Survey of Middle East from 500 to the Present: 500 to 1300
Honestly, I would warn anyone NOT to take this class. Professor Morony, like so many have stated before me, clearly does not care a hoot about undergraduate students. If it wasn't for the helpful TA, I would have had no direction on the essays, etc. I went into his office to talk to him once, and felt belittled and extremely uncared for. I was trying to ask questions for the second midterm essay, and he would reply with very curt and short answers and then just stare at me like he was waiting for me to leave. Our "appointment" lasted 7 minutes at the most. He is also incredibly boring, and the class is a waste. It's about an hour and a half lecture, where he literally just stands in front of the class reading off the slideshows that he puts up online anyway. So many times I would just be sitting there thinking "Why am I here?" It seemed incredibly pointless when the slides were online. Nevertheless, the first half of the quarter I went to class (mostly) and kept up with the reading. I got a B+ on the first essay midterm, which was 50 points. I started going to class less and and less, and got a high A on the second midterm essay, which was also 50 points. After that, I went to class about once and hardly kept up with the reading (warning: that combination is a bad idea! I would recommend keeping up with the reading). The day before the in-class essay final, I crammed like a fool reading over the notes/parts of the book and basically had to teach myself the second half of the course... anyway, I went to take the final and thought I failed it, but by the grace of God I ended up with an A- in the class. My advice: if you think something wasn't graded fairly on your essay, talk to the TA, because they can change your grade. Also, for the final be sure to go over BROAD THEMES. Make a list of the themes you think would be important in Middle Eastern History, and study them that way, instead of small details. Especially time-lines/dates. Lastly, it's totally unnecessary to go to class, but try to keep up with the readings, and the TA is very helpful with essays/etc if you can set up in appointment with her/him.
Super easy class, I got an A. The midterm is a high school style quiz that takes five or ten minutes max to complete, since it's twenty-one questions of pure recall. The final was a four-page essay. We got to do it as a take-home because Piterberg didn't want to have the final at 3:00 on Friday, so it may not necessarily be a take-home in the future. Piterberg is pretty chill. Big fan of Messi. He's also atheist, so don't expect him to approach Islamic dogma from anything other than a perspective of non-belief. The nice thing about this class is that there's no work. He'll usually let class out fifteen or twenty minutes early, and since he lectures pretty slowly, this means there is very little material that is actually covered in the class. No need to do any of the readings since both exams are entirely lecture based. Not the best class I've ever taken, but it was certainly interesting enough to keep me engaged.