strenghths: knowledgeable, concerned with student learning, encourages interaction outside of classroom, extremely organized, good communicator, very passionate about subject. weaknesses: routine, very structured environment for learning Recommended for anthro majors...make sure you're somewhat interested in archaelogy if you want to take this as a GE because intro to arch covers a very broad depth of material.
He's awesome. You can choose not to take the final if you do well on the midterm and on the research paper. This means that (assuming you do) after week 7, it's just sweet cruisin'! What's cool about him: -always has the right popular culture reference to back up a concept -looks EXACTLY like the singer Michael McDonald On second thought...I think it WAS McDonald all along.
This class is the last Archaeology class I'll ever have to take to fulfill my Major requirements & I had hoped that it would be slightly interesting, but I also had a feeling I'd be using the internet to waste time too. Archaeology of Prehistoric China was incredibly dull. The material is dull. There is nothing exciting about this class & it's not that I dislike Archaeology, it's that China & some of its neighbors aren't nearly as interesting as the cave paintings in France. P. Brantingham reminds me of an aged Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother as his enthusiasm for Prehistoric China is equivalent to Ted's enthusiasm for Architecture. However, this course's materials were incredibly dry. The readings worked better than a shot of Nyquil & all of the site names got incredibly confusing after a while. I don't mean to be racist against the Chinese as I'm Asian myself, but Longshan, Yangzi, Yangshao, Dawenkou, Rhenzidong, Bashidong, Mao Zedong, Dapengkeng, Majabang, Hemudu seriously start to sound like "chingchongdong", "chongchongdingdong", & likewise. He changes the spelling of the main river that runs through China called Yangzi. One slide he'll call it Yanzte & another he'll call it Yangzi. Since I am unfamiliar with any dialect of Chinese, for some time, I didn't know if there was a difference between the two or if they were the same & he was just messin' with us. He also left out the "g" in Dapengkeng for the first 5 or so slides which also threw me off a bit. If you plan on taking this class, here are my tips: -Dates & sites. Make flashcards, whatever, study the dates, sites, & what was found there. Memorize it. -The term "big picture" is such a load of dung. He specifically asks you what were found at certain sites. -Record his lectures. He doesn't have podcasts & his powerpoints may outline everything, but they lack great detail. There will be pictures of up Einstein or Trinity from The Matrix in his slides & if you didn't attend lecture, you'll be scratching your head on the relevance. -Pay attention in class so you can ask questions. -Skip the readings & save yourself some time. His midterm asked 1 question from the reading & he already discussed the answer in class. The final had 0 questions on the reading. -Do the optional paper if you fail the midterm. His exams are so detailed. -Memorize the location of the sites on a map. -Pottery is more than symbolic, you'll need to pay close attention to them. Two grades split 50%-%50%. Midterm grade & final grade. He doesn't curve the class at all so every point counts. This class's high points were the discoveries of H. erectus in the caves & the discussion of modern human origins. The low points were pretty much everything else. Sure I learned some interesting things about China, the evolution of Homo, monsoons, & how cultivation of rice was only possible in the Holocene, but this isn't a class I'd recommend. P. Brantingham is a really nice guy & he seems to be very helpful if you go to his office hours. He's more than meets the eye. Your immediate thoughts are, "Oh another dirt guy..." but you'd be dead wrong! He has developed a system with some mathematicians at UCLA to come up with a projection of possible criminal activity before it happens based on patterns. The material is boring, professor is really cool, but I wouldn't recommend this class. Brantingham is a very objective Archaeologist which allows you to get a different point of view other than those of Chinese Archaeologists.
Winter 2015 - 10/10 would recommend Professor Brantingham. He is the best professor I have had at UCLA, thus far. His lectures are meaningful and everything is very straight forward. The material is interesting and he relates it to our lives which makes understanding the course concepts so much easier. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS CLASS FOR ANY MAJOR!!! His tests were easy as long as you actually paid attention in class and cared to understand his main points.
Spring 2021 - I took the Anthropology of Crime. It was extremely interesting. The lectures were great. He combined slides, lecture, movie clips, graphs and backed up the information with a lot of data, much of it surprising. The lectures were recorded. There were several options for grading, and you could choose the one that gave you the highest grade. There were either 4 quizzes worth 25% each, or you could substitute a research paper for 2 of the quizzes, or the final exam for 2 of the quizzes. Because the material is so interesting, and he is a great lecturer, learning the material isn't hard - as he holds your interest the entire time and his methods cause you to remember the facts. He is a great professor - I would highly recommend this class with this professor.