Courses & Syllabi

History, University of Florida

This course explores the transformation of Roman Britain into medieval England between c.410-1066, with particular focus on the early Anglo-Saxon period (the fourth through seventh centuries). During this period of transformation, British society was fragmented, reimagined, and rebuilt.

This course focuses on three key themes for understanding this transformation: migration, myths, and material culture. Historians who study Britain in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages use archaeological evidence alongside written sources, because few written texts survive. This class will expose students to a variety of evidence types, including historical texts, literature, archaeology, and physical anthropology. In particular, it will explore how groundbreaking archaeological and anthropological discoveries of the past two decades have challenged long-held beliefs about Late Antique and Early Medieval Britain.

Students will learn how to synthesize these different kinds of evidence into new narratives about the origins of England, and in the process will gain an appreciation of the diverse and unique peoples, communities, and life experiences which flourished in the half millennium between the collapse of Roman rule and the Norman Conquest.

Download Syllabus: Britain Before 1000 CE

Principle Texts

  • Robin Fleming, Britain After Rome (Penguin, 2011).
  • Nicholas Higham and M. J. Ryan, The Anglo-Saxon World (Yale University Press, 2013).

Why did the Western Roman Empire end? This question has fascinated – and confounded – historians for 1500 years. Last century, one historian found 210 separate published causes of the empire’s end, ranging from Christianity to Paganism, Capitalism to Communism, and everyone’s favorite: lead pipes. Why do scholars continue to debate the causes of this historical event, and how can we begin to make sense of a historiographical problem that has frustrated so many generations of historians and archaeologists?

This course examines the most recent debates surrounding the end of the Western Empire: migration, economic collapse, social and cultural transformation, and civil war. This class will examine the reasons behind scholarly disagreement: clashing theoretical paradigms, different types of sources, and divergent methods of analyzing the meaning and implications of these materials. Students will become familiar with these arguments, and will learn to evaluate their strengths and reasons for disagreement; they will learn how these debates influence modern understandings of contemporary declines and falls; and they will propose, by the end of the class, their own answer to the million-dollar question: why did the empire end?

Download Syllabus: The Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Principle Texts

  • Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (University of Wisconsin Press, 1992).
  • Guy Halsall, Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 375-568 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

At the heart of ‘Western’ traditions lie concepts of order, government, justice, freedom, and faith that were forged in the great empires of the Ancient Near East. This course explores the use of Ideology, Economics, Military conquest, and Politics in ancient Near Eastern empires and their Mediterranean neighbors, from about 750 BCE to 600 CE. Tracing these four factors (I.E.M.P.) reveals common threads and innovative differences in how these empires exercised power, justified expansion, and imitated their predecessors’ attempts to control the known world. Even as empires grew, people on the margins resisted. These rebels created some of the most enduringly influential ideas of human history, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

This course contextualizes the history and origins of these beliefs within the Near Eastern empires from which they emerged. This course carefully studies ancient texts, inscriptions, art, and archaeology to reveal the enduring ideas, value systems, and social institutions that were created by the peoples of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. These ancient sources were produced in contexts of turbulent power struggles as empires rose and fell. They remain tangled in imperialist today, having become the intellectual foundations upon which modern ‘Western’ nations constructed justifications for their own imperial ambitions in the early twentieth century. This course asks students to consider how power, in both past and present, relates to enduring ideas. Can modern historians separate truth from power? Why do empires, in both the past and the present, care so much about history? And, who owns the past?

Download Syllabus: Western Civilization I

Principle Texts

  • E. Cline & M. Graham, Ancient Empires: From Mesopotamia to the Rise of Islam (Cambridge University Press: 2011).
  • Plato, Gorgias (Penguin Classics: 2004).

Writing Program, University of Florida

Rhetoric and Academic Research focuses on the essential stylistics of writing clearly and efficiently within the framework of research writing in the disciplines. Students will learn how to formulate a coherent thesis and defend it logically with evidence drawn from research in specific fields. Students will also learn how to work through the stages of planning, research, organizing, and revising their writing.

This course is an introduction to techniques and forms of argument in a broad range of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, business, and natural sciences. To ground the students’ investigations for the semester, the course will focus on a particular formative theme. This course encourages students to investigate the relationship between writing and knowledge and to discover how writing can create, rather than merely transmit, knowledge. Class discussions will reveal the complementary relationship between writing and research and demonstrate how persuasive techniques and genres vary from discipline to discipline. Students will learn how writing effectively and correctly in their fields will help to integrate them as professionals into their “knowledge communities.”

Principle Texts

  • Susan Miller-Cochran, Roy Stamper, and Stacey Cochran. An Insider’s Guide to Academic Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016).

Teaching Assistant

I have worked as a Teaching Assistant for university courses on 19th century Europe, early Islamic Civilization, Interdisciplinary Humanities, and Beginning Ceramics.