All Ratings and Reviews for Linda C Garro
Professor Garro is a very knowledgable scholar, but an absolutely terrible lecturer.
Her lectures are mostly explanations of readings for that week, but her explanations were hard to follow due to her constant stuttering, lack of proper wording, and confusing use of quotes from readings. This accompanied with uninformative slides which often do not pertain to what she is saying, made listening to her feel more like a headache than a relief from understanding the class material. The lack of coherent structure in her lectures made it confusing to take lecture notes due to the frequent rubber banding between going back and going forward on content and concepts.
As for the material itself, there's 1 to 3 readings of 6 to 30 pages required per week from her own work published in the early 2000s or from older medical anthropologists' publications from the 1970s to 1990s. The contents of the material were not too hard to follow, but most of them included complex themes and concepts were often confusing and needed further explanation are severely lacking, as previously stated.
Lastly her attitude towards the class was supposedly very supportive and positive, according to the TA, but Garro's interaction with the class has mostly been absent or otherwise negative. In the earlier weeks of the class she used to ask questions but as the students answered her question, she would reply with an uninterested "Ok" until one student barely scratches the "right" answer which no one but her seemed to have been able to guess correctly. Other times, she would outright tell the student they are wrong or give a sarcastic answer of 'Is it?' while trying to speak over them without letting them finish their thought/answer. Unsurprisingly the students stopped participating in fear they would just be dismissed for attempting.
Overall, I would not recommend Garro. Her class has been the most unenjoyable experience I've had in my 4 years in UCLA. The content I've consumed from this class seemed to just turn me further towards disgust and annoyance about a topic that initially interested me due to its premise of understanding cultures' approach to medicine. Garro's teaching seemed to have entirely dismissed the objective truths we know about biomedicine while exoticising the non-Western approaches to medicine.
I just read all the postings about Professor Garro. She must really have improved her style over the last few years. I took her final today (so I dont know my grade yet) and I believe that she is an excellent professor. Sometimes her lectures jump around and it can get pretty confusing. Luckily, she gave out a ton of handouts with everything you need to know. The downside to that was having to review them all for tests and she would give information you didnt need. If you're one of those people who likes to learn just to learn, then these handouts are great and so beneficial. If you just want to get a grade and move on, the handouts will drive you crazy. The assignments were vital to learning methodology. There were absolutely no surprises on either the midterm or final -- they were very fair. She would literally say "know this for the test." The questions were well thought out and very understandable (as they should be since she does write interviews and ethnographies for a living). She repeats important concepts a lot which is great because you know exactly what she wants you to know and it makes studying easier. Her TA was one of the best I've had in this department. She made discussion fun, was very knowledgable and obviously had great communication with the professor. Garros fieldwork is interesting and she chooses readings that are very relevant and helpful. If you are interested in doing fieldwork one day, think you could ever be interested in it, or are trying to decide if anthropology is right for you, I highly recommend taking her class. If I had taken this class during my first year at UCLA rather than my last year, I probably would have understood other anthropology courses better and probably would have attempted to do fieldwork each summer. I'm expecting a B in the class, only because I didn't try as hard as I should have. But she makes getting an A in her class very possible.
In almost four years at UCLA I have never had such a bad class as this one. Her lectures are extremely dry and boring. It felt like each lecture was five hours long. If you are a student who likes to go to office hours, you can count on being rushed out of her office as soon as possible. She is more interested in her own outside research than the class she teaches. The assignments she assigns are a complete waste of time, and so are the discussions with the T.A. Nothing was learned in the discussions. All of this is coming from an A student. If you do take her class you better agree with her opinions and write them on your midterm, or else...
Professor Garro's class was by far the worst class I have taken in my academic career. First of all, I was extremely excited to take med anthro as I have been interested in this subject matter for a long time- Dr. Garro changed my approach to this field and I will not be coming back. Her workload is unbelievably heavy, unreasonably heavy. There are weeks where she assigns over 200 pages of material, on which there will be detailed questions (so, no, do not read the intro and the conclusion- a solution that her TA suggested). She is inaccessible outside of the classroom and it is apparent teaching is an inconvenience to her and a nuisance that is a side effect of her research work. She is a dry, boring, and confusing (impossible to follow) lecturer. Her TA suggested we were just not intelligent enough to understand her extremely complicated chain of thought, but I believe that truly intelligent people find a way to convey their knowledge, so we will have to disagree there. All in all, her exams are unfair, as she is so behind on the lecture material questions are asked on material that has never been discussed and her understanding of it is often much different than what would be expected. She offers no explanations, holds grades hostage (even after the work has been graded), for instance, we received final grades before any other grades were made available. I am convinced her only goal in life is to make students' lives a living hell.
Horribly disorganized. The subject was very interesting and some of the assigned readings were pretty insightful, but progression through material was markedly inconsistent- many things that were very important on the final and midterms were rushed through, while things that weren't as focused on took up most of the time. (See NO STUDY GUIDE...save for the hard fought for midterm study guide)
The grading rubrics for the assigned papers were also very unclear and seemed like they were worded to be more confusing than helpful- including information and questions that were not relevant to the points needing to be addressed.
Finally, the professor was very committed to her opinions on the material where it wasn't obvious what the "correct" answer was. Disagree AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
I may have gotten an A in the class and I trust that both the TA and Professor are good people, but I cannot in good conscience recommend this class to anyone.
I hate this class so much. It's so much work and if you're not interested in random native American/ Mexican medical practices like me don't take this class. She is so boring and her grading and prompts are so weird and unclear. Tests are really hard and she is very against study guides. Overall a boring waste of time and money; would not recommend
I was very surprised by the comments on Prof. Garro. I found her an excellent teacher, one that gives everything to her class and expands your world view. She is very concerned with students queries and doubts to which she always try to aswer. She is fair with grades. To conclude the class I took with her Anthro. 168 was a great experience.
My experience with Professor Garro was very different from the two reviews posted here. Maybe this is because I am one of those "grad students who doesn't care about grades and is only there to learn"? Excuse me, but isn't learning the purpose of being in school to begin with? I have never seen Garro be anything but fair and open-minded towards opinions differing from her own, as long as they are thoughtful. I have rarely had the pleasure of learning from a professor with such an ability to discuss theoretical ideas in a way that helps you think about them in a clear, immediate way and yet does not deny their complexity. The subjects she teaches are full of ambiguity; if you can't deal with that and only want the "right" answer and a A, maybe you should choose a different discipline--math or chemistry or something.
Never again! She is horrible. The 3/10 review is absolutely right. Probably the worst teacher in the Anthro department. She only says cultural relativism and dialectical (cultural and physical) over and over again. Where is the beef? No freethinking, but not structured enough to be tested on her material. Everything is cultural relative, but come test day, you need to agree with her. Very unorganized and unfair. No breaks. Think the material is interesting... well she will find a way for you to hate it. She should stick to grad students, who don't care about grades and are just there to learn. I have nothing positive to say.
This is one class that will greatly benefit from the semester school year. There is so much material you barely have time to reflect and digest. Prof Garro was very organized and anyone interested in doing traditional fieldwork will really enjoy the readings. This is not an easy class but if you work hard to understand the material you will do fine. My only advice is to make sure you understand what is expected in the assignments she gives and don't take section for granted.
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