|As a scholar of international relations, I approach teaching with three major goals in mind. First, I instill in my students the ability to form differentiated opinions on global issues. Second, I provide young scholars the tools to ground their research in varied sources of knowledge in the discipline. My final goal is to enhance students’ ability to develop solid arguments and excellent academic writing skills.
When I teach on conflict and security, I push students to disaggregate the various types of violence and their sources. As a scholar, I dedicate much of my research to understanding people’s agency in warfare and how violence transforms them. Such investigative philosophy requires zooming in on cases of conflict and looking at the micro dynamics of violence while keeping theoretical frameworks of the politics and logics of violence in the backdrop. The same commitment to understanding individual actors in violence that propels my research also inspires my teaching. Indeed, one of my objectives as a teacher of peace and conflict is to guide my students to understand war “from below.” More specifically, I believe that students of this discipline should keep in mind that the actors and victims of warfare are individuals and their actions and reactions to violence need to be understood through the study of people in systems, as opposed to solely investigating systems of violence. Hence, I encourage my students to engage with a variety of disciplines such oral history, ethnography, and micro-comparative studies, in addition to more traditional political science methods, to help them understand how violence unfolds.
In addition to academic courses, I am also the Co-Director of Studies of the Rift Valley Institute’s Great Lakes Field Course. I work with a team of regional and international specialists to explore the contemporary complexities of the region through social, economic, political and security lenses. The course is designed for policy-makers, diplomats, investors, development workers, researchers, activists and journalists.
Graduate Research Methods
Rift Valley Institute Great Lakes Field Course
Sept – Dec 2011
Course title: Contemporary Africa
Institution: School of International Service, American University
Sept – Dec 2011
Sept 2004 – April 2006
Brigham Young University
SSRC-APN Proposal Writing Workshop for Central Africa
Pretoria, South Africa