Professional and Biographical Information

Degrees

Ph.D., Harvard University (1973)
M.A., Harvard University (1971)
B.A., University of Michigan (1969)
A.M. (honorary), Amherst College (1983)

Teaching Interests

In the spring semester, 2016, I began teaching a new course titled Intergroup Dialogue on Race. This highly interactive course brings together 16 students to examine the roles race and other intersecting identities play in their lives. Course work includes an interdisciplinary blend of scholarly readings, in-class dialogue, experiential learning activities, reflective writing, and an intergroup collaborative action project aimed at addressing a racial inequality on campus. The course readings link students’ personal experiences with race to a socio-historical understanding of individual, institutional, and structural discrimination, and to the ways social inequality is embedded in social institutions and individual consciousness, constraining life chances. The readings address power imbalances within and between racial groups, and the ways privilege is allocated and social inequalities are sustained. Students engage in sustained and respectful dialogue around racial divisions, learning to build skills in intergroup communication, collaboration, and relationships. Students bring their own experiences with race into the classroom as a legitimate process of learning.  Class members will explore similarities and differences between their experiences with race and privilege within and across racial identity groups, with the goal of coming to understand the underlying conditions that account for these different experiences and perceptions.

The other courses I teach concentrate on the period of adolescence and the complexities of the transition to adulthood in contemporary American society. In the Psychology of Adolescence, we examine the impact of biological changes at puberty, of the acquisition of new cognitive capacities, and of changing societal expectations at adolescence. We focus on the formation of identity and how that is shaped by race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexuality. We consider changes in intimate relationships with parents and peers, as well as schooling and adolescents at risk. The course readings include the major theorists on adolescence, empirical studies, first person accounts, and novels. A particular focus of my teaching is on the variability in adolescent behavior and why it takes the many forms it does. I also teach a First-Year Seminar titled Growing Up in America, which approaches coming of age from a broader interdisciplinary perspective. In that course, we examine the ways in which race, social class, and gender shape the experience of growing up in America through readings from history, psychology, sociology, and literature. We look back historically at some nineteenth-century lives to understand how the transition from an agricultural to an urban industrial society has influenced the experience of coming of age, and then focus on coming of age in the twentieth century, on the formation of identity, relationship with parents, courtship, sexuality, and the importance of the place in which one is raised.

Awards and Honors

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, 1996-2001

Faculty Research Awards, 2003, 2006

Scholarly and Professional Activities

Programme Associate, Adolescent Department, Tavistock Clinic, London , England (1986-1987)

 

See also: Research Interests and Selected Publications