I took this lower div with him and I found his class to be pretty easy. I'm taking Hist 105B with him now and it seems like it'll be just as easy. The midterms in both classes are 20-25 fill in the blank statements. If you copy what he writes on the board, you'll know what to study for the midterm and finals. The final is 2 short answer essays. Both exams aren't cumulative. I went to lecture frequently, and when I didn't, I made sure to get notes from someone just so I know what I missed. I don't know how people passed when they never went to lecture...they must've paid attention to the reading! You don't really have to understand the reading, you can just skim (even if you have to write a half page summary- with the book in hand, it's not hard). He's a cool teacher.
Super easy class, I got an A. The midterm is a high school style quiz that takes five or ten minutes max to complete, since it's twenty-one questions of pure recall. The final was a four-page essay. We got to do it as a take-home because Piterberg didn't want to have the final at 3:00 on Friday, so it may not necessarily be a take-home in the future. Piterberg is pretty chill. Big fan of Messi. He's also atheist, so don't expect him to approach Islamic dogma from anything other than a perspective of non-belief. The nice thing about this class is that there's no work. He'll usually let class out fifteen or twenty minutes early, and since he lectures pretty slowly, this means there is very little material that is actually covered in the class. No need to do any of the readings since both exams are entirely lecture based. Not the best class I've ever taken, but it was certainly interesting enough to keep me engaged.
I must say that I really enjoyed Piterberg's class. He doesnt bog you down with all of the details like Prof Morony does, he just gives you a cursory overview of the material. BREAKDOWN of class: Midterm 50% fill in the blanks (in class), Final 50% one essay (in class). I aced the midterm no problem just from going off of my notes, but i came to class EVERY DAY! Piterberg tells you that the test material comes for the lectures, so GO TO CLASS!!! sooo many people didnt, and they got screwed! Now, I aced the midterm and final, but many people didnt. I suggest that you type your notes if you can and make the dates or names that he WRITES ON THE BOARD in "bold" then for the midterm, make a studyguide or flashcards of all the bold terms. The midterm was NOT worded well at all and was very confusing, but the best way to study for Piterberg is your NOTES and NOT the books. Read them, b/c they are interesting, but as he says his tests are on the material discussed in CLASS and NOTHING ELSE!!! Final was one essay out of 3, which basically covered the 3 main themes of the course. Again, i studied my notes, and got an A on the final. My advice 1) Come to class EVERYDAY it is worth it! 2) Take GOOD notes, and mark your notes every time he WRITES ON THE BOARD. 3) Make study-guide/flash cards for the Midterm 4) Study notes (3 main themes of the course) for the Final exam. Although I liked the class, and Piterberg is entertaining, he DOES NOT like staying after class to answer questions. He literally RUNS out of class as soon as it gets out. He is also often late, but ALWAYS leaves on time! I even asked him one time why he runs out of class so soon, and he responded "What do you expect me to do, sit here?" Yes I do professor! you should stay for at LEAST 2-3 mins to answer questions! Take ANY of his classes, his exams are very DOABLE if you take good notes, I can't stress this enough.
Good Lecturer and a funny guy who really knows his stuff on Arab Provinces in the Ottoman Empire, the experience only got better with Nefertiti as my TA, she was awesome! Anyways, discussion section, final, midterm make up the grade in this class, and it's not a terribly hard class, but the readings were very complex, nevertheless take him, he's really cool!