At Ohio State, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on global crime, terrorism, and violence. I also lead a study abroad class in Rwanda. Please follow the links for the most up-to-date syllabi.
This course is divided into four units that use sociological theories and tools to analyze terrorism. We begin by defining terrorism and situating it in modern history. We then explore key theories about the causes of terrorism, spanning from social-psychological theories about the individual to macro-level theories about which countries experience terrorism and why. Although there is not time to cover all types of actions that are labeled terrorism, we also analyze a few forms in detail, including suicide terrorism, state terrorism, ecoterrorism, and revolutionary terrorism. Lastly, we turn our attention to responses to terrorism, including the law, media representations of terrorism, and human rights repercussions.
This course explores the 1994 Rwandan genocide and its aftermath through active learning experiences in Rwanda. We begin by studying the origins of the genocide with an emphasis on why the genocide occurred and, more broadly, what causes genocide globally. We then study the violence itself, including the forms of violence, who participated in the violence, and who was victimized. Lastly, we turn our attention to the aftermath of the genocide and study the legal response to the violence. This involves examining the local gacaca courts that were instituted across the country and the collective memories of the genocide. We also examine the current state of human rights in Rwanda and some of the regional effects of the violence. Finally, we study development and aid in Rwanda today, critically exploring the country’s tremendous economic growth since 1994.
Sociology of conflict and violence (Graduate)
Global crime is a pressing social problem in today’s world. In this class, we consider how crime became global, why such crimes occur, and responses to global and transnational crime. In the first unit, we consider theories of globalization, law, and the state. We also briefly survey core global institutions like the United Nations. In the second unit, we analyze different forms of global crime, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, human trafficking, child soldiers, terrorism, drug trafficking, corporate crimes, environmental crimes, and human rights violations. In the final unit, we assess responses to global crime, such as international courts and truth and reconciliation commissions.
This seminar offers a graduate-level foundation of theory and empirical research in the study of violence and conflict. We place an emphasis on contemporary international violence and take a sociological approach, though we also draw upon other disciplines as well as on theoretical perspectives regarding violence in the United States. We begin with a broad foundation that emphasizes the historical processes that influence the current world system. We then cover case studies of global violence and conflict. We examine diverse forms of violence, and core theoretical perspectives are embedded within the content for each unit. Finally, we assess dynamics occurring in the aftermath of violence, ranging from the de-escalation of violence to its transformative effects.