Fall 2023 - This cluster has definitely expanded my horizons on the topic of Race and Indigenous studies, and it has filled in a lot of my cultural "blindspots," if you will. This is a very history and sociology-oriented cluster, as the topics are focused on different races and their historical backgrounds. There are multiple professors who lecture about their respective cultural identities (i.e. African-American, Japanese-American, Indigenous California Indian, etc.) which allows for very interesting firsthand experiences being told. Thus, the class material is very interesting and engaging, but as for the workload, it is a lot of work. There are a LOT of weekly readings assigned about different topics on race/indigenous studies, and you must leave a comment on each reading digitally for credit. Lecture attendance is also pretty much mandatory as well (but you can watch them on Zoom), because you fill in a lecture survey at the end of each one describing what your main takeaway was. Furthermore, the quarterly essays assigned (one a Literary analysis, the other an Oral History Paper) require a lot of work and background research (but this cluster does count for the Writing 2 requirement, which is very nice). However, your TAs will be very helpful.
Fall 2018 - Overall liked this cluster and it wasn't super challenging to get an A in the course since I am a pretty good writer. If you struggle with writing, this class could be tough. Midterm fall quarter is VERY EASY and pure memorization that you can do in two days. Final winter quarter is also fairly easy and can be learned in two days. Reading from the course reader is not entirely necessary you will come to realize. SELLING COURSE READERS FOR FALL AND WINTER QUARTER FOR $20 (this saves you over $100). Text ********** if you're interested!
Winter 2021 - Absolutely loved this quarter! If you are looking at this review then you are probably already committed to the year long course. Professor Fong and Professor Brown were Professors added in this quarter and they were very engaging and would play music at the beginning of lectures. Professor Bunten and Ortiz were great Prof's as usual. Professor Ortiz also really was compassionate and understanding this quarter, she's actually so sweet! Grading: Participation (40%): Same as last quarter (during covid) 40% of your grade is easy participation points if you just do the readings, do lecture participation, and talk during discussion. Media Paper (30%): They shortened the media paper from previous years so now its only a 1500 word paper, and they just want to see your writing improving across the quarters. Final (30%): They implemented "biweekly" reflections and the average of those one-pager's was your final exam grade. (Ortiz even cancelled two of them because of our media paper deadline so the writing in this class isn't too overwhelming.)(She might not do the reflections after covid though) Take Laura Terrance as your TA if you can! She is a really sweet, knowledgeable, and welcoming TA. Her grading is also extremely fair if you put in a good effort! Final Course Grade: A+ Participation: 100%, Media Paper: 97%, Final Exam (reflections): 100%
Spring 2022 - The Special Topics - Art, Activism, and Social Movements was very thorough in terms of explaining the meaning behind politically and socially motivated works of modern and historic art. This course was taught by Elizabeth Dayton, whose humor often made the class way more enjoyable. As long as you have the gist of weekly readings and really put effort into writing requirements, you will be fine.