Teaching Interests

I teach in two departments at Amherst (in Psychology and in Women's and Gender Studies). My courses in Psychology cover life-span development (often with a specific focus on gender). I have become increasingly aware of the narrow cultural foundations on which most psychological “knowledge” rests and have endeavored to go beyond how developmental issues are portrayed in standard texts to incorporate a more multicultural perspective. I find that research studies drawn from a wider international base (often Asian and African) challenge the received wisdom of the discipline in important and intellectually exciting ways. My teaching in Women's and Gender Studies is also constantly guided by the recognition that adequate and accurate representation of the diversity of the lives and circumstances of men and women requires the incorporation of materials from other cultures. I particularly enjoy the opportunities Amherst provides for teaching courses jointly with faculty members from other disciplines and have taught courses with colleagues from the humanities and natural sciences as well as from other social sciences. The rich controversies, for example, about the relative roles and interactions of biology and cultural constructions in gendered patterns of behavior spark lively classroom discussions and focus students' attention on the appropriate uses of evidence in constructing argument.