Study of Social Systems
Professor Babior is by far the best anthro professor I've had!!! Not only is she knowledgable and fair, she cares for her students and is very approachable. Her lectures are interesting, and she explains concepts clearly to prepare you for the exams. There were 3 short papers based on ethnographies and a multiple choice midterm and final. Babior is one of those very few teachers at UCLA that you will want to take more classes with. I did :)
Very interesting class, albeit very disorganized since this was her first time teaching this course: we ended up reading about half of the articles in the course reader and completely scrapping one of our textbooks and a paper assignment. Thus for this class it was basically a midterm and final (both essay-based), and a short writing assignment. She distributes the essay prompts beforehand so you can prepare for them. Overall a very enlightening class with little work. Her lecture style is very gruesome: she sits at the podium and talks without any visual aid, so you need to be a very fast note-taker to get down everything she says.
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 loved this class. One of the few classes in the anthropology department that is actually relevant to the real world, and makes you think about why things are the way they are. I liked Ortner a lot. She can be a tad monotonous during lecture, but its obvious she is trying to phrase things in a way that are understandable since she's super smart. She's pretty funny, and even though I never talked to her, she feels warm and approachable. I would totally recommend her. There's a lot of reading, but it's doable. Only critique...Make sure you get a decent TA for lecture. I've heard not so nice things about one of the female TAs this quarter.
Winter 2021 - Professor Pierre is no doubt an extremely knowledgeable and helpful professor who loves what she does and has much to offer. She is kind, accepting, and accommodating in every way. The workload is fairly reasonable with weekly readings (student purchased) followed by weekly reflection papers and three exams. With that being said, the structure of this class did not work well with me. This class should be considered two separate classes with how it is broken up and structured. There is lecture and discussion that both seem to encompass two completely different concepts, ideas, and set of materials. In discussion, students are expected to read multiple books and write weekly reflections on them. These discussions, which are heavily student driven, consist of students talking about the key points and ideas of the books. Conversely, when attending lecture, often the readings are not even discussed, brought up, or relevant to the lecture itself. These lectures also consist of Professor Pierre almost entirely reading slideshows verbatim. Personally, I feel attending lecture is useless when a professor takes an hour and a half to read a slideshow that is available online that I could read in 15 minutes on my own. Furthermore, she talks extremely fast and often stumbles over her words making it sometimes difficult to follow what she is saying or where she is going with her thoughts. Again though, this is counterbalanced by a very heavy reliance on slideshows but is also bolstered by her frequent asking of student questions with further explanations if necessary. Overall, Professor Pierre is a wonderful professor who no doubt has a passion for what she does, but personally, the style of her teaching doesn't work well with me.