Eugene Victor Wolfenstein
I am a Poli Sci major and took this class after being told amazing things about Wolfenstein by a high-school friend who just graduated from UCLA. After taking PS10 with him, I can see why many students think he is so great. Before I get into the class/prof, I will cut to the chase about the GRADE since that is what you are probably most concerned with. I am a freshman who received an A+ in PS 30 and 40 this year. I am praying that I will receive at least an A- in PS 10. The class is by no means easy. I would strongly recommend avoiding PS 10 with Wolfenstein (not sure about the class with other profs) if you plan on taking it only for a GE or to maybe get a "taste" of PS. If you fit into one of those categories, go take PS 40 with Schwartz and cruise by with an A+ without trying at all. Like I said, I came into this class knowing it was not going to be easy, and it wasn't. However, even if my GPA suffers because of taking 10 with Wolfenstein, I do not regret my decision. I can say that in my first year at UCLA, I learned the most in Wolfenstein's class and I actually grew as a person. As seen in other reviews, his lectures will inspire you. I know so many people in the class who never attended class because he posted lecture notes with all the relevant facts. But in honesty, if this topic interests you, every lecture will be entertaining. I cannot remember the last time I was so engaged in a class. It is important to note that taking 10 with Wolfenstein is misleading since the class is "PS 10: Intro to Political Theory." My best friend at UCLA took Philosophy 6 this quarter (Intro to Political Philosophy) and I will say that PS 10 is way more of a philosophy course. If you are looking for a PS class that will analyze the structures of government and reasons for their existence, PS 10 with Wolfenstein is probably not for you. He takes the works of political theorists (Plato, Marx, Locke, and Nietzsche) to an entirely higher level. In short, this class includes ontological, metaphysical, and epistemological ideas that receive equal weight to issues you would expect to receive more focus, such as the origin of the state, nature of justice, and notions of freedom. I think PS 10 not being what I expected it to be is why I enjoyed it so much. I cannot stress enough that I have not experienced "learning" like this in a formal setting for a very long time. Wolfenstein's lectures provoked many thoughts in me that I actually delved into randomly. If you have any serious interest in trying to get a better understanding of how humans act by nature and such consequences of that nature, I seriously recommend this course. Taking it at the same time as PS 30 gave me an amazing educational experience this quarter (not to sound cheesy). But seriously, ending my spring quarter by trying to tie all these philosophical theories together into one "big picture" made me feel like I am leaving UCLA this summer on a better off note than when I arrived here.
Professor Wolfenstein was very intriguing. In this class you cannot just show up expecting a lecture he goes old school by actually expecting students to have read the books; considered their own opinions; considered alternate opinions; and to engage in discussions amongst each other!! With that said, there are not wrong ideas everyone who gave their input was respected and able to develop within the safety of the class. There were very interesting thoughts and proposed solutions amid these difficult and emotionally provoking stories. Advice: Read the books, check out the cliff notes, ask questions and let yourself enjoy the class. I got an A, and I admit I missed a lot of the class. But when I was there, I was really a partner in the class. When I wasnt there, I was still a partner because I really did the reading and ingested the materials.