Political Violence in Modern World: Causes, Cases, and Consequences
Winter 2022 - I am writing this firstly to commend Professor McBride for the tremendous experience he built within this Cluster class, and secondly to defend Sharon, a TA, for unfair and rude criticism expressed in another review. As a professor, he created informative yet engaging slides that compelling conveyed class concepts in a digestible manner. As an administrator, he put much effort into organizing out-of-class events for the Cluster class. Despite their lower-than-expected attendance, these were great events that I encourage people to attend. The Cluster is ultimately a year-long class and getting to know some fellow students and interacting in a more cordial setting with the professors and TAs can be a huge help. Developing these relationships is one of the most rewarding aspects of the Cluster program. Sharon was an exceptional TA who tried her hardest to accommodate the needs of a class of mainly unenthusiastic students taking a course outside their major. Of course, this lack of enthusiasm is natural and expected, but a lot of students were actively hostile towards Sharon and the course in general, making it hard for her to work with everyone at times. However, Sharon nonetheless went to great lengths to ensure we were never alone when it came to course content. Sections were dominated by class discussions where we unpacked weekly readings in-depth. This way, even if you didn't read a page of the assigned weakly readings you would walk away from section with a sufficient understanding of the concepts, themes, and essential information within each reading. Her grading of papers was, in my view, balanced. I wouldn't say it was easy per se but it surely was not unfair or harsh and you essentially got the grade you deserved. She is incredibly understanding and sympathetic to circumstances and will generously grant exentions if you have at least some reason.
Winter 2022 - Putting aside the fact that Professor Rothberg is a world-renowned expert in genocide studies, he is an amazing professor as well as a kind and caring person. He is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about what he teaches (that being the Holocaust section of the course) and breaks down complex academic concepts in a manner easily understandable for a freshman. This has been one of the best classes I've taken at UCLA thus far. There is a fair amount of weekly reading posted, however, you never need to read all of it in-depth. Sections are incredibly helpful (I had Sharon as my TA but I've heard the same for other TAs with particular recommendations of Steve and Yair). In section, you break down the weekly readings and end up walking away with a more than sufficient understanding of the readings whether or not you actually did them. Lectures are helpful for understanding concepts, however, they are not required and are recorded. While you can still succeed without lectures, I recommend at least watching the recorded lectures as it helps you build continuity between the three case studies. The miderm/final is essentially 2 essay questions that ask you to discuss overarching class concepts while referncing at leats 2 of the case studies in each question (referencign each of the three at least once). Great class. Highly recomend.