All Ratings and Reviews for John Gavin Branstetter
If you like talking about racism, if you like hating on the West, and if you like making mountains out of molehills, this class is for you. Basically the four words you will hear the most throughout this semester are: racist, xenophobic, Eurocentric, and problematic. It's kind of annoying, but that being said I recommend this class.
Professor Branstetter is an engaging lecturer and is extremely helpful outside of class. He holds class meetings in the sculpture gardens once a week and has extra office hours leading up to an essay due date to accommodate students. Though I disagree with pretty much everything he said in class, he's a very nice guy and I really like him. He really goes the extra mile to make sure the class is as manageable as possible.
The class consists of three essays and no tests. There are readings due for each class with lecture based on the readings. Attendance isn't necessary, but I found that my class notes were essential for writing my essays. Side note- make sure to visit his office hours to get some notes on your essay at least once or twice before you submit. I would not have gotten A's had I not done so.
John Gavin Branstetter is one of the best profs at UCLA. I genuinely enjoyed his lectures and even his office hours and sculpture garden hours are engaging. His essay prompts are very clear; he is straight forward about what he is looking and he is more than happy to help out students who need further assistance with their papers.
Take him for theory, he sure makes the subject as interesting as possible
I’ve taken Professor Branstetter for Poli Sci 119 for two quarters in a row and both quarters I received As. He’s an exceptional professor who actually cares about his students and their learning. He goes above and beyond to ensure you understand the material. For Spring 2019 I took Political Theory in Translation. This class consisted of three short essays which were based on a prompt he gave us. They had to be about 4-5 pages double spaced and you don’t even have to read the materials to get an A on them. He doesn’t believe in the standard grading scale because he thinks it’s arbitrary so he only does whole numbers 100,90,80,70...etc. This kinda sucks because he rarely gives out 100s which he will tell you at the beginning of the class. The grade for this class is the average of your three essays so add your scores up and divide by 3 and that’s your grade in the class. This was kind of nerve wracking because if you mess up on one paper you’re pretty much screwed from getting an A so just don’t mess up lol. In Fall 2019 I took him again for Intro to Comparative Political Theory. This class was a lot more Political Theory heavy unlike the other class I took. Here we discuss political thought and different political thinkers and actors. For this class you have no midterm no final no tests and no quizzes!! It’s just 18, 400-500 word statement journals that are argumentative papers essentially. He gives you a quote from the reading and you either have to agree or disagree and defend your position utilizing the reading. These are spread out throughout the quarter but aren’t due until exam day of finals week at midnight. This is bittersweet bc theres no one to hold you accountable for procrastinating but you also have less stress during midterm szn. Also, attendance is not mandatory to succeed in this class, however if you want to attempt to score an A+ I would attend lectures because he goes into detail regarding the readings you’re going to have to write about. If you do ALL 18 journals you get an A- , if he thinks they are ALL superb you get an A+. If you don’t do at least 400 words for ALL of them or you miss some statement journals you get a D, and if you don’t do at least 12 of them you FAIL. So essentially if you do all the work somewhat decently then you get an A-. If you don’t want an A- which does affect your GPA I would NOT take this class. The readings were dense but they weren’t too long and it wasn’t a lot of them. I love Professor Branstetter so even though I didn’t really like the class bc the material was kind of boring to me I would recommend taking it just for the sole fact that he’s teaching it!!
This is a good class for those who are consider themselves good "BSers" and/or critical-thinkers. If you're one of these types—and actually go to most of the lectures and take good notes—then this is a pretty easy A and requires very little work. The lectures themselves are fascinating; Branstetter is definitely in the mold of the stereotypical liberal arts college professor who "blows your mind" every now and then, even if you don't share his (incredibly left-leaning) ideological inclinations. He's also incredibly helpful and accessible towards any student who may not feel confident with the course material.
I would avoid this class if you think you're not straight-up not good at "BSing", as the only form of examination in the class is three take-home essays that are all quite abstract in nature.
This class was so interesting. It prioritizes learning over grades, and I felt so connected to the materials and my classmates because I didn't have to constantly freak out over getting good scores. Such a great class and professor!
There are two sets of assignments in this class. You need to do 10 journals by week 6 and the other 10 by week 11. Each individual journal has to be 400-500 words long. For the first set, I got 100/100 and I did them in a span of three days. You have 5-6 weeks to do each so please do not risk yourself as I did. I just got lucky I guess. For the second set, I got an 88/100 and I think this was due to the fact that I did not do the last two journals as the professor made them optional. I did the last set in a span of two days so I ran out of time to do the last two. I think I would have ended with an A+ if I had done these two optional statement journals but oh well, I don't plan to go to law school anyway. Do not procrastinate like I did guys and you might end with an A+. Also, I do not think he gives A-. He only gives an A+, A, B+ and so on. Good luck guys!
Branstetter is my absolute favorite educator in the Political Science department. He's a really fun(ny) professor, genuinely cares about his students' success, and prioritizes learning over grades. There is no hw, exams, or participation credit, just two 10-page group papers with the most lenient grading scale you can think of. The prompts are relatively easy to answer as long as you pay attention to lectures and communicate with your group. Because the lectures took place over Zoom, he recorded them and uploaded them shortly after class along with the slides. Some of the readings (which are free and uploaded online as PDFs) can be difficult, especially if you're new to socialist theory, but he does an amazing job of breaking it all down. Lastly, he was very understanding about the news of police violence/BLM protests towards the end of the quarter and adjusted the final paper so that it was optional AND extended the due date. I definitely recommend taking at least one class with him (any of them, honestly) during your time at UCLA because he really is the best!
I love Branstetter. He is, by far, the best political science professor I have had at UCLA and I'm not even political theory concentration. I would recommend, no, demand everyone take him while they are here. He is one of those rare gems that actually, in words and actions, care.
For Spring this class was on Marxism, and it was by far my favorite class I've ever taken at UCLA. I took his PS10 class in winter and loved it so much that I enrolled in 119 for the next quarter. I really didn't think I'd enjoy theory because it has a reputation for being dry, but Professor Branstetter is so passionate and engaging about all his subjects. He also really takes the time to get to know his students and is so easy to talk to. His class consisted of a midterm, final, and weekly reading quizzes. The quizzes weren't bad, he drops the lowest two and gives extra credit (he also enjoys drawings of Karl Marx). The midterm and final were take home and the book and study guide covers everything you'd need to know. The readings were dense but I actually found it interesting if you give it a chance instead of skimming through it. He explains everything very thoroughly even if you don't get it the first time. He provided really good commentary on modern capitalism and I would often leave class still thinking about what he said in lecture. I can't recommend his class enough, and I'd take any of his future classes given the chance.
PS 10 with Branstetter 100% depends on your TA. Personally, my TA was really full of herself and graded pretty harshly. But other friends in the class had better and nicer TAs and ended up with better grades even with the same amount and quality of work. Branstetter is kind of a boring lecturer but he's entertaining enough. Lectures really aren't that necessary, but the reading definitely is. I've heard this was the hardest PS lower div and it was to me.
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