Teaching

I have taught large lectures and small seminars on Poverty, Development, Cities, and Climate Change. Syllabi for my most recent courses are available for download here along with a sample of student comments.

Sociology of Poverty (Harvard, 2021) [pdf]

“If you’re interested in social stratification or inequality, this class is a must. You really take a deep dive into the factors that contribute to inequality and poverty. Also, as an FGLI student, this class was really safe to show up and talk about my own experiences as being low–income and I appreciated everyone’s comments as sharing as well. Really good class!”

“This is a really important class. I enjoyed covering each themes in the week and appreciated how Ben would ask thought provoking questions and really stir conversation. I also really appreciated the community found in class. I think I really got to know everyone in class which is remarkable for our class size. I think this was in due to the small groups that we broke into at the beginning of each class to talk about the readings and a guiding question.”

“The class was extremely straightforward in its expectations. Ben’s lectures were always effective and interesting.”

“Ben was a fantastic professor for the course and used a wide range of perspectives to help us discover the stylized narratives within poverty studies. He was consistent in his framework of the texts assigned and really emphasized how important personal experience is to this kind of work. He was an engaging lecturer, even for someone like myself who tends to zone out. I’m not only taking away a passion for the material, but a smile on my face after class each day, largely influenced by Ben’s style of teaching.”

“TAKE THIS COURSE TAKE THIS COURSE TAKE THIS COURSE. The assignments are pretty easy (final paper is just a bit long) but the material is amazing and the way the course is run makes everything so much more personal and engaging. I wish every student at Harvard had to take this course, especially the ones that go into finance or study STEM. It really makes people more empathetic and you realize how inequality and poverty is literally artificially created by people in power. Like you think you understand, but this course enlightens you and takes it to another level. You will come out of this course depressed, but you need it. Everyone needs it. The world is messed up. Do you part. At the minimum, take this course.”

“I liked most of the content, but I really appreciated how the outside assignments were structured. The discussion posts/writing assignments were fair and allowed us full creativity!”

“Professor Bradlow is very knowledgeable about poverty in the US as well as across the world. He synthesized effectively all weekly readings and asked questions that sparked meaningful debates about the roots of poverty. He encouraged student participation and was very responsive to feedback about the course throughout the semester.”

Sociology of Development (Harvard, 2021) [pdf]

“You need to really do the readings to be able get anything from the class. Most of the value is in the framing and ordering of the syllabus and the exposure to a new field of research and a new way of thinking. There is also a really diverse array of methodologies presented in the papers. The course starts with a lot of broad theory that reads like social theory, but gets more and more empirical. What’s cool about sociology is that there will be really large economic scale analyses alongside qualitative interviews and always with some theoretical framework that ties them all together. I learned so much about world history, international, institutions, and other parts of the world that I knew nothing about going in. You’ll learn not only substantive information about how the world works, but a whole new framework and way of approaching your understanding of international affairs, capitalism, diplomacy, philanthropy, conflict, etc.”

“This is a great class for exploring several ideas and dynamics surrounding development and does not require past experience in sociology. Lecture is based around the discussion of bi–weekly readings which are interesting and complementary to one another. The content ranges from theoretical essays to recent empirical studies. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in how development relates to conflict between groups of people on a local and global basis.”

“Absolutely loved Professor Bradlow and the class. The readings are dense but he did such a good job of walking us through them. I think I learned more from this class than any other course I’ve taken at Harvard. Could not recommend with greater enthusiasm.”

“This course is a great choice if you’re willing to read (a lot) and continually ask and answer questions about how a sociological lens shapes the way we analyze and discuss issues in development. You will almost definitely leave this class with a new and more nuanced perspective on development!”

“This class is a great introduction to sociological literature related to development at all levels, from cities to global. Professor Bradlow makes a real effort to make sure students are really understanding the material, and I enjoyed the conversations that came out of the readings.”

“I now feel that I have a much more comprehensive understanding of development and the policies, decisions, and international dynamics that shaped the current global context. One of the biggest questions that I came into the course with was why some countries are much richer than others. While this question remains one that is challenging to answer, I feel that I now have an understanding of some of the major theories and historical underpinnings behind this disparity.”

“Professor Bradlow is passionate and makes an effort to engage students. I appreciated how he structured lectures and discussions around the questions people explored in weekly discussion posts. It’s nice to see a professor actively think about and respond to the ways students are understanding and interpreting course content.”

“BRILLIANT professor. He knows everything there is to know about development. He did a great job of distilling concepts from the readings for us. He got much more comfortable with us as the class went on and the class dynamic became very fun towards the end of the semester. He was also very helpful in office hours. Somebody give him tenure now.”

“I appreciated your discussion facilitation! I had a hard time convincing myself to make comments in class because I often felt like my comments were much more simplistic than others’, but you never made me (or anyone else) look like a comment was out of place. Even when someone’s comment was outright incorrect, you were great at redirecting conversation.”

Global Urban Political Economy (Harvard, 2022) [pdf]

“It has been truly a privilege to take this class. At least for me, the materials have been engaging and challenging, but not daunting to deal with. That’s why I think I learned a good deal but with joy. Honestly, not every class that we walk out of feels as if it has taught us concrete ways of analyzing a subject, but I gladly feel it with your class (and I am now more passionate than ever about urban studies). I hope other students will share a similar experience.”

“This course definitely made me consider cities as far more complex sites than I had first imagined. This course helped justify the importance of considering cities as a separate and vital institution.”

“Best course I’ve taken this semester. taught me how to view political economy through different sociological concepts.”

“I think that Ben was really good in class about saying things about the topics and readings that felt really insightful and generative.”

“Professor Bradlow facilitated discussion very well and was very helpful in helping students understand the concepts and theories of the readings.”

Climate Change, Power, and Global Inequality (Harvard, 2022) [pdf]

“The course readings and class discussions have opened my mind on this topic, and I think it will influence what I choose to do with my career and life in the future.”

“Two of the things I appreciated the most during the class were discussion posts and the review of the readings Professor Bradlow did before the beginning of each discussion. Having the discussion post for completion only (rather than providing a grade each time) removed any pressure to provide a “correct” answer and instead allowed me to explore my thoughts connecting across ideas and readings. The review of the readings that Professor Bradlow would do at the beginning of every class were extremely useful to put everyone on the same page. Just because I did a reading didn’t mean that I understood it – especially with some of the more theoretical texts – so I truly appreciated the overview of key points from the readings that we did at the beginning of class.”

“This course made me a more interdisciplinary thinker when it comes to climate issues. Whereas before I often addressed them from the single perspective I have been trained with, I am now able to address policy problems while considering a variety of different interests. I’ve learned to be skeptical of solutions that everyone often pitches as the silver bullet or even “what we’ve always done” and instead look towards fostering collective efforts towards decision making that allow for participation from a broad set of groups. I am also much more aware how deeply the climate crisis is rooted in global inequality and I truly appreciate having learned so much about its origins when I am looking towards solutions.”

“Ben is a really great professor and does an excellent job spreading out conversation and classroom discussion among the students there.”

“Professor Bradlow does a great job fostering discussion and the exchange of ideas in the classroom. By referring to student’s discussion posts in class, he guides the conversation through topics that are most interesting to the class and generates genuine discourse between the students. He is accessible during office hours and provides very thoughtful comments when discussing assignment ideas and the themes of each week. I’ve really appreciated how he shares his perspective and those of the authors we read in a way that allows us to disagree with him and then pushes discussion beyond the boundaries of our standard thinking.”

“This course provides an excellent forum for discussion of a variety of climate issues. The themes covered over the course of the semester are broad and the framing of climate change presented differs from the normal idea of “carbon emissions crisis”. By approaching climate change with the concerns of global inequality interwoven into readings and discussion, the course provides a much more comprehensive approach to understanding why current solutions haven’t worked and formulating what can be done in the future.”