Teaching

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. I teach courses on a variety of topics, but most of them can be grouped into three broad thematic areas: courses about race, courses about place, and courses about qualitative methods. Here's what I believe about teaching:

  • All students are entitled to grace, accommodations, and third chances. We didn't get it right the first or second time. Why should we expect that they would?

  • Scan the readings. All. Students shouldn't have to pay money to take your class—after having already paid money to take your class. 

  • Curricula should be representative in terms of (1) content and in terms of (2) scholars/writers/voices and in terms of (3) mediums of presentation. And, get this, each of the three actually requires the other. How could you teach an intro to sociology course without listening to what James Baldwin and Nina Simone said and sang.  

  • No matter how repetitive and "it's on the syllabus" student emails are, they deserve honest attention and—yes, I believe and try to practice this—timely responses.

  • It is my job to capture and keep the attention of the classroom, not the classroom's job to listen to me.

  • All classes should have themes, beyond the generic name in the course catalog.

  • All lectures should have dope visuals.

  • When you want to use text-heavy, bulleted slides...don't. Don't do it! Reconsider! No really, read some literature on the subject. There are better avenues of content delivery.

  • Music should be played. Yes, I know that's passive voice. 

  • In matters of the syllabus: info and aesthetics matter.

  • Office hours by appointment (b.brian.foster@gmail.com)

Past Courses

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