Fall 2019 - Gelvin's lectures are definitely interesting, although I found myself not retaining a lot of the information because the lectures were kind of all over the place. Really nice guy and helpful during office hours. One of the only classes I've taken where the discussion sections have seemed really helpful/engaging. TA Lily Hindy was great and I still keep in contact with her. Grade is made up of 10 weekly reflection papers on the readings, 2 papers, and a final (either take home or in class based on a vote). We voted to have it be take home, and the assignment was two 5-6 page papers. Class is very writing intensive, but I definitely felt myself getting better at the assignments at the end of the quarter. This class was definitely interesting and I walked away a better writer and with knowledge of the middle east, but I would avoid if you are looking for an easy GE. Take it if you are interested in the topic and willing to put in the work.
Fall 2020 - Gelvin was great! The only work in this class was one reading per week which we'd discuss the next week in our seminar. I feel like I actually learned a lot about the new Middle East and Gelvin was really great at facilitating conversation. He was also pretty funny. Take this fiat lux!
Apparently I'm cataloged in the minority group as well, but i just wanted to note to incoming Gelvinites that the work this man demands and the grades that he subsequently doles out are definitely not correlated. I am not contesting his value to the UCLA Hist. dept. as a knowledgeable professor in the affairs of the history of the middle east; he is a very intelligent individual. What was disappointing was his complete lack of care for students, as he does not allow protestation of test grades, as, in my case, the TA failed to add up the points correctly and subsequently i found myself in a genre of grade that has been unprecedented for me at UCLA. Guess there is a first time for everything, but he pissed me off enough to leave my first bruin-walk post. Between the combination of his TA's that can't count, his redundant lectures that all seem to focus on the ECONOMIC history of the middle east, and his overinflated ego that leaves the class in awkward silences forcing people he's looking at to laugh, it's a bit much..
WOW...I love Prof. Gelvin. He is the $h*t. As easy as you want it to be. Here it is, all that you need to do is review just the notes from class and you'll get an A. His exams are essay based and not that articulate about how analytical you critique it. Just make a friend so you both review it makes it even easier. He is NOT boring, you'll WANT to go to lecture...you MUST take Gelvin at least once during your UCLA career. you wont regret it.
he is very self indulgent and in the three assignments, basically just wants you to repeat his point of view back to him. three five-six page papers and one ten page final or an in class final dependent on a class vote. the papers cover a lot of information and it was difficult to not exceed page limit but doable. I feel like I learned a lot in this class (history 109b) and really liked his lectures, but there were other people in the class who rolled their eyes every time he opened his mouth so it it subjective.
This guy is a genius, he is really smart, and an organized lecturer whom practically presents an outline of what he wants you to know. You have two papers, and one final (for which we got to vote on for an in class or take home final). He is a funny guy and he gives off an assholish persona which makes him that much funnier, seriously take him you won't regret it!