Roots of Democracy
Spring 2021 - Professor Treisman is the real deal-- Harvard, Oxford, civilian economic advisor to the Russian government... and it shows. He's incredibly knowledgeable and is palpably very, very intelligent. He's an excellent, very clear lecturer, and is extremely organized. The class is very interesting. It's also one of the more difficult classes I've taken. I got an A on both papers, but the topical variety of the class was extremely broad, and the readings he assigned were often lengthy and difficult. Writing a successful paper was contingent on taking notes/citing the lectures (I assume this would be very difficult to do in-person where you can't rewatch lecture) and having a thorough understanding of most, if not all, of the readings (unlike some classes where you can get away with analyzing/reading just a few selected texts). My TA ended up giving me a low A minus section grade which resulted in me not receiving an A overall in the class, so I would recommend really making sure to speak a lot in section-- which is, again, predicated on you doing the readings, which are very time consuming. Overall, I'd say this class is worthwhile, mainly because the topics are interesting and Treisman is a renowned political scientist and seems to actually care about what he's teaching (a rarity in UCLA's political science dept), but you should take it with the understanding that while the class is fair and the content is clear, it is still difficult and demands a lot of reading time (took me roughly 4-5 hours a week) and effort put into the two papers.