All Ratings and Reviews for Susan Slyomovics
Highly recommend this class. I took it the first quarter it was offered and even completely virtual the class was super engaging and interesting. Since it's a cluster you spend a year focusing on Islam from a variety of different perspectives from some of the most knowledgeable and amazing professors on campus, and I have to say it has definitely changed the way I think about the social sciences. As a STEM major, like many others I took this class because it satisfied a lot of my GEs, but I got way more out of this class than that.
To start with, the papers that I've written in this class have been some of the most interesting and unexpected, and I've been able to learn analytical skills both within and outside the social sciences that I don't think I would've learned outside this cluster and that I'll probably continue to apply beyond this class. The professors are so approachable and are always willing to help with research for your papers or your understanding of a topic.
The third quarter of the cluster is also organized into small seminars where you delve into a subtopic with a small group of students and a TA (there are multiple seminars, each on a different topic, which you can chose from). I've had some of the most interesting discussions there and the small class size (it was about 10ish people) made the class way more engaging than your typical GEs. There was also a lot of focus on connections with present day issues, which also made the seminar an awesome opportunity to become more informed and aware of how the subject (and the social sciences more broadly) intersects with contemporary environmentalism, politics, science, etc., and learn things I can take with me beyond this class.
There is a bit of work and reading that comes with the class, but if you stick with it it will be worth it, and you'll be proud of the diversity of what you've learned and of the work that you've produced. It's not the easiest class you'll find, but in a way the challenge made it worth it :D
Professor Slyomovics is very approachable and a good lecturer. She does not use powerpoints, but she writes most of the important points on the board and puts boxes around most of the important key terms. (Emphasis on MOST. Not all.)
She does assign a LOT of reading, and combined with the assigned films it ended up being a lot of work... but the workload was nevertheless doable. The class consisted of a midterm, a paper, a final, and attendance. (The syllabus said participation, but you don't really need to participate. Just come to class every day on time and sign in. She does pass around a sign in sheet.) The paper was cake, I believe it was only 5 pages.
As far as the midterm and the final go, we were given absolutely no instruction. She does not believe in study guides, so mainly what you have to go off of are the things she wrote on the board. She will also use concepts from the reading and the films. The grader was very harsh, at least on the midterm. There are specific points that we were supposed to hit on the essays which was difficult because the essay questions were so vague. I don't know whether this was per Slyomovics' instructions, or whether the grader happened to be very harsh.
I ended up with an A-.
The class was fascinating. I learned quite a bit about the field of visual anthropology and the history of photography. Slyomovics gives you a lot of freedom to engage with the readings and coursework and express your ideas through all of her assignments. She allows creativity and doesn't force students into any real prescribed formats for her class. She is, however, a stickler for correct grammar, spelling, and citations. Plan ahead to attend her office hours, even if you are like me and had to skip part of another class to do so. It will save you time at the end of the quarter. We ended up waiting in an hour long line to get her to sign off on our project proposals (mandatory). BTW, get your proposal signed during office hours ahead of time to save yourself the headache.
Slyomovics arranges her class throughout the quarter by themes and this helps to see broader contexts. All of the readings and websites and suggested field trips are useful for the exams and papers. If you are a lazy ass, you will most likely still get an OK grade, but if you actually care about learning and put some effort into the class and the materials, you will gain a ton of valuable knowledge... Its one of those classes where its totally up to you.
First thing is first, this class should be an easy A for anyone. I pulled of a 98% on the midterm and studied for a few hours. Around 75% of people get an A in the class. That said you should not take this class. One literally learns nothing in that class. I’ve walked out of the class every day, wondering what I just learned. I was panic stricken for the midterm, because I felt I hadn’t learned anything. Well it wasn’t me, the concepts on the midterm where elementary and if you just could memorize some random photos anyone could pass the midterm, regardless of taking the class or not. The “project” is also a joke. Its five pages long, you take photos relate your project to some reading and that’s it. Then there is the “professor.” She loves to micromanage, instead of giving you a list of approved topics she has you come up with one, only to reject it or complain about your project for some minor little thing about it. She wants you to come to her office hours, to discuss the project in fact it’s required. However, when you do show up she makes sure you know you are wasting her time. Inside of her office and in the classroom she is rude, condescending, and loves to put students down. Like I said the class if an easy A, if your reading this you probably would get an A in the class, but if you don’t want to take a class that is a complete joke and waste of time, with a “professor” who is high on herself, you should avoid this class.
This is an evaluation for her M E STD 50 class. The class consists of one final paper, a midterm, and a final. You read four books over the term of the course, but you don't have to read them through and through to get a good grade, but some of the questions on the exams go into detail about the books. Her exams are a combination of lecture and the books. There are weekly assignments due to the TAs which are just a page analysis of the readings for that week.
Her lectures are very disorganized, she does a lot of random talking, and goes all over the place. She does not communicate very well to the students.
Overall, its not a bad GE if you do the readings (which were interesting imo, except for one book). But lecture will probably bore you.
I loved her! I got an A- take her you will learn to respect the Muslim culture. This class was split b/w History 108C/ Anthro.../ Arabic..., I am a history major, and as 6/12 Bruin said, yes alot of DOABLE reading. I loved the T.A. he was not harsh to me I got an A- on mid/ B+ paper 5pgs/ A on the final, I saw him after the class was over and he happen to have the grade book so he was able to give me my grades. Ziad is super cool. Not to mention the midterm/ final- yes no study guide was given, but if you watched the assigned movies, read 2 of the books- half way- then you you can totally create an argument.
The only pain for me was the movies are hard to get online and if you don't live on campus-like me, then you got to drive to the media lab to watch them. The midterm/ has a map 20 pts, know Maghrib area, capitals, mountains and berber speaking tribe. The essay part.if you watched the movies you can easily do the essays, and she gives you so many to choose from that your bound to know 3 of them, trust me, the only way you wouldnt is if you missed class, and you wont b/c attendance is taken and 10 percent of your grade.
Very interesting class, Professor Slyomovics is very knowledgeable about the subject matter and I learned a lot from her. She is not good at all with computers though and will definitely need someone to help her most lectures. The grader, Professor Farley, is a really cool, great guy. His lecture was very enjoyable and interesting. Grading breakdown: 20% oral presentation, 30% midterm, 50% final. The part that scares everyone the most is the oral presentation - It is just a retelling of the part of 1001 Nights that was assigned for the lecture. She randomly picks people every time. This isn't lecture and the stories are easy reads so just do your reading and you should be fine. You aren't really graded on quality of storytelling, just don't go up there and say you don't know it. The papers are doable, they are just two and a half page essays that you can pick the prompt for. 4 essays for the midterm and 6 for the final. Also she doesn't use slides so just write down what's on the board and all the discussion in class to help with the essays.
It was a pretty easy class if you're a good writer. Slyomovics may come off as sometimes unapproachable but she's actually very concerned about her student's learning, and is very smart. The reading is pretty heavy, but the way her exams are structured, you can choose which readings you want to focus on, so you can skim other readings. I believe she is a great professor, and even though I didn't necessarily find the material interesting at first, I was engaged in her lectures because she is a good lecturer. I would definitely suggest taking this class, either if you want to learn more about visual anthropology, or if you're looking for a class that isn't too difficult.
If you want to waste a quarter at UCLA, do not take this class. The professor assigns both the final paper and a final exam in the same week. The class is absolutely not worth it and you leave class feeling as though you learned absolutely nothing. Waste of a class.
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