Joshua Dienstag

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CLASSES

POL SCI 10
Introduction to Political Theory See Full Profile

Overall 3.6 Easiness 1.6 Workload 1.9 Clarity 4.2 Helpfulness 3.1

Most Helpful Review

It is not necessarily the lecture that is the problem, but unbelievably harsh grading by the TA's, especially Kye Barker, who seems more concerned in his opinion than the actual material presented in class. Have had several discussions to which I am spellbound at this particular T.A.'s departure from how papers should be formed. Will argue with you that a thesis needs to have a quote. Expect to learn things and even enjoy texts from the lecture, however see all the fun dry up as you continue to have to have each of the texts PRECISELY worded and defined in the way in which the T.A. would. If you care about good grades, this will drive you out of your mind. No matter how many office hours you spend, they will either "like" or "dislike" your writing. Never mind rubrics, fairness, and the classic structure of essay writing, but instead get roadblock after roadblock, inability to formulate original thought without penalty, and find the essays you write in this class to be nearly impossible without telepathy or simply the off chance the TA will like your writing style. If you like your G.P.A., do NOT take this class, especially if run by TA Kye Barker!!!!

(Winter Quarter 2016)
CLUSTER 21A
History of Modern Thought See Full Profile

Overall 3.6 Easiness 2.7 Workload 2.6 Clarity 3.9 Helpfulness 3.6

Most Helpful Review

Definitely a tough but rewarding class. The lectures are incredibly interesting and insightful due to the variety of professors/ teaching styles/ literature, but the most important to engage in are your discussions because your TAs are the ones that give you your grades. Lots of important readings so it's really helpful to be able to flesh them out in your discussions as to give you deeper reach when you write your essays. I really loved this class because of its intellectual value but if you're looking for an easy A, maybe reconsider.

(Fall Quarter 2016)
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CLUSTER 21B
History of Modern Thought See Full Profile

Overall 4.5 Easiness 4.0 Workload 2.5 Clarity 4.5 Helpfulness 4.5

Most Helpful Review

I took the class the whole year and I am just entering the seminar quarter, but for sure this is worth it. You can get by with understanding the text but not reading if you don't want to, the class is difficult and certain professors are more clear than other but the TA is what matters, I had Twyla and Keil and they are both awesome! I didn't take quizzes my first quarter with Twyla but i did with Keil and I think it helped me understand more because I pushed myself to read more. It is FOR SURE worth it!!! I recommend and it is better than other GE clusters.

(Fall Quarter 2016)
POL SCI 111B
History of Political Thought: Early Modern Political Theory from Hobbes to Bentham See Full Profile

Overall 3.7 Easiness 2.3 Workload 2.7 Clarity 3.4 Helpfulness 3.6

Most Helpful Review

The content of the course is extremely interesting (esp if you're really interested in theory) and Dienstag delivers it coherently and eloquently. You HAVE to go to class b/c he uses no slides at all but you will genuinely want to because he is such a great lecturer- always super engaging and insightful. I also really can't stress how interesting it was; if you engage with the readings and the lectures like you should, you'll leave class feeling like a different person. Also shoutout Steve Cucharo for being a great TA who genuinely cares about his students' learning!

(Winter Quarter 2019)
POL SCI 111C
Late Modern Political Theory Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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POL SCI 111C
Late Modern Political Theory See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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No reviews have been written yet.
POL SCI 113A
Problems in 20th-Century Political Theory See Full Profile

Overall 4.1 Easiness 1.9 Workload 2.0 Clarity 3.8 Helpfulness 3.3

Most Helpful Review

Professor Dienstag is a very intelligent person with a lot of valuable insight to offer. My class was small and discussion based so I did not get to witness his ability to lecture and teach very much. However, he gave great insight to the works we were examining. I only wish he was more approachable in his demeanor with students and presenting a more open, comfortable environment when discussing to help students feel more empowered to speak. At times, it did not seem like he respected our ideas. But otherwise, he is an excellent Professor and worth taking particularly if you are interested in theory.

(Dec. 5, 2008)
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POL SCI 113B
Politics, Theory, and Film Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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POL SCI 113B
Politics, Theory, and Film See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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POL SCI 116A
Marxism See Full Profile

Overall 3.6 Easiness 2.2 Workload 2.1 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 3.8

Most Helpful Review

Professor Dienstag is easily the most eloquent and intelligent professors I have had at UCLA. The class itself was amazing. However, if you are taking this class or any other political science class for that matter AVOID NAVEED MANSOORI AS A TA AT ALL COSTS. I typically never write reviews for classes but Naveed is one of the worst TAs at UCLA. His discussions are disorganized and unprepared, and though he is clearly intelligent, he does not know how to teach material at all. Don't let his "chill"/spastic vibe fool you: he is a ridiculously difficult grader, which would be fine if his teaching was of high caliber. His extreme socialist views are projected on every word he says and he shuts down any discussion about views that differ from his own. Its obvious that he cares very little about teaching students. I have had other friends who have taken him as a TA and agree that he is the worst. Think Michael Scott and Toby in the Office type relationship between you and Naveed after you take this class. Professor Dienstag's teaching makes this class redeemable, though.

(Spring Quarter 2017)
POL SCI 116B
Continental Political Thought See Full Profile

Overall 4.8 Easiness 2.2 Workload 2.5 Clarity 5.0 Helpfulness 4.5

Most Helpful Review

This is by far one of the best, and most challenging classes I've taken at UCLA. Professor Dienstag will throw this incredibly complex material at you (anything ranging from Heidegger to Hegel) which leaves the reader... confused to say the least; then he will give a cohesive and compelling lecture that ties all of the texts together. It's definitely a sink or swim kind of class so I highly recommend taking notes with the reading to make sure you grasp the text or at least have something to say once essays roll around. I know note taking takes forever but it's really important to have anything to grab onto, given the abstract nature of the texts.
Discussions facilitated by the TA Steve Cucharo were always fantastic too, because he encouraged everyone to explore concepts that often felt out of reach. He genuinely cares about his students' learning experience, so whenever I was struggling he was always a good person to talk to.

(Winter Quarter 2019)
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