Easily the best class I've taken thus far at UCLA. The lectures at the beginning of the quarter were more interesting than the lectures at the end of the quarter, but don't let that stop you from going to class even though the lectures are podcast. It's obvious that Professor James knows what he's talking about, and if you see him in office hours he happily will expand upon course content. I went several times before the midterm and it really helped clarify some concepts (especially because my TA wasn't helpful at all). You do have to study for this class, but as far as the midterm and final go, if you prepare the questions he gives you, you can't fail. It's really straightforward. The paper was a pain in the ass, but relative to other 15 page papers it was easy to write. I didn't do a ton of the reading because there is a lot of it, and reading everything for substance would've been impossible. I skimmed the relevant chapters before the midterm and final and prepared the answers and I was fine. You definitely get out of the class what you put in for effort, though. I highly recommend this class. And, uhhhh, I'm not Professor James. Final grade: A.
Fall 2019 - This class sucked the soul out of my life. Please think twice before taking this class, especially if you think it will be an Easy A for a polisci upper div fulfillment. The class consists of a midterm 30% final 30% paper (15 pages) 30% and participation/attendance in discussion 10%. This professor assigned about 5-6 books that you have to read throughout the quarter.. 10 WEEKS!! Which is insanely a lot especially if you have other classes you need to focus on. The midterm consists of 4 questions that you need to write a page - 2 pages about. He gives you the midterm and final questions upfront. For the midterm he gives you 15 questions that YOU NEED TO STUDY and he only chooses 4!!! So basically you need to study 15 one page and half to answer the questions that he will choose and for the final he gives you 20 questions that you need to study and again he only chooses 4 which he ONLY gives you an hour and 15 minutes to complete !! The final is hectic especially since there is a book you need to read to start writing your 15 page paper, and the book is a graduate level book which is SO difficult to comprehend. So meanwhile you have to study the 20-25 pages for the final, you also have to get started on your paper because its due a week before your final. No matter how much I read the books, attended class, studied the midterm/final -- I was ALWAYS behind. I would not recommend this class to my friends nor would I ever take a class with him again. Yeaaahhh, he was passionate with the way he taught and provided his lecture slides on CCLE, it was REALLY hard to keep up with this polisci class especially when my other polisci classes required me to write papers/study for tests as well!!! Please do yourself a favor and find another polisci class to fulfill your requirements. I took this class because the reviews seemed doable and I thought since I have the midterm/final questions upfront, I'll be okay. BUT I studied my ASSS off and literally did shitty and so did a lot of my friends, so SAVE YOURSELF because it is going to take SO much of your time to do this class (you will not have a social life, especially if you are taking other polisci class too)!
One of the more "doable" classes i've taken at ucla. The reading load is pretty average for an upper div. But professor James is extremely organized and his lectures are very clear and well structured. He also gives you a study guide with all the questions that'll appear on the midterm/final (4-5 short essay questions) so you could just look for those in the reading (most of them are sufficiently covered in the lecture) and easily pull off an A. There are no surprises here. What you see is what you get, and if you just do what he tells you, and it isn't much, you'll easily get an A. Highly recommended
Winter 2020 - The title of this class is vague, so know that it's a survey of historical approaches to regulation (especially business regulation) in America, starting with the railroads, antitrust movement, moving through WW1, the Great Depression, and the New Deal, and going up through the modern day. I personally found the material relatively interesting, but be forewarned that he really does just read off of cluttered slides. Fortunately, both the midterm and final consist of IDs and essay questions that are posted at the beginning of the quarter, so you can start your study guide early. Keep in mind that, although the assigned readings are never, ever, ever discussed in lecture, some of the exam questions will reference concepts or expect examples given only in the books and not brought up in lecture. For those specific questions, make sure to crack open the relevant books before the test.
Spring 2015 - Updated 09-12-2017: * Book: I have "Overreach: Leadership in the Obama Presidency by Edwards" in mint condition. No writing or marks inside. Cover is mint. Never used. Text me at 818 Five One Four Five Two Zero Five. * I'll remove this post once the book sells, so text or call if you're interested in the book.
Spring 2022 - Go into this class with some vague idea of what you want to research, a short list of professors you have in mind that you may want to advise you, and some work ethic, and you'll be rewarded. Professor James is great. UCLA is lucky to have him. If you've taken him in another course and think you know his deal, you don't. He really puts his all into this course, cares about every single student, and advocates for you to succeed. Working with him was awesome. The workload might seem like a lot on paper (5 4-page papers, combined for a 12-15 page final), but when you write about stuff you're interested in it makes it way more manageable (sounds corny but it's true). I recommend this class to anyone interested in grad school, legitimately interested in political science research, or just wants a break from the redundancy of undergrad poli sci coursework (midterm, final, prompt-response paper, etc).