Introduction to Western Civilization: Ancient Civilizations from Prehistory to Circa A.D. 843

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Mortimer Chambers See Full Profile

Overall 4.2 Easiness 2.5 Workload 3.0 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 4.0

Most Helpful Review

Professor Chambers succeeded in keeping most lectures interesting. He's really approachable in his office hours too. However, I would have to disagree with the bottom post on the topic of his choice in TAs. My TA did not know anything about Western Civilization. He practically had the students lead class discussions for most of the quarter (the only credit I give to him was contributing the fact that most of the Spartan army was gay...) and from what I've heard from other students, the other TAs aren't all the great either. Yes, Chambers is an awesome professor, but his choice in putting your grade in your TA's hands was the worst (and most effective... in a negative sense) part of this class.

Jan. 3, 2003
Robert Cleve See Full Profile

Overall 3.2 Easiness 2.8 Workload 2.8 Clarity 3.4 Helpfulness 3.2

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take it over summer! super easy, you don't have to go to class but it's actually pretty entertaining to go. the material itself is really interesting. just read the textbook and outline the possible midterm and final questions that he gives based on his slides (posted online) but mostly the text (he writes it)--about four hours' work before the midterm and final each, total-- and you'll be absolutely fine!

Jan. 1, 2009
Patrick Geary See Full Profile

Overall 4.0 Easiness 1.2 Workload 1.2 Clarity 3.5 Helpfulness 3.5

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Professor Geary gets right to it right when lecture starts, and he really knows his stuff! He makes things a lot more interesting than they could be. His lectures are very organized, too. He posts outlines of them online, but you should need to go to lecture to fill everything in. The class might seem easy, but because everything is essay format, you need to study, study, study... probably your notes more than anything else.

Michael Benson is a cool TA; just don't think that you can get by making random stuff up. (TA's grade everything in this class.) His TA sessions are pretty unorganized, but if you participate and ask questions, he's definitely knowledgeable about approaching things thematically, which is basically how the whole course works, anyway.

Feb. 4, 2005
Jackie Goldberg See Full Profile

Overall 3.3 Easiness 3.3 Workload 3.0 Clarity 3.0 Helpfulness 3.0

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Selling course reader:

Spring Quarter 2017
John Langdon See Full Profile

Overall 4.0 Easiness 2.7 Workload 2.9 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 4.4

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I wouldn't say this was an easy class because I had to put in a lot of work to get an A. However, even though I'm not remotely interested in history, I enjoyed this class because Professor Langdon was an engaging lecturer and was very passionate about the topics in the class (especially Roman history).

Materials you need for the class:
1. Required textbooks: you'll need about five in total (a main history book that supplements his lessons and four books for primary sources. The ones listed in this Bruinwalk are pretty much the ones we used in class).

2. Required course reader: this is the most important material you need in the class. If you don't have it, it's very difficult to follow what he's saying and to take note of all the details he mentions in class (he doesn't use slides). Everything you need to know in the class is in the course reader, and most of the details there are what he would expect you to write down during the exam. During lecture, he would draw on the concepts on the course reader and offer a more detailed explanation of it, often tying it with other concepts and bigger themes in the class. Halfway through the quarter, I just used the reader and the primary sources (for discussion and the paper) and did not use the supplemental book he often asks us to read, since he usually mentions everything you need to know.

3. No clickers needed. Lecture is simply you listening to him talk, and discussion is you discussing the primary source you have to read for that week.

Exams/Research Paper:
1. You have one research paper for the class that's about 4 pages long double-spaced. You'll be given plenty of time (we were given the prompt around week 6 or earlier and it was due around week 9) and you get a lot of help from your TA. I had a good TA (s/o to Chris), so it wasn't as stressful.

2. We had one midterm and then the final. Both are pretty much structured the same way, and to me this was the most stressful part of the class. The exam is all written parts, and you don't really have any idea what the prompt might be, so the best way to study is to cover as much topics as you can. From what I remember, you will have:
- 3-5 identification questions where he gives you a list of notable figures and you have to explain their significance in like 2-3 sentences.
- 2 compact paragraphs where you are given a topic to write about (about a paragraph long)
- and 2 essay questions (probably 12 sentences or longer)

You get a lot of choices for all parts. I remember for the ID questions you get about 10 or more figures to choose from, though the catch is that some of the terms might be like "Person A AND Person B" and that counts as one term, so you have to mention both in your answers (if you know one but not the other, you'll be marked down). For the paragraph and essay prompts, you get about 4 choices for each part, all of which cover different areas of the material so sometimes it's okay to not know everything. The most important part is to connect your answers with bigger themes in the class (ie. "There is truth in folklore" or the Ibn Khaldun Law) as the prompt will also be centered around that.

You'll have to memorize a lot of information especially when the final comes around, but if you're on top of your readings it shouldn't be that bad. I wasn't, so I had to cram a lot and it was pretty horrible lol

Your TA will grade all of your work. This is probably better than him grading because he looks for very specific answers sometimes, and at one point in class he was saying that if he had to grade our work we'd probably get a lower grade than what our TAs gave us (they were very generous).

I'd take a class with him again because he's an engaging professor and I enjoyed his class. I miss the fun lectures, but not the workload.

Good luck anyhow. If I can do it, so can you!

Winter Quarter 2019
David Phillips See Full Profile

Overall 3.9 Easiness 3.2 Workload 2.8 Clarity 4.2 Helpfulness 3.4

Most Helpful Review

Prof Phillips is extremely dull. Lectures often have one or two slides with no information on them, so you have to listen extremely closely to what he says. This is difficult in part because of all the ancient greek words that are used, so you don't know how they're spelled. He has some dry humor he throws in maybe once per class, which is admittedly pretty funny, but otherwise he's very stern. When I asked questions after class he was always very dismissive. The class also is extremely broad, so it's impossible to gain that much insight into the time periods. Pros: His periodical humor, his two tone doc martins. Cons: mean and boring, hard to follow, way too much material to cover.

Fall Quarter 2019
Claudia Rapp See Full Profile

Overall 3.5 Easiness 1.8 Workload 2.5 Clarity 3.7 Helpfulness 4.0

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Rapp is very knowledgeable about Western Civilization, and the class wasn't too bad. However, her lectures are a bit boring (since she's a tad boring). Midterm and Final are relatively easy, since all you have to do is memorize (she gives you a list key words to help you study). Discussion requires a bit of reading, but really you can just skim the book, since the midterm/final's word list require only specific things. Also, you can skim the source texts also, since the discussion will point out all the key parts.

April 21, 2006
Damon Woods See Full Profile

Overall 3.6 Easiness 2.4 Workload 2.2 Clarity 3.8 Helpfulness 3.4

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I took Intro to Southeast Asian Studies with Prof. Woods - not History: 1A. There was no SEA course option.

Great professor! His lectures are very easy to follow, and he's extremely friendly. If you have a question, don't be afraid to ask because I'm sure he'd love to help. The class consists of a map test, 10 page paper, the midterm, and the final. The midterm and final are quite easy because he gives you a study guide, and the questions will only come from there. The only thing that you have to be aware of are the TONS of weekly reading that you'll have to do. BUT, if you use your time wisely and read the articles in advance, it is not very difficult to finish. Take this class! It's a really easy GE, and I found some of the readings very interesting.

Dec. 4, 2008
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