I enjoy teaching tremendously – and for selfish reasons, too: I’ve noticed that I only really understood a subject (or someone else’s understanding of it) if I have taught a class on it.
I like it:
- Interdisciplinary. Crossing disciplinary borders and venturing applications can deepen understanding, strengthen relevance and forge synthesis – but a rigorous foundation in a discipline always comes first.
- Interactive. Meaningful visualizations, vibrant virtual and real discussion and the occassional movie segment can make teaching more effective, accessible and fun – but in technology and format, as elsewhere, form follows function. That said, I think some great new technology (such as Github and Google+) isn’t used enough in classrooms, and I expect my students to be(come) reasonably savvy with it.
- In writing. An idea does not exist independent of its written expression. Intensive reading and writing are hard, ideally deliberate practice for both teacher and student – but for the social sciences, at least, there are only very poor substitutes.
Check out my evaluations on teacher rating sites:
Hacking for Social Scientists
I ♥ *.txt
Because learning from hackers is learning to win, for social scientists, too.
(Progressive) Tax & (Deliberative) Democracy
Give n’ Take – Progressive Taxation & Deliberative Democracy
Taxation and democracy can be thought of as two sides of the liberal-democratic, capitalist social contract: Democracy concerns the making of collectively binding decisions, and taxation is the chief means to implement these agreed-upon plans within the market exchanges of free agents. Taxation thereby delineates the boundary of private property and collective responsibility, but it also shapes the material conditions under which citizens exercise their political autonomy. Taxation and democracy, along with their mutual dependencies and contradictions, in short, are deeply implicated in social scientific questions of rule and power, social integration and inequality.
As institutions, they are also the (only?) site, where progress might happen. This seminar looks at two such reform proposals, equally radical and pragmatic: progressive taxation and deliberative democracy
School & Democracy
Schools of Democracy — Deliberative Democracy & Inclusive Pedagogy
The class introduces students to a defining conflict of both pedagogy and political theory: the contradiction and mutual contigency of equality, difference and autonomy in living together as political and social beings. The comparison of both disciplines reveals striking parrallels that can be applied to current experiments with inclusive pedagogy and deliberative democracy.
Comparative Social Sciences
The Grass, its Green, and the Other Side – Comparative Social Sciences of Democracy, Welfare, Media, Administration, Political Culture and Economy
An (undergraduate) seminar in planning.
“The most dangerous outlook on the world is the outlook of those people, who have not looked at the world.” – Alexander von Humboldt
Liberal democracy, market economies and their institutional correlates, it turns out, come in different varieties. Even within the OECD-world of rich, developed nation states, democratic rule (Lijphart), welfare states (Esping-Andersen), media landscapes (Hallin & Mancini), administration (Hood), political culture (Inglehart & Welzel) and economic systems (Hall & Soskice) vary widely. Using both empirical data (a posteriori) and deductive reasoning (a priori), positive comparative research in political science and beyond has distilled these differences into patterns, that often track deep ideological divides (e.g. liberal vs. conservative) and roughly map geography (e.g. continental vs. anglo-american). This seminar surveys some of the recently prominent comparative work (“the other side”, figuratively speaking), provides a preliminary understanding of the nature and genesis of the institutions (“the grass”) under investigation, and ultimately subjects these varieties to a selective normative critique (concerning their “greenness”).
German Politics and Culture
German Politics and Culture – Introduction to the Political System of the Federal Republic of Germany
Half area studies, half introductory social science seminar.
LABOR – History of Ideas and Political Economy
Man works to live. – Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)
Man lives to work. – John Calvin (1509 – 1564)
Labor is both a central category in modern thought, and in economics. This course tracks critical formulations, describes the elementary economics of who is earning what, for what work, and questions the human cooperating condition. The class offers a schizodisciplinary synthesis of history of ideas, political economy and social anthropology.
Why do we become so unequal, and why would that be unfair?
The course introduces participants to social scientific theories, applies them to education and migration and offers observations from a german inner city school. We’ll discuss how things might be better, and who, how, can bring about such change – to keep our capitalist and liberal societies prosperous, and to make it more just.
E-Democracy – Opportuntiy for Greater Participatio?
Computer science, sociological, mathematical, political and statistic perspectives on the essential question how postindustrial, liberal democracy can organise unity in diversity in the modern world.
Statistik & Probability I
Statistik & Probability I
Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods