Culture and Communication

Alessandro Duranti

Culture and Communication

Anthropology department

Alessandro Duranti

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Overall 3.7
Easiness of class 3.8
Workload 3.4
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 2.9
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.7


  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Often Funny
  • Issues PTEs
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Would Take Again
  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks


Winter 2019

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

1 of 5


Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted April 7, 2020 Grade Received: A

Duranti is a true homie. He is a bit disorganized (and he knows it too and jokes about it which I respect), but at the end of the day, he makes a point. I had Nicco as my TA and he was great. Every week we had thought-provoking discussions that I found my self discussing with classmates after as well. I'm pre-med so I thought I would just take this class as a GE and be done with it, but I was truly interested in the subject of linguistic anthropology.

As for the class, you've heard it already, there's no midterm, final, or paper. Rather there are 8 pop-tests throughout the quarter that are mainly based on the readings. They weren't too hard and your lowest one gets dropped and replaced with your highest score (which should be a 10).

Anyways, if you take this class PLEASE take it with Duranti.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 31, 2020 Grade Received: A+

FAVORITE CLASS TAKEN YET!!! Professor Duranti is a great lecturer and is super helpful and open to talking about his own research and stuff. The books we read are really great! It is sort of a lot of reading for this class but honestly you can skate by without reading the articles thoroughly but I would recommend reading the books thoroughly. There are pop quizzes that you can't make up so you have to go to lecture but you get to drop your lowest one. They are like once a week. The questions on the quiz are detailed based on lectures and readings but most are true/false and then like 1 short answer question. The reason I say to read the books is because he normally gives 2 options for the free response: one super easy one from the book, or something extraordinarily picky thing that only a savant would remember. Take for example, "What was different in Franz Boas' grammatical description of Kwakiutl as compared with Bertonio's grammar of Aymara?" versus like an easy thing about the book. The quizzes are merely to make sure you're keeping up. That being said, they make up 80% of your grade and the other is 20% attendance/participation in section.

This class is great because what Duranti cares about is that you learn something and it makes you reflect on the world and about life as opposed to having to memorize verbatim who said what in 1981. I would 100% take a class from him again.

Was not the biggest fan of my TA, Hannah. I felt bad because it was 9am and was not in the mood to discuss linguistic anthropology and neither was anyone else in section. So that was more on us not being prepared, than her. Of course this was frustrating to her so I can't blame her. On the other hand, she is very approachable and nice in office hours or if you have a question in general.

TLDR; take this class!!!

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 30, 2020 Grade Received: A

Beware that this class is taught in an unorthodox way. Duranti, who is a very accomplished academic, has decided on a method of teaching the class that involves the following:
- Your knowledge of what he says in lecture is not graded, but he tells you to take notes on his words because the slides he has will be uploaded for your viewing at any time. (Don't fall for his trap; you won't be graded on what he says. But he will tell stories and generally amusing tales, on top of added anthropological information, in case you want notes on that.)
- You will read 3 books over the duration of the course, and several other articles. You also have to know the content of the slides (note: SLIDES, which are uploaded, NOT what he says while showing them in lecture) as if they are readings.
- You will be graded almost entirely (80%) on the 8 pop tests he gives. This is the only practical reason to come to lecture.
- The tests evaluate your knowledge of the aforementioned readings; usually you have to recall details and themes from the texts, which can be tricky. Occasionally you will get an open-ended reflection question.
- The last 20% of your grade is half attendance and half participation, both only for your discussion. Definitely go, because if not, you're probably boned, and they will actually probably be fun (unless you really hate the books).
- Duranti admitted that at least one of the books he assigned he had not read before the course begun. (Granted, it had come out the previous year--I'm talking about A Death In The Rainforest by Don Kulick--but we read it in three weeks, and he could have read it sooner if he wanted to.) This tells me the class is pretty much improvised as the quarter goes on. This also means that some of the details in my description here could change before the next time he teaches this class. He has an improvisational attitude in general, included in his taste of music: jazz jamming.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 30, 2020 Grade Received: A+

Basically it was a super easy A+, but you'd have to sit through 2 pretty boring lectures every week (lectures aren't podcasted).

There were no traditional final and midterm but instead pop exams that were given every so often (8 in total). The books that were the required reading (I highly suggest you read all of them as they are vital to you answering the test questions) were pretty interesting, A Death in the Rainforest by Don Kulick (loved it!), Confronting the Death Penalty by Robin Conley (interesting read, a little repetitive) and The Everyday Language of White Racism by Jane Hill (lol, took a lot of effort to get through this one).

The tests were like 5 true/false questions and 2 open-ended questions and worth 10 points in total for each test. I had Reem as my TA and she was super helpful in relaying the material because I literally do not pay attention for shit in lecture so going to my section was highly necessary in my case.

Honestly, take the class for the grade but other than that I wouldn't say Durantis lectures were super engaging so he often times lost me when we were like 10 minutes in lecture. His slides are often very short and don't carry much context so can't rely on that too.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted March 25, 2020 Grade Received: A+

Professor Duranti is truly a unique lecturer. He always gives anecdotes and tries to engage our large class. Sure, he goes off tangent, and he is aware of that, but don't worry too much about taking notes in lecture. Some lectures may seem long and a bit dry. He will post the slides later, so you can refer back to those. I didn't expect this class to be so focused on linguistics. Nonetheless, the books he assigned to us were not too bad, and I actually enjoyed one of them. The pop quizzes are pretty easy. Just have an idea of what the last week's readings and lectures were about and you'll be fine! He even drops your lowest quiz grade. The fact that there are no final and midterm makes this one of my favorite, low-stress GEs. Duranti cares about his students' wellbeing and understands that a GE should not cause an unnecessary amount of stress, which I found to be the case in some of the other GEs I have taken at UCLA. I would recommend this class. You will definitely learn something interesting out of it.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 25, 2020 Grade Received: A+

This class was weird. The content is relatively dry and the workload is alright. You are assigned 3 books to read throughout the quarter. Pretty easy reads. Lecture entails Duranti using slides that correlate the reading to his other lecture material, all super boring tbh. However, Duranti is a very interesting man. He is super accomplished and honestly really funny. He is a realist and understands the lives of students and how much they have to do. There is no final or midterm in this class. It consists of 8 pop tests that are assigned throughout the quarter. People say this is random but honestly you can figure out the pattern of when you'll get one really easily, and sometimes he even emailed us the night before and told us we would have a test the next day. These tests were super easy, if you skimmed the reading which I did for the first book (didnt even read the second 2) and listened moderately in lecture while jotting the slides down, you'll be totally fine. Also these tests were super bs-able and you could pull answers out of your ass left and right. My TA was Max B. , he was super nice and graded very easily. He is a very formal and intelligent guy and uses a high level of language during discussion, sometimes tough to follow, but at the end of the day I was glad to have him as he was a forgiving grader. My advice if you are thinking of taking this class, do it. It is super finessable and honestly not too insanely boring, Minimal effort will give you an A if you know how to finesse a class.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 24, 2020 Grade Received: A+

Sweetest man ever!!! Very easy A! He often goes off topic and is sometimes hard to understand but he is a very nice professor and really cares about his students. He posts the slides after every lecture and had pop quizzes (8 in total) instead of midterms and final. They were very easy but ensured that you did your reading/went to lecture. They were true and false and short answer questions. Each quiz was about a page long and varied from 3-6 questions.

Selling A Death in the Rainforest by Don Kulick (normally $14) for $10
Selling Everyday Language of White Racism by Jane Hill (normally $44) for $30
(I will ship these to you for free!)

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted Feb. 11, 2020 Grade Received: A

Love professor Duranti! He is a little old man from Italy and super funny. It's not always clear what he's saying but it's an easy A so doesn't really matter. There's no midterm or final; just pop quizzes based off the weekly reading assignments. Very light workload, no attendance in lecture but ya never know when there's gonna be a pop quiz. TA takes class a little too seriously but I def recommend this for GE.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted Oct. 14, 2019 Grade Received: A

I would recommend this class as it is a fairly easy GE. Professor Duranti does get fairly off topic sometimes regarding his studies, but it is interesting seeing how accomplished he is. There are no midterms and finals, only pop quizzes and tests. Although the only significant difference between the quizzes and tests is one or two more questions. These pop quizzes/tests also make it hard to skip class because you never know when they're coming. Other than that, this class is nice to get a GE out of the way.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted June 28, 2019 Grade Received: A

This class was definitely an easy A. No final, no midterms, no papers. Just pop quizzes or tests every week, so you couldn't really skip lecture bc you never knew which day the test or quiz was on. If you have a good TA and discussions before the quiz, you'll be fine. My TA Wesley was the absolute best and always told us what was going to be on the test/quiz. Professor Duranti is a sweet man, but not organized at all. The material of this class is very dry and super boring, but if you have a good TA (especially Wesley), you'll be fine. I only read the first book (you're supposed to read 3) and I ended up with an A.
Selling all 3 books 818-239-9844

1 of 5


  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Often Funny
  • Issues PTEs
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Would Take Again
  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks

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