Fall 2019 - When I took this class it was Barker's first lecture at UCLA. Barker himself is clearly very intelligent, so intelligent that I found his lectures for the most part very difficult to follow, especially because he just reads off his notes and doesn't use slides or anything of the like. There was no midterm or final, just 3 essays that he graded pretty fairly, and pop quizzes every week on the reading so you can't get away with not doing the reading or skipping class. The quizzes were what lowered my grade, but as long as you do the reading or at least read spark notes on the books that have them the quizzes aren't that bad. If I took this class again it would be just to retake those quizzes, however his lecturing style really isn't my thing. Political theory is difficult enough without droning and monotone.
Winter 2021 - It appears that Kye Barker no longer teaches at UCLA and is now at Smith College. So, those at Smith College who are somehow reading this review, beware! Here is a long-overdue review of my experience in his class. While the reading material of this class is super informative, the same cannot be said of Professor Barker. He's terrible at communication and, on top of that, is not helpful. On multiple occasions, several students on Zoom wanted clarification of the essays and he just left them hanging by dodging their questions. You are on your own. Even worse, although the three essays are YOUR interpretations of the reading material supported by textual evidence, it is ultimately up to Barker's interpretation as to what grade you will receive. Don't write something that is slightly off what he believes/think is right. For the record, I did pass, but the amount of stress I put into reading and writing for this single class is horrendous. I do not recommend taking him at all.
Spring 2020 - Barker is a fantastic educator! The focus for this quarter was Environmental Political Theory, which was really interesting. The grade in the class was measured by three 3-4 page essays as well as discussion posts due each Friday, except on the weeks that papers were due. The prompts for the papers were very straightforward as long as you paid attention during the lectures (which were recorded and uploaded to the class website) where he discusses the assigned readings. All of the readings were posted online for free and were relatively short, very interesting, and (mostly) easy to understand. For the more challenging and/or longer material, Barker did an especially great job of breaking them down and focusing on the most important aspects. He also has a great personality and was very responsive to emails! Additionally, because of the ongoing pandemic, Barker kept an open line of communication for us through a Google Form where he gave us the opportunity to rate various aspects of the course and anonymously submit suggestions/concerns/etc. throughout the quarter if we weren't comfortable emailing him about them. 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 no-harm, meaning it didn't count against our grade if we chose to submit it and did poorly. Overall, Barker is an amazing professor and I definitely recommend taking a class with him during your time at UCLA!