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I teach a variety of courses in the fields of comparative politics and US foreign policy. My teaching is very much influenced by my research. That means that I am concerned with introducing students to important theoretical debates in relevant fields; to the challenges of thinking comparatively; and to the importance of producing theoretically informed writing. But whenever possible I also combine this with a hands-on approach to studying political science. Sometimes this involves transforming students into policy makers. On other occasions we travel to the field to witness first hand what we have been reading in books and studying in class. I do this to teach students how to use primary sources and do applied and field research. But I also want students to understand the real–life significance of material that can sometimes seem dry or distant when it appears in scholarly form.

For instance, students in a course on US-Latin American relations that I taught during the Fall 2007 drafted a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform. OUT OF THE SHADOWS drew on group research as well as a class trip to Washington DC where we met Senate staffers and civil society leaders committed to shaping the immigration debate. The individuals we met and other immigration experts commented on the subsequent policy proposal we produced.

Anita Isaacs with students in Guatemala in 2008

Courses devoted to Cuban history and politics included spring break travel to Cuba in 2001 and 2002. Haverford athletes (baseball, soccer and volleyball players) participated in these courses, specifically designed to use sport as a vehicle to foster dialogue between American and Cuban youth. During spring breaks in 2004 and 2008 I also took classes to Guatemala, where we witnessed first hand the legacies of a genocidal war and the challenges of building peace and democracy. Students on the 2008 trip kept a blog, which you can read, and made a video documenting their experiences, which you can watch