Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
Fall 2022 - Preface: I took this class during the TA-strike; the whole class was awarded full participation points. SO, Dr. Sissa is a very kind woman. The Prof: Honestly, she's amazing and deeply invested in her student's success. That does not mean that I loved the class. I'm a philosophy major but my eyes glazed over certain texts. She tries to make it engaging but the material from M111 was upcycled into this class making the material a bit dry. Again, she's very encouraging and wants you to succeed. Participation: I'm pretty shy so I didn't speak up much in class but I would go to office hours and I think she appreciated that. Due to the TA-strike, the class was leniantly awarded full points. I didn't always go to class, especially at the end--it was rough lol. I made a point to go in the beginning and up to midterms; I went to office hours. It just got harder with the TA strike/ zoom school. TA Patrick Callahan: I really loved my TA. Patrick is very knowledgeable on the issues and clearly cares for the students. I took my annotations and analysis to him at the end of each week and we would go through them. There were times where I canceled or he did, but I think that showing the effort made a difference in my grade. The strike sucked. She canceled in person classes and it got a lot harder to reach her. The Material: Herodotus, the “Constitutional Debate”; Pericles' Funeral Oration; Aristophanes, Birds; Aristophanes, Women at the Assembly; Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Politics; Polybius, Histories; Augustine, The City of God; Marsilius of Padua, the Defender of Peace; Dante Alighieri, On Monarchy; Thomas More, Utopia; Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince. Dry but Sissa makes it a bit better. I didn't do all of them because the workload is pretty overwhelming (especially at the end). Honestly, talking about it with her and my TA gave me a lot more incite. As long as your papers are creative and well-argued, I think it will work out. If your TA can see that you have genuinely engaged with the material (or at least tried) you will probably be okay. Have fun with it. Workload: It's not awful but the readings are so dry that it took me hours to fully annotate an assignment. It picks up pace after the midterm, that is when I started picking and choosing the readings I wanted to write my paper on. Exams: TWO PAPERS with attendance and participation in section. ummm this was very stressful. My midterm was an A- and my final was an A. It's not that "hard." She wants something exceptional. An A for her is something with nuance, creativity, and clear argumentation. The issue is that you have walk the line: reaching is punishable lol. I spent a few days writing my final exam. I took my midterm criticisms very seriously... I think that's why I did better on the final. Overall: Tough but doable. Not a class I would take for an easy A but if you're a skilled writer than I'm sure that's a different discussion. Sissa really cares for her students but you have to make an effort (especially on the exams). I liked the class, didn't love it though.