James Gelvin

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Class Most Helpful Review
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Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of the Near and Middle East See Full Profile

Overall 3.9 Easiness 2.2 Workload 2.3 Clarity 4.2 Helpfulness 3.6

Most Helpful Review

Gelvin is a great dude, and REALLY F*CKING SMART.

He has a no-nonsense approach. He is blunt about his intentions and expectations.

If you go to lecture, he will literally lay out all you need to know, in a clear outline form. He actually makes it painfully easy and simple to understand the material. And to all of you who aren't into history or Middle East history, he doesn't expect you to remember basically any names or dates.

The two papers are kind of annoying, as they are both about books that don't have a whole lot to do with the subject matter. The final is standard, IDs and essay questions. It's easy to prepare for the essay questions - as I said, he literally will lay out an outline FOR YOU in class.

I'm a Middle Eastern + North African Studies Major, so to the few of you who care about his perspective on modern Middle East politics - he basically thinks that all of the various populations/leaders of the Middle East are equally stupid. It's hilarious.

All in all, the papers are annoying, but reading is light and lectures are entertaining. Take the class.

(Jan. 5, 2011)
Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars See Full Profile

Overall 4.3 Easiness 2.3 Workload 2.2 Clarity 4.1 Helpfulness 3.9

Most Helpful Review

Gelvin is the dopest professor you'll find at UCLA. He is insanely knowledgable about the Middle East and all the conflicts which have occurred in the history up to the present day. I had him for a fiat lux called "ISIS, Syria and the Middle East" and it was honestly such a valuable class, definitely the best one I've ever taken, if you have the chance definitely take it! Also, Gelvin will always make time to answer everyone's question (so much love for that guy :D)

(Fall Quarter 2016)
Survey of Middle East from 500 to the Present: 1300 to 1700 See Full Profile

Overall 4.2 Easiness 1.5 Workload 1.0 Clarity 4.3 Helpfulness 3.5

Most Helpful Review

Apparently I'm cataloged in the minority group as well, but i just wanted to note to incoming Gelvinites that the work this man demands and the grades that he subsequently doles out are definitely not correlated. I am not contesting his value to the UCLA Hist. dept. as a knowledgeable professor in the affairs of the history of the middle east; he is a very intelligent individual. What was disappointing was his complete lack of care for students, as he does not allow protestation of test grades, as, in my case, the TA failed to add up the points correctly and subsequently i found myself in a genre of grade that has been unprecedented for me at UCLA. Guess there is a first time for everything, but he pissed me off enough to leave my first bruin-walk post.
Between the combination of his TA's that can't count, his redundant lectures that all seem to focus on the ECONOMIC history of the middle east, and his overinflated ego that leaves the class in awkward silences forcing people he's looking at to laugh, it's a bit much..

(June 1, 2010)
Survey of Middle East from 500 to the Present: 1700 to the Present See Full Profile

Overall 4.0 Easiness 1.8 Workload 1.6 Clarity 3.8 Helpfulness 3.2

Most Helpful Review

WOW...I love Prof. Gelvin. He is the $h*t. As easy as you want it to be. Here it is, all that you need to do is review just the notes from class and you'll get an A. His exams are essay based and not that articulate about how analytical you critique it. Just make a friend so you both review it makes it even easier. He is NOT boring, you'll WANT to go to lecture...you MUST take Gelvin at least once during your UCLA career. you wont regret it.

(Feb. 24, 2009)
Early Modern State in Mediterranean See Full Profile

Overall 4.0 Easiness 1.2 Workload 1.0 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 3.5

Most Helpful Review

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.

(Jan. 13, 2015)
Palestine, Zionism, and Evolution of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict See Full Profile

Overall 3.3 Easiness 2.0 Workload 2.3 Clarity 4.1 Helpfulness 2.9

Most Helpful Review

This guy is a genius, he is really smart, and an organized lecturer whom practically presents an outline of what he wants you to know. You have two papers, and one final (for which we got to vote on for an in class or take home final). He is a funny guy and he gives off an assholish persona which makes him that much funnier, seriously take him you won't regret it!

(June 23, 2011)
Topics in Middle Eastern History: Modern See Full Profile

Overall 4.2 Easiness 1.6 Workload 1.4 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 3.2

Most Helpful Review

I took his class on the Arab uprisings. Lectures are great - exceptionally well-organized, with just enough humorous asides sprinkled in to keep you awake. Grading can be difficult, but the class is worth taking regardless.

(March 30, 2012)
HIST 199
Directed Research in History See Full Profile

Overall 3.7 Easiness 1.5 Workload 1.5 Clarity 4.8 Helpfulness 3.2

Most Helpful Review

James Gelvin is a legend.

He was incredibly helpful when I worked for him. A very cool guy who took an interest in my work and really helped me in my endeavors.

A top class act.

(June 22, 2011)
Advanced Historiography: Near East See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

Most Helpful Review
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