All Ratings and Reviews for Niko Besnier
Besnier is absolutely the most incompetent and inept person I have ever met. He is the most arrogant of people that I have ever met, both as an individual and as a professor. I swear, this guy has no capability to teach anything, especially anything about Polynesia. He might have a Ph.D. and immense knowledge about Polynesian languages, but be is by far in not just my eyes, but in the eyes of many, a COMPLETE MORON. I don't know how his students are in New Zealand, but over here, people are not afraid to speak up when they know that they are right, especially when it is about their own history, peoples, and origin. Besnier has demonstrated time and time again that he is jsut like any other anthropologist, where the way white people tell you where you come from only matters, while oral histories that have been passed down through the millenia are most likely not true just because they are not written down and were "most likely changed over the generations to justify something they feel will benefit them." I am tired of hearing and seeing this white man's BS because it needs to stop NOW!!! In my opinion, if a person is not coming from a native standpoint, they have no right whatsoever to tell people where they come from because if they have nto gone through certain things themselves, then they will never know what it is to completely and truly teach about that position. I think that the field of anthropology should be done away with completely because it is worthless to many people, especially native peoples from the Pacific Islands because they know where they come from. Besnier would tell our class that he was told certain things be native peoples in the Polynesian islands, but he never thought to realize that those very people only said certain things jsut to make him happy simply because he is an outsider. There are many native writers such as Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa that have clearly stated something that every anthropologist should think of: IF YOU ARE NOT NATIVE, YOU CAN NEVER COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHERE PEOPLE COME FROM AND YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TELL PEOPLE HOW THEY ORIGINATED SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT NATIVE!!!
Well, where can I start to describe Besnier. Personally, I think he is knowledgeable about Polynesian languges and certain parts of culture, but he is in my opinion, a HORRIBLE PROFESSOR !!!!! I took his class on Polynesian languages and cultures and I have come to the realization that he is incapable of teaching, espacially when it comes to Polynesia, its peoples and its history. This class has totally turned me away from the field of anthropology in all aspects whatsoever. Besnier represents the typical person who only shows one side of something, basically a one-sided white man's view of things without looking at reality and the total picture. He would never allow people within the class to present their views of certain topics and upon being challenged would proceed to make the student feel like what they knew was worthless just because he has a Ph.D. This class has made me realize that the field of anthropology is worthless in explaining where people come from and how they originated simply because anthropologists have doctorates and will always be able to dictate to you what people are supposed to be like and completely disregard facts coming from an alternate source such as that of a native standpoint. I took Besnier's class thinking that I might gain more knowledge about Polynesia, but all I have gained is a complete distaste and utter animosity for the field of anthropology in general. So basically, I recommend that no student take any class with Besnier ever.
Besnier is overall a very interesting professor. I enjoyed his leactures although they are- at times- long. As far as difficulty, I can't stress enough that you know about the main points of the class discussed in the first and second weeks of lecture. Make sure you attend class and do the readings. Lectures focus on a diversity of topics under very broad and abstract themes. But if I got anything out of his class, it was to be more analytical of the world I live in- seeing all actions as the result of the context for which I live. Whether you take his class or not- that is up to you. I personally like his style and the broad range of topics I learned from. The world of anthropology can really open up for you with this guy.
people who say that Prof. Besnier is a horrible teacher are just bitter jocks and frat boys who got their exams back, and didn't like what they saw. It's not the Prof.'s fault that you slept through class and didn't do the readings. and it's not the TA's fault that you can't write a decent paper to save your life. get over it. Personally, I found Besnier's lectures very interesting and engaging, which is extremely rare in my experience at UCLA. He mixed personal experience and knowledge with textual and researched data that created a well rounded lecture. I'm sure you could pass the class without attending lecture, but lecture was INTERESTING, although not completely mandatory for the average student. I would much rather go to an interesting lecture, than go to one where I have to furiously write EVERYTHING the professor says in order to even pass the course. everyone should stop whining, professor besnier is great.
Besnier is a good teacher. I dreaded taking this class because I wasn't interested, and only took it because I had to. This was one of the few classes I came out of with much more interest than I went in with. He is organized and very clear. He asks for questions and is willing to discuss things. He is a fair grader.
His multiple choice questions are worded funny sometimes and he has a tendency to have two correct answers, one being general and the other more specific to his question, but overall they aren't too bad. The essay questions are fair.
Besnier may be a bit arrogant,but most professors are downright narcissistic. My only real complaint is the incessant dumbing down power-point. It is impossible to keep up decent notes, listen to lecture and read the constant power-point screens. Besnier is a good teacher. He doesn't need it.
i really enjoyed the class; besnier was a bit long-winded, but overall an interesting character to see in front of a lecture hall. i stopped going to the lectures after the first midterm; it was really easy to do well on the tests, as long as you did the reading and go to the discussions. I felt I gained a lot more from the discussions than i did from the actual lectures. the questions on the exams were WAY easy, and as long as you got down the general principals and a few examples (which besnier and the TAs would beat into your head; i must have heard about tuvaluans a million times) you're bound to get a good grade. overall, i'd recommend anyone who doesn't mind reading to take the class.
While I certainly understand the position that the other reviewers are speaking from, it needs to be made clear that this is only -one- perspective on anthropology, and while it's valid, it's a rather unthought-through one. Professor Besnier is in fact clearly invested in Polynesia and his heart is there. To dismiss white anthropologists whole-cloth is a such a naive and reactionary move to make, it's almost laughable. Besnier is a great anthropologist, and a great teacher who cares about his subject matter and his students. If you are a person who responds only viscerally to material that may at times hit pretty close to home, then don't take a class with him. But if you can deal with material on an intellectual an analytical level (or at least try), and realize that most anthropologists are not evil, certainly not Besnier,then i highly recommend this professor. The problems that the other reviewers are venting here are much larger than they realize and Besnier is their scapegoat. Don't let a few clear personal vendettas keep you from taking a good class.
I loved him... he has so much to offer, and is very open to questions, although he doesn't really bend in his opinions (which in itself says something...). People liked to say he was "arrogant," but I thought he was very intelligent, and people percieved his "non-spoon-feeding-of-information" as cocky. Whatever... I'd recommend him FOR SURE.
Definitely take a class with this man. Interesting topics, entertaining and thought-provoking lecturer, extremely helpful during office hours, and easy A. What more could you want from a class? Keep up on the readings, understand the main point (which will be beaten into your head), and ace the quizzes and final. No surprises. No one will try to screw you over. Just refrain from sleeping or leaving during lecture.
Professor Besnier posed many interesting questions, but he lacked further analysis to his arguments.
I loved his work on Transgenderism in Tonga, because he gave such great arguments and analysis. I wish he would have taken his anaysis further and brought in many different perspectives and research on the rest of the class material and his research.
I think I was dissapointed with the class because it was so one-sided and he did not bring in any other perspectives except the one he was arguing. With my experiances in having great professors at UCLA, this is the underlying difference. If a professor can give two or three sides of an argument and challenge students to critically analize the material and come to a realization on their own, this is the mark of a great professor. This does not include lecturing students the whole time and expecting them to regurgitate lectures in time for the final. Niko Besnier is not the only professor at UCLA that does this, but it should be mentioned that it is one of his faults as a professor.
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