Islam and Politics
Spring 2017 - People have been giving Bordenkircher a bad rep on other courses but honestly he isn't that bad. He has a very monotonous voice and likes to ramble and asks questions (and yes, he often kind of leaves the questions open-ended). He doesn't post any slides so you have to go to class everyday or do the readings. I stopped doing the readings halfway through but he goes through all the topics thoroughly. His slides are very sparse so you have to really listen to what he's saying because the slides aren't enough to go off of. There's a take-home midterm which consists of writing three (yes, 3!) essays which I thought was ridiculous but they weren't difficult to write if you go to class and listen to what he says. We also had to buy and read a book (Islamic Exceptionalism) for our final essay. I didn't think the book was awful and it's easy to skip the bits that aren't important to the prompt. In addition to the final essay we had a final exam which was four essays (which I also thought was ridiculous... I filled up 2 blue books). If you have no experience with Middle Eastern history, I don't think you have to worry because he does a pretty good job at explaining things. TL;DR: this class isn't as bad as I thought but you definitely have to put in the work which means more than copying down what's on the slides but actually listening to what he says.
I took Sociology of Race & Labor (M165) with Sawyer and found it to be a very interesting and easy course. Sawyer is very articulate and passionate and definitely knows what he's talking about. The grade was based on section (which was weighted quite heavily), a midterm, & a take home final. The class covered historical and contemporary topics ranging from slavery to unions and featured lots of films so it was fun. I felt like I walked away with a much better understanding of labor issues and definitely enjoyed the day-to-day lectures of the course.