International Relations of Middle East
The man has been an expert in the field for approximately 60 years. Going to his lecture gives you the opportunity to hear the details from a man who knows them inside and out, has been following the events since the 40's, has lived the history, and has long been one of the nations leading minds in the field. To take Binder is an opportunity many students take for granted. Most of these students below don't realize how lucky they are. Binder is in his 80's, if his mic isn't on it is hard to hear him, and yes, his slides can be hard to follow. Having said that, Binder knows this material like the back of his hand; to forgo lecture is to deprive yourself of an opportunity that will not be around much longer. Sit in the front with a cup of coffee and pay attention.
Hands down, Speigel was the best professor I've ever encountered. I don't mean that in a "omg I love him he's so smart and funny and can do no wrong" kind of way - I mean it in a "holy crap, this guy KNOWS HIS SHIT" kind of way. Seriously, you will learn a lot in this class. As you can tell from the other reviews, PS132 is very reading-intensive, but it's worth it. You'll be listening to him talk about Palestine-this or Israel-that and all of a sudden he'll say something like, "that reminds me of a time I was having lunch with Ariel Sharon..." and your jaw will just drop. It's kind of awesome. I know some people were frustrated by the way he jumped around in lecture, but it honestly didn't bother me because he's so engaging that it's easy to follow what he's saying. Not an easy A, but if you are interested in the Middle East and want to learn more, you couldn't ask for a better professor to teach you.
Fall 2020 - Lots of weekly reading, but it sure is worth it! Be sure to manage your time and DON’T PROCRASTINATE! Prior to this course, I knew nothing about the Middle East, but after it was done, I learned the history, politics, and reasoning as to why the Middle East is the way it is. Professor Waxman is extremely bright on this topic. His lectures are very brief but complex. We also had guest speakers, many of whom are experts in IR of the Middle East. Though, as others have noted, some of the speakers were hard to understand at times. I felt that the Essay exams were a bit challenging, so it is essential you ask questions and clarifications from your TA because they are the ones who will grade it. Luckily, my TA (Monica) was awesome! You will have multiple prompts, but only choose 3 to answer in an essay format for the Midterm and Final exam. One downside for me was the simulation because it was honestly a waste of money. We could’ve just used GroupMe instead. Over all, this is perhaps one of the best courses I have taken at UCLA – thus far!