Christy has taught a range of interdisciplinary courses for undergraduate and graduate students in history, international studies, and sociology at New York University, Rowan University, and Johns Hopkins University. She also holds a graduate certificate in teaching and learning from NYU. The descriptions and learning objectives for a few of her undergraduate classes are below.

If you are interested in syllabi or reading lists for any of these courses, contact her.

Political Economy of Drugs and Drug Wars

In the United States, we spend more than $100 billion annually on illegal drugs—and the government spends more than $50 billion a year to combat their sale and use. These statistics raise important and complicated social questions. This course will examine the production, sale, use, and control of illegal drugs from historical and sociological perspective. We will have three objectives: to understand the social construction of drug use and illegality in the United States and other rich countries; to uncover the political and economic consequences of drug trafficking where drugs are produced and sold; and to examine the political economy of drug control through the so-called “War on Drugs,” both domestically and internationally.  

At the end of this class, students will be able to answer the questions:

  • How has our understanding of the use and abuse of drugs changed over time?
  • How has it been shaped by political and economic considerations, including issues of race, class, and gender?
  • How has the United States sought to control the production, sale, and consumption of drugs?
  • What have the consequences of these policies been, both domestically and internationally?
  • What is the relationship between the licit economy and the illicit drug economy?
  • How are the domestic and the international related?
Beyond the Wall: The United States and Mexico

­­An apocryphal quote has Mexico’s 19th century dictator Porfirio Díaz lamenting, “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States.” Sharing a nearly 2,000-mile border with the country often referred to as the “Colossus of the North,” Mexicans have long had to contend with the asymmetry of power that has shaped relations between the two countries. But an (often appropriate) emphasis on the machinations of U.S. empire in Latin America has obscured the ways that countries like Mexico could influence, affect, and change politics and society in the United States. Examining the multidirectional exchange of culture, people, and commodities between the United States and Mexico over the last 200 years, this course asks not just how U.S. practices and policies have shaped Mexican society, but how, in turn, Mexico has shaped the United States. We will examine the social, political, and economic forces that have long pulled these two societies together – and pushed them apart. In so doing, this course will challenge students to decenter their understanding of the U.S.–Mexico relationship, to ask how this long relationship looks different from either side of the border.

At the end of this class, students will be able to answer the questions:

  • What forces—cultural, social, political, and economic—have defined the relationship between the United States and Mexico over time, and how does the history of U.S.–Mexican exchange shape each country today?
  • How have issues of race, class, and gender affected how people in the United States understand Mexico and Mexicans, and vice versa?
  • How are social movements shaped by cross-border exchange? How are political ideas transmitted from one country to another?
  • What work do borders do? How should we understand the social, economic, and political construction of the U.S.–Mexico border?

Capitalism, Dependency, and Development in Latin America

This course examines Latin American insertion into the global capitalist economy from the colonial period to the present. Examining various historical, sociological, and political-economic theories, this course will ask not only how Latin American economies and societies have developed their particular characteristics, but also how theorists within and outside the region have understood Latin American development over time.

At the end of this class, students will be able to answer the following questions:

  • What ideas and theories have guided the development of capitalism in Latin America?
  • What is the relationship of Latin American development to broader global processes?
  • What contradictions have structured Latin America’s insertion into those processes, and how have governments attempted to overcome them?
  • How have considerations of race, class, and gender affected Latin American development processes?
  • What problems persist in Latin American development today, and what are their historical roots?