Continental Political Thought
Winter 2021 - It appears that Barker no longer teaches at UCLA and is now at Smith College. So, those at Smith College who are somehow reading this review, beware! Here is a long-overdue review of my experience in his class. While the reading material of this class is super informative, the same cannot be said of Professor Barker. He's terrible at communication and, on top of that, is not helpful. On multiple occasions, several students on Zoom wanted clarification of the essays and he just left them hanging by dodging their questions. You are on your own. Even worse, although the three essays are YOUR interpretations of the reading material supported by textual evidence, it is ultimately up to Barker's interpretation on what grade you will receive. Don't write something that is slightly off what he believes/think is right. For the record, I did pass, but the amount of stress I put into reading and writing for this single class is horrendous. I do not recommend taking him at all.
Fall 2020 - Professor Dienstag is a very kind and intelligent individual who has a very old-school approach to lecture. His class is structured around his lecture time being spent speaking on the required texts, its context, as well as expanding upon the text and building it into something more approachable. Most of the lecture is spent being lectured to with random intercessions for questions from students. The most crucial element to his class is attending discussion having read the material and being prepared to discuss and dissect it. The class relied on three essays and weekly readings that made up the majority of your grade. The workload is reasonable with a heavy reliance on required (student purchased) texts on dense philosophy and theory. Attend lecture, attend discussion, engage, and write your essays well. Also take advantage of office hours and opportunities for questions to ensure you do understand the often dense material. The biggest emphasis is formulating your own interpretation of the readings and putting that into your papers while avoiding summarizing the text. Overall, Professor Dienstag is an extremely friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable professor with a desire to encourage and cultivate a deeper understanding of the material with an emphasis on learning.