Beck has taught in a variety of disciplines: American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, African-American Studies, and English. While she uses varying pedagogical strategies, there is always an emphasis on her holy trinity of teaching: experience, application, and creation. A firm believer in combining theory with action, she incorporates service-learning work into courses when appropriate and creates assignments that develop research and technological literacies.
AM 266: Diversity in the US
The United States is a complex, heterogeneous society profoundly shaped by its multicultural heritage. In this course we will explore diversity within the United States vis-à-vis seven categories of identity including: race/ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, ability and class. Through course readings, rigorous discussion and textual analysis we will cultivate a knowledge and understanding of individual difference with an emphasis on range of differences within communities as well as the similarities between communities. Together we will address the interrelationships and tensions that characterize a culturally and socioeconomically diverse society by examining political maneuvering spurred by categories of difference. This course places a broad emphasis on the vast range of differences and similarities among American cultures as well as the individual differences that constitute who we are as citizens, students, consumers, athletes and friends, etc. In fact, we cannot understand individual, communal or national identity without examining how U.S. institutions and society have constructed individual differences in the past and present, namely that all things are historically contingent and contextual. This course utilizes life history and ethnographic methods to examine cultural traditions and markers of identity meaningful in U.S. cultures and works to understand the intersectional nature of these social positions as they relate to each other, our nation and each of us. Together, we will learn to exercise our creativity and intellect in order to understand, analyze, and appreciate diversity in the United States.