereby improves upon other textbooks that merely include marginalized voices as one chapter among many (if at all). The core chapters frame systems of oppression using evocative analogies from different bodies of scholarship to give readers a sense of just how pervasive and pernicious these systems are:
the shadow of racism,
ocean of white supremacy culture,
specter of ableism, and
miasma of cisheteropatriarchy.
The textbook's intersectional approach articulates the interactions and intersections between different systems of oppression, many of which are represented in the four category Venn diagram below. This textbook is under contract with Cognella Publishing. The preliminary edition has been tested, and the first edition has an expected publication date of November 2023.
A Venn diagram of four systems of oppression treated in my bioethics textbook, with their elements and intersections. Note that this diagram is meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive: it does not represent all systems of oppression or all the elements of the systems it does represent.
Additionally, I have extensive experience teaching Kant's philosophy to non-specialists, making it accessible and exciting. My approach focuses on helping a wider audience visualize the systematically interrelated philosophical structures and insights behind Kant's intimidating terminology and long paragraphs. You can read more about this approach in my Visualizing Kant project.