Knowledge is transformational and my appreciation of its power greatly inspires my approach to teaching. I am motivated to persuade students to challenge their worldview and critically re-evaluate commonsense notions about the structure of society as well as relationships and interactions that they take for granted. Challenging conventional approaches, I believe that students should not merely “think globally and act locally.” Instead, I strive to help them also act both globally and locally. My global, community-engaged teaching and research activities reflect the belief that cross-disciplinary, cross-regional, and international initiatives can provoke important philosophical discussions, and can lead to tangible benefits for vulnerable communities.
Synergy between Research and Global Engagement
It is gratifying to have received funding to initiate the Second-Class Daughters project, as it is a project intentionally designed to be community-centered. Funding from the American Sociological Association Funds for the Advancement of the Discipline supports this innovative approach by funding community workshops and discussions in which informal domestic workers will learn about and respond to my preliminary analysis of earlier interview data. In this way, community participants are not merely interviewees, but rather they take on an active role in informing the analytical process. Contributing to the community-centered approach of this research, the Ruth Landes Memorial Fund and the USF WLP Junior Research Award will allow me to expand the project to other cities and provide stipends to black Brazilian college students who will gain experience as research assistants on this project. Critical to selecting and training students are my Fulbright affiliations with the Federal University of Bahia (sociologist Paula Barreto) and the Instituto Steve Biko. Both institutions have offered both the academic and community contacts necessary to ensure that this project develops as a collaborative community-centered project.
Synergy between Teaching and Global Community Engagement
Community engagement has been the hallmark of my teaching, and this has culminated in several exciting curricular developments. In 2013, I launched Bahia, Brazil study abroad program, taught a summer course for Spelman College in Brazil, and co-organized an international faculty seminar on race, gender, and aesthetics in Brazil. In 2014, with the assistance of a mini-grant, I developed a high-impact service-learning study abroad Brazil course. The interest by USF students in Brazil has been palpable and in the fall 2014, I organized several Portuguese Conversation Tables (Bate-Papo) in collaboration with Celia Davies of the USF World Languages Department for both U.S. and native Brazilian students.