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This class is SO INTERESTING! Makdisi is clearly very knowledgeable and presents the information in a comprehensive and engaging manner. He isn't the best communicator at times, but very kind and helpful in office hours. Although some of the readings are fairly dry, the lectures revealed so much nuance to them, and made me appreciate the texts so much more. One lecture was literally on this occult-ish pull people often feel while wandering in London, drawing them to these supposedly satanic churches. It is WILD!
I will say that the readings for this class were pretty heavy, and took up a lot of time. The workload outside of the readings isn't too bad until finals week, where we had a map project, 10 page essay, and take home final all due at roughly the same time. The midterm and final are not difficult because they are take home, but I definitely would not recommend putting off the projects and paper.
Austin was my TA, and he was so delightful!
Taken during COVID quarter with Prof. Jaurretche but she isn't on here yet. Originally supposed to be once weekly seminar in person and then virtual discussion sections with additional online assignments. We have a short group research paper and a 10 page term paper researching the history behind one assigned work.
I was so excited to get to take this class this quarter, and I think it was a good decision. The course itself is really interesting in terms of the history you learn and the way it incorporates the virtual experience. I love Dublin and learning more about it was great, and I liked the new "virtual" aspect of the course. Having the discussion posts was a fun way to engage and publish our opinions on her blog. The readings were also interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed our in-class discussions.
However, I think the class felt a bit disorganized. Having one day for lecture made reading entire novels a bit anticlimactic because we couldn't completely engage, but then we would alternatively just read one chapter or snippets which made it harder to feel like you got a true understanding. I think reading short stories/poems and plays were a good choice to offer a fully comprehensive study in such a short period of time. I wish we'd spent maybe two weeks (aka 2 days total) on the novels, even if it meant we couldn't read as many. DEFINITELY do the readings or you will be sooo lost. And if you're still lost, sparknotes and shmoop are your best friends. However, because of the shutdown, Prof decided to cut our once weekly seminar short bc three hours is a long time to zoom, and instead would post pre recorded intro lectures.
the readings need to be more accessible. A lot of us couldn't afford $55 for an ebook course reader with Professor's selections of certain works. Yes, you could find them on archive.org or lib gen or LAPL or online, but with different pagination or not knowing which parts were assigned. Also, many novels were assigned which made it pretty steep in total. I didn't purchase any materials, but it meant sometimes I would have to ask other students for line numbers or page images or email my TA which felt like an inconvenience for everyone, or wait on a book that wasn't coming. Especially during a completely virtual quarter, it seemed odd she wouldn't just post her scanned PDFs on CCLE rather than make us repurchase them. And beware, it's mostly male, white authors, with the only "known gay" being Oscar Wilde. I guess that's to be expected in a course on 1900s Ireland but I would have loved to explore more female authors... Or discuss Bram Stoker's love of Whitman at all. Point is, don't take this course if you're hoping for a ton of diverse rep, take it because you genuinely enjoy Irish lit and history and are fine experiencing just the established highlights in western academia.
There were weekly discussion posts and then replies, which were not hard at all. But, they kept changing the deadlines which made it a bit confusing and easy to forget, especially since each one was like this D&D level quest... First, watch the pre-lectures (5-20 min each, 1-3 per week) THEN you read the assigned piece, then you go on a google doc with new people each week and make specific replies to the TA's question by close reading. 2 comments, and one reply to someone else. THEN later on based on what you said you post a close read on CCLE and ask your peers their opinions and questions about the work. THEN at another date, you have to go on and reply to one of their posts. THEN at the very end, post a mini-essay reflection on this week's reading connecting it back to our historical textbook and/or the other assigned readings and/or a virtual trip element for exploring Dublin. THEN, later on, reply to at least one of those. It was so much to remember. Also, sometimes the virtual aspect felt a bit inconsistent closer to the end of class and made me wonder why we didn't combine her virtual blog page with some kind of in-person discussion section. We could have still had our posts each week and the group paper project online but I would have loved more TA involvement and also to have discussions that didn't feel like all of us talking at the professor about our points instead of with one another. Elizabeth is one of the most fantastic TAs I've ever had, she knows her stuff and she loves what she does. She's extremely helpful when you need it and goes out of her to ensure her students thrive. I don't think I've ever had a TA so dedicated to student engagement and making sure we feel encouraged and our efforts recognized. She's also just a super fun person to talk to and made this quarter and class so much more enjoyable! Also, the class promised we'd "virtually" explore Dublin and sometimes we did that using VR or online materials but other weeks there would just be more reading. Hopefully, in subsequent years they'll work out a more consistent immersion because that aspect seemed really cool.
Overall though, she really knows and loves the material and she inspired us to engage with it deeply! Would love to have her again!