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I am going to keep it real with all of you, there is not one person who I know that took this class and loved it. For all of my LS majors, I am still deciding whether this class is worth the extra GE credits. For other humanities majors I advise against taking this class unless you're really into learning about Islam.
I believe this class has potential but right now it is a little bit of a boring, confusing mess. The faculty involved in Global Islam are all very understanding and are really good at getting back to you. However, I found a lot of their instruction as vague. You are required to do about 3 hours of reading a week which is not fun because they are long and dense, but you have to read them and pay attention in class because you never know what will be asked on the weekly quizzes. The topic is very broad and although the professors try to centralize on the 4 "big themes", a lot of the information is random and doesn't exactly follow a pattern. Although I do like the professors as people, they somehow make the topic extremely boring. The research and writing specialists are nice, but are also not very helpful with the assignments.
The grading structure is based on 6 things. Attendance 10%, Participation 10%, Weekly Quizzes 20%, Response Paper 25%, Final Paper 20%, CoCurricular Activity 5%. The lowest quiz grade is dropped. There are 4 prompts for the response papers, you only have to do 3 of them, 500-600 words each. Final paper, 5-6 pages max, is broken down into 5 sections including related questions, articles, thesis and outline, revised thesis and outline, and final draft. I had a really difficult time figuring out what the paper needed. The directions and rubric were unclear and vague. The cocurricular is just a 2-3 hr activity you do outside of class and you have to write a 2 page response on it. The key to doing well in this class is building a good relationship with you TA, doing all the assignments, and participating in discussion. Your TA is your grader for everything so questions or details on assignments should be reviewed by them.
It is not inherently a difficult class, it is just a lot of work and it is not very fun. I do appreciate that faculty and staff are all a really nice and passionate about what they do but the structure and clarity needs a lot of work. Just prepare your friends and roommates for complaining about how much you dislike the class. I hope this helps.
Professor Slyomovics is painstakingly boring and her portion of the lectures were tough to get through. The other lecturers, however, I quite enjoyed, especially Professor Yarbrough. The content is interesting but goes into great detail. There is a LOT of reading assigned every week and a weekly timed quiz in discussion. But, other than that, not too many actual assignments (3 short essays + the final). Not my favorite class by any means but definitely an eye-opener! The co-curricular is cool.
I absolutely loved the Global Islam Cluster and Professor Slyomovics! We learned about Islam from a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives, and it was incredibly eye-opening and fulfilling to finally take a class without a highly Eurocentric curriculum (a big change from typical high school classes).
I honestly looked forward to attending every lecture, even with the many pains and annoyances of Zoom University. Each lecture was so engaging and informational -- the professors in this cluster really pushed us to think critically and with an open mind. Professor Slyomovics is a super cool person and her research/life experiences are pretty insane (she did human rights work in Morocco during the truth commission).
The workload was a bit heavy at times with all the readings (though I found each reading to be extremely interesting), but the instructors were always super accommodating and listened to student feedback about lessening the workload/moving deadlines.
Though this class is centered around the theme of Global Islam, everything I've learned is applicable to so many other aspects of my life; I'm extremely grateful to have gotten the ability to take this course!
Highly recommend this class. I took it the first quarter it was offered and even completely virtual the class was super engaging and interesting. Since it's a cluster you spend a year focusing on Islam from a variety of different perspectives from some of the most knowledgeable and amazing professors on campus, and I have to say it has definitely changed the way I think about the social sciences. As a STEM major, like many others I took this class because it satisfied a lot of my GEs, but I got way more out of this class than that.
To start with, the papers that I've written in this class have been some of the most interesting and unexpected, and I've been able to learn analytical skills both within and outside the social sciences that I don't think I would've learned outside this cluster and that I'll probably continue to apply beyond this class. The professors are so approachable and are always willing to help with research for your papers or your understanding of a topic.
The third quarter of the cluster is also organized into small seminars where you delve into a subtopic with a small group of students and a TA (there are multiple seminars, each on a different topic, which you can chose from). I've had some of the most interesting discussions there and the small class size (it was about 10ish people) made the class way more engaging than your typical GEs. There was also a lot of focus on connections with present day issues, which also made the seminar an awesome opportunity to become more informed and aware of how the subject (and the social sciences more broadly) intersects with contemporary environmentalism, politics, science, etc., and learn things I can take with me beyond this class.
There is a bit of work and reading that comes with the class, but if you stick with it it will be worth it, and you'll be proud of the diversity of what you've learned and of the work that you've produced. It's not the easiest class you'll find, but in a way the challenge made it worth it :D