Origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Winter 2021 - Not sure if Professor Bakhos changed her curriculum during Covid or if I’m taking the wrong class, because the class I took is MUCH more difficult than the class all the other reviewers were talking about. I took this class as a GE thinking it would be fun and interesting like everyone said, but boy was I wrong. This course's grade was mostly comprised of 3 different sets of take-home essays throughout the quarter, each of which had you writing at least 7 essays (5 short and 2 long). On top of that, you also had an additional paper to write in week 9. There is SO much writing, this class should've honestly qualified for a Writing II class (except it's not, so lose-lose). Furthermore, it seems like she was looking for very specific answers for these essays, but also didn't want to "give away the answers". I honestly felt that she wasn't that helpful during office hours or Q&A sessions, but considering these essays are basically our midterm and final, I can somewhat understand why she might not be too keen on handing out answers to people. However, her lecture style (which mostly involves talking/getting sidetracked on people's questions while flipping through a handful of slides with scarce information) has not held up well over zoom and imo wasn't very helpful when it came to writing the actual essays. Which means that, in order to find the answers for each essay, you're going to have to be re-reading the textbook thrice over, scanning your minimal lecture "notes", and deep-searching Google for more information. Is this an interesting class? Certainly some parts are fascinating to learn about. But the biggest flaw with this class is that there is too much information and not enough time to learn it all, which made the take-home essays a wonderful, "on-your-own" experience for me. Before you take this class, ask yourself: Am I willing to sacrifice my entire sleep schedule over the course of 4 separate weeks for a GE? If the answer's no, then maybe avoid it and get some sleep. Sidenote: Participation is MANDATORY in this class. They had some policy where if you missed 2 or more discussion sections, you couldn't pass the course, which I felt was kind of unforgiving, especially during Covid.
I took ANE 150B with him (Ancient Egyptian Literature in Translation). Prof. Dieleman is an intelligent, extremely nice professor who is absolutely and wildly passionate about Ancient Egypt. (He offered me cake when I went to his office hours.) For this reason, this class is awesome - seeing someone get really, happily worked up about something because they're just so enthusiastic about it makes any class fun. He doesn't use power-points for this class, but he gives a lot of handouts, which are very handy for taking out notes. Occasionally, he assigns homework, which are moderately easy assignments on the reading (like listing all the imagery in a certain poem, for example). That being said, if you thought you wrote well before this class, you were wrong. This is some straight-up old-school academia: no, you can't pad your essays with bullshit; you have to know exactly what you're talking about. He leaves detailed comments on your essays, hitting every aspect - word choice, syntax, theoretical arguments. This is the first class for which I did outside research on my final paper topic (don't know yet if it paid off) but I was extremely grateful that he took the time to both comment on the first two essays and summarize what he thought of the essays in a couple of paragraphs. I feel like not many professors do that, but Prof. Dieleman is legit. Plus, he speaks/reads ancient Egyptian, so he's kind of like a nerdier, Dutch Indiana Jones. If I have the opportunity to take a class again with him, I definitely will.