Early Modern State in Mediterranean
he is very self indulgent and in the three assignments, basically just wants you to repeat his point of view back to him. three five-six page papers and one ten page final or an in class final dependent on a class vote. the papers cover a lot of information and it was difficult to not exceed page limit but doable. I feel like I learned a lot in this class (history 109b) and really liked his lectures, but there were other people in the class who rolled their eyes every time he opened his mouth so it it subjective.
He knows his stuff, but is so caught up in himself that he cannot even perceive his own weaknesses. If you want pure military history, of no real applicable importance or depth, he's your man. Screw Aristotle and Plato and Socrates! Screw Aristophanes! They are of no importance. We must know the troop movements of minimally important tyrants as they fought against their carbon copy enemies. He gave us a hypothetical question in a history class. If that doesn't fling your head off in a tizzy of epistemological fury, then you'll probably like him. The question itself was profoundly absurd. It was a bit like saying: What if the Byzantine Empire still existed? What if India had resisted colonization? Yes,and? If you step back, you'll see that it is pure nonsense. If you're going to give a hypothetical question in a history class, at least label the class as "Rhetoric 101" or rather, "Sophism 101". He is a good teacher and has a sort of obnoxious charm that only a good looking and confident man can posses. I am probably being too harsh. He knows he's intelligent, but doesn't even try to masque it in a charmingly aloof or slightly self-deprecating way. I've had far better and far more erudite professors that don't take themselves so seriously. Pure military history has been stale for decades. There is nothing to add and nothing to subtract, just slight reformulations of no actual substance. Does it really matter if X invasion happened in 435 BC or 436 BC? No it doesn't. Enough of my snot nosed rants! He is actually a good teacher,pay attention and you'll do just fine. He is a fair grader and a good orator, it is his methodology than I have a problem with. I have only written this rant knowing that such a conceited man probably checks this site every night, with the same predictable frequency of a Catholic schoolgirl giving thanks to Mary before sleep.
Dr. Silverman is not a bad teacher. All the readings are interesting, from Ruskin to Morris. However, she completely misreads Baudelaire and this is coming from a native French speaker. Baudelaire is the most complex poet of the 19th century, he doesn't have a 'vision' for society. He was a syphylitic opium addict who would rather have seen the whole world vaporised than believe in some idiotic utopia. Great writers and poets are usually miserable SOBs. Baudelaire was the greatest French poet of all time, yet I can't be sure that Dr. Silverman can even read French correctly. Anyone with even cursory knowledge of French literature would know that Baudeaire, like Balzac, was a cynical quasi monarchist. All contemporary French novelists would agree with me, especially Houellebecq and even Celine. Again, Dr. Silverman is not a bad teacher, she should just admit that her reading of Baudelaire is simply nonsense. Back off of French literature when you can't even appreciate the gorgeous nuances of the French language. It is disingenuous to claim that Baudelaire was some sort of drooling post-modern idiot. He was pissy, reactionary and just plain angry. Can I talk about the discursive deconstructionist ethics contained within the simulacrum of Baudelarian modernity? Sure, that is a guaranteed A. It means nothing, but it says a lot. -Signed, a pissed off Frenchman.