Spring 2022 - Super cool fiat lux! Would definitely recommend if you're interested in philosophizing about education in a small(er) group setting. Not gonna lie, 20 students was still too big for me to feel comfortable participating (at least at the time), but I still had a great time listening to everyone's discussions around the readings. The course structure was a simple reading selection each week, with Prof. Guhin leading the discussion but letting anyone chime in with their thoughts. We covered a bunch of different thinkers from Plato to modern with different philosophies about the purpose of education. It was particularly helpful for me at a time when I wasn't really understanding the colossal and increasingly capital-focused education system I found myself thrust into at UCLA and, although I still think our modern education is deeply flawed (but that's a different story), the class certainly helped with my understanding of where we are. Of course, everyone will get something different out of it; it's a humanities course. Take this and/or as many other small classes as you can, they're some of the best educational experiences you'll have at this huge school!
Fall 2020 - Highly recommend this class. I took it the first quarter it was offered and even completely virtual the class was super engaging and interesting. Since it's a cluster you spend a year focusing on Islam from a variety of different perspectives from some of the most knowledgeable and amazing professors on campus, and I have to say it has definitely changed the way I think about the social sciences. As a STEM major, like many others I took this class because it satisfied a lot of my GEs, but I got way more out of this class than that. To start with, the papers that I've written in this class have been some of the most interesting and unexpected, and I've been able to learn analytical skills both within and outside the social sciences that I don't think I would've learned outside this cluster and that I'll probably continue to apply beyond this class. The professors are so approachable and are always willing to help with research for your papers or your understanding of a topic. The third quarter of the cluster is also organized into small seminars where you delve into a subtopic with a small group of students and a TA (there are multiple seminars, each on a different topic, which you can chose from). I've had some of the most interesting discussions there and the small class size (it was about 10ish people) made the class way more engaging than your typical GEs. There was also a lot of focus on connections with present day issues, which also made the seminar an awesome opportunity to become more informed and aware of how the subject (and the social sciences more broadly) intersects with contemporary environmentalism, politics, science, etc., and learn things I can take with me beyond this class. There is a bit of work and reading that comes with the class, but if you stick with it it will be worth it, and you'll be proud of the diversity of what you've learned and of the work that you've produced. It's not the easiest class you'll find, but in a way the challenge made it worth it :D
Winter 2021 - Everyone loves Guhin, and he's a really sweet person and a caring, welcoming professor. However, I have to say as far as explaining the actual subject matter, I didn't find him that helpful. The lectures were a little too focused on his ideas and thoughts about the theorists and reading, rather helping students to understand the arguments of each theorist. You could come away from a lecture knowing Guhin's ideas and passions more than with a breakdown of the theory or argument, which is bad because later you have to write a lot of papers about that argument. TAs are helpful to a point with that but it's a crapshoot whether you get a helpful TA or not. In any case be prepared to read a lot and DO NOT get behind on reading.