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Critical Pedagogy


Steph understands that critical pedagogy is one of the many tools that can be used to promote social change. Her mission as a teacher and professor is focuses on helping students take what they already know about their world and connecting that to big thinkers that have witnessed and described needed changes. Steph's pedagogy is rooted in lessons she has learned from studying Ella Baker, Carter G. Woodson and Paulo Freire. Here is a list of course she has taught (descriptions below):​

  • Introduction to Sociology

  • Research Methods 

  • Classical Sociological Theory  

  • Crime, Criminalization and Society   

  • Gender and Sexuality   

  • Race and Ethnicity  

  • Stratification and Inequality

Courses Taught


Introduction to Sociology

Course Description In May of 2018, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 U.S. stores to train employees following a nation-wide outcry after two Black men were arrested while waiting at one of the coffee chain’s Philadelphia stores (Associated Press). In his book The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W. E. B. Dubois, one of the principal founders of American Sociology, famously wrote: “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” But what is Sociology? What is the color-line? How can we apply Dubois’ theories and methodologies for understanding U.S. Society, race, and racism in 2018? In this course, we will not only examine the structure of race but also, how gender, sexuality and class intersect and shape contemporary U.S. Society. Required Texts You May Ask Yourself The First American School of Sociology American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

Research Methods

Course Description As part of growing into an engaged social scientist, sociologist research a variety of topics. Our methods class will focus on Urban Sociology. During the semester, you will learn about sociological theories and data in order to creatively apply relevant concepts and perspectives within the contemporary context. The readings for the course are designed to expose you to a variety of sociological methods scholars have used to explore questions, similar to the ones you will explore through your projects. Through a variety of written assignments, you will practice your communication of sociological knowledge. This class will provide students with useful tools to explore, understand and answer questions about the social world. This class will: (1) introduce students to ideas about what sociology is, how it differs from other social science disciplines, and the various methods used to study it; (2) direct students in using sociological methods to examine and resolve social problems; (3) help students develop critical thinking, public presentation, and teamwork skills. Required Text Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches Wounded City: Violent Turf Wars in a Chicago Barrio 1st Edition Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

Classical Sociological Theory

Course Description: Social theory refers to ideas, arguments, hypotheses, thought-experiments, and explanatory speculations about how and why human societies—or elements or structures of such societies—come to be formed, changed, developed over time, and perhaps even destroyed. Social theory most commonly encompasses the range of explanatory concepts, analytical tools, and heuristic devices on which sociologist and social scientists draw in their efforts to interpret statistical or qualitative data about particular empirical social phenomena. Social theory can also be thought of as incorporating normative concerns bearing on debates about desirable ends or values of social life—about how social life ideally “ought to be”—in ways that overlap closely with concerns in the fields of moral, political, and legal philosophy. We will examine conceptualizations of justice to explore classical sociological theory and the foundational problems these theorists were taking up: What is justice? This seemingly simple question has caused debates amongst scholars throughout centuries. Our job will be to question, analyze, and articulate the contentions between how justice is deployed while also developing our own arguments for how justice should be defined. Required Text: Pedagogy of the Oppressed Capitalism and Slavery

Crime, Criminalization and Society

Course Description: This course is an examination of the “criminalized” other. We begin our analysis of the construction of the state through the eyes of political and social thinkers theorizing the reach and construction of state influence and intervention. Our efforts to examine their work will provide a foundation for the paradigm of the state through its carceral and punitive tendencies. As we identify these tendencies, we will be able to demonstrate and analyze the ramifications of this paradigm as it defines our epistemological concerns with the relationship with the state and the populous. The latter half of the course will examine the work and writings of those interrogating the mechanisms of the state. As we build up a language for the tools of state power, we will also develop a deeper understanding of how to analyze state formations. Throughout the course we will discuss the possibilities of collective resistance that abolition movements present. Students will be encouraged to critically examine the way you write with a focus on clarity, flow, and organization. Finally, the course seeks to improve your ability to think critically. Students will be asked to identify, analyze, and question the assumptions of authors, society, the criminal justice system, as well as your own assumptions. Students will be encouraged to become an active participant in the learning process rather than a passive, second-hand recipient of knowledge. Required Texts: Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice Prisons, Surplus Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (American Crossroads) Are Prison Obsolete?

Gender and Sexuality

Required Texts: The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory Epistemology of the Closet Being Black, Being Male on Campus Women, Race and Class Arrested Justice

Race and Ethnicity

Required Texts: White by Law American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy Arrested Justice

Social Stratification and Inequality

Course Description: The study of stratification and inequality encompasses income and wealth inequality, occupational and class hierarchies, inequality of educational opportunity, poverty, social mobility between and within generations, gender and race-ethnic inequality, and the consequences of inequality. It asks such questions as: Is there growing inequality in the United States and, if so, why? In this class we cover the concepts, theories, facts, and methods of analysis used by sociologists to understand social stratification. This course takes most of its examples from the contemporary United States but pays much attention to California. Understanding social inequality is part of being an informed citizen. This course may also be useful for students planning careers in fields such as law, marketing, social work, and teaching since these professions often deal directly or indirectly with people from widely varying socioeconomic circumstances. Stratification is a central topic in sociology, with ramifications for many other topics in this field, and thus it is especially important for sociology majors. Required Texts: Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass Inequality: Classic Readings in Race, Class, and Gender 1st Edition First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles

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