I teach courses at Georgetown University in the Culture and Politics program. They include Theorizing Culture and Politics; Media and Materiality; Bodies, Technology, and Violence; Black Mirror; and Political Animals and Machines.
My classes engage close reading, critical thinking and writing, active participation and reflection. I believe education should teach us to question and challenge the status quo. Examples of student works appear on this page.
Some of the questions I ask of students include:
How is state power embedded in everyday life?
How are race, gender, sexuality and nation enmeshed with media infrastructure and technological systems ?
How are ways of knowing and seeing, power?
How do media and technology shape the public sphere?
How can we use media and technology to create different practices of politics?
Q&A WITH KATE
How do you use critical theory and historical analysis?
"Critical theory questions how cultural practices, social institutions and the state inform perceptions. History outlines changes over time and makes clear the contingency and specificity of the contemporary. My research on drone technology asks how and why "the drone" appears as it does today. Historical variants underline distinct cultural values and political goals. Yet, early drones also figured an inhuman machine and enemy that presage contemporary targeted killing. This analysis unworks the myth of an autonomous or wholly machine other to emphasize the human actions that make contemporary drone war."
Why study everyday objects?
"Sites of politics do not just include halls of governance but are also built into daily life through interactions with ordinary artifacts. I study the drone through broader structural realities that inform its operation and the day-to-day practices it is built by. The drone is made not only through its lethal use but in the everyday decisions of engineers, military commanders and industry advocates. These practices underscore how gender, machine, race and nation are embedded in the drone."
How is technology political?
"Technological domination is not inevitable. Rather, actors and institutions produce, maintain and operate technologies. The violence of drone aircraft is a manifestation of state power, normalized as technological advance. Consequently, technology is a key site of contemporary politics not a tool separate from it."
My teaching examines intersections between culture, knowledge, and power through media and technology. I challenge students to adopt the position of a radical critic. Students develop their thinking by putting the authors we read in conversation with one another and to then add their own voice to this discussion. We challenge and question what seems normal and taken-for-granted.
I am committed to creating a classroom that practices anti-racism, decolonial pedagogies, equity in terms of gender and sexuality and recognizes multiple forms of ability and learning. I recognize the university is an institution that has long upheld traditional power relations in the name of producing universal equality. Activism against these inequities is as old as the university itself and its is this ideal of the counter-university that is the basis of my teaching.
My classes, in addition to being reading and writing intensive, use creative methods including drawing, mapping, performance and field trips. Students lead classes and activities. The semester typically culminates in a class conference or exhibition. Images from my classes are on display on this page.