Archaeology of South Asia
This class is the last Archaeology class I'll ever have to take to fulfill my Major requirements & I had hoped that it would be slightly interesting, but I also had a feeling I'd be using the internet to waste time too. Archaeology of Prehistoric China was incredibly dull. The material is dull. There is nothing exciting about this class & it's not that I dislike Archaeology, it's that China & some of its neighbors aren't nearly as interesting as the cave paintings in France. P. Brantingham reminds me of an aged Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother as his enthusiasm for Prehistoric China is equivalent to Ted's enthusiasm for Architecture. However, this course's materials were incredibly dry. The readings worked better than a shot of Nyquil & all of the site names got incredibly confusing after a while. I don't mean to be racist against the Chinese as I'm Asian myself, but Longshan, Yangzi, Yangshao, Dawenkou, Rhenzidong, Bashidong, Mao Zedong, Dapengkeng, Majabang, Hemudu seriously start to sound like "chingchongdong", "chongchongdingdong", & likewise. He changes the spelling of the main river that runs through China called Yangzi. One slide he'll call it Yanzte & another he'll call it Yangzi. Since I am unfamiliar with any dialect of Chinese, for some time, I didn't know if there was a difference between the two or if they were the same & he was just messin' with us. He also left out the "g" in Dapengkeng for the first 5 or so slides which also threw me off a bit. If you plan on taking this class, here are my tips: -Dates & sites. Make flashcards, whatever, study the dates, sites, & what was found there. Memorize it. -The term "big picture" is such a load of dung. He specifically asks you what were found at certain sites. -Record his lectures. He doesn't have podcasts & his powerpoints may outline everything, but they lack great detail. There will be pictures of up Einstein or Trinity from The Matrix in his slides & if you didn't attend lecture, you'll be scratching your head on the relevance. -Pay attention in class so you can ask questions. -Skip the readings & save yourself some time. His midterm asked 1 question from the reading & he already discussed the answer in class. The final had 0 questions on the reading. -Do the optional paper if you fail the midterm. His exams are so detailed. -Memorize the location of the sites on a map. -Pottery is more than symbolic, you'll need to pay close attention to them. Two grades split 50%-%50%. Midterm grade & final grade. He doesn't curve the class at all so every point counts. This class's high points were the discoveries of H. erectus in the caves & the discussion of modern human origins. The low points were pretty much everything else. Sure I learned some interesting things about China, the evolution of Homo, monsoons, & how cultivation of rice was only possible in the Holocene, but this isn't a class I'd recommend. P. Brantingham is a really nice guy & he seems to be very helpful if you go to his office hours. He's more than meets the eye. Your immediate thoughts are, "Oh another dirt guy..." but you'd be dead wrong! He has developed a system with some mathematicians at UCLA to come up with a projection of possible criminal activity before it happens based on patterns. The material is boring, professor is really cool, but I wouldn't recommend this class. Brantingham is a very objective Archaeologist which allows you to get a different point of view other than those of Chinese Archaeologists.
I had him for 116N. Take this class. Get to know him! He is great and I really think you will enjoy him if you visit him in office hours and try to think about the interesting ideas he presents in class. He is very concerned about his students and will help you in any way he can.
I have taken three courses with Professor Smith now (Anthro 8, 116, and 119P) and I completely adore her. She is one of the most excellent and interesting professors in Anthro that won't blow your brain up with readings that, frankly, have no clout in the class except for the professor finding them "interesting". She is a real life archaeologist in South Asia and often uses her own work as an example for the class. My advice for students thinking about enrolling in any class Professor Smith offers is GO FOR IT!!! She is exciting, funny and gave me the rare will *trust me I usually do not have time to * to go to her office hours. Okay, well enough of oozing my love for her all over Bruinwalk---class breakdown Anthro 8: I took this bad boy a while ago, it is not hard to get an A in this class from what I can remember...just know the sites presented...and attend lecture Anthro 116/119P: Smith is so knowledgeable on these two topics. Once again, if you attend lecture and DO THE READINGS these should not be bad at all. In addition, make sure you do know details to add to written statements such as essays...they really help to boost the paper overall Good Luck!