January 27, 2007

Hawley, John Silver_nugget
Hinduism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

OK, first the pros: Hawley's a madhu. His enthusiasm, good cheer, intelligence, and innate respect for and appreciation of his students are apparent from the minute he steps into the classroom, when he flashes his trademark ear-to-ear grin at all and sundry and then proceeds to begin the day's lesson with yet another amusing anecdote about his numerous Indian adventures.

Now the cons: anecdotes do not for cerebral satisfaction make, nor does his rambling, discursive, "where is he going with that" style of conversation - as opposed to delivering a clear, lucid, well-structured lecture - encourage prolonged attention on the part of those who have to sit through a 75 minute monologue, especially in those ridiculously uncomfortable chairs in his classroom.

Take Hawley's Hinduism class only if you don't already have a certain background in Indian culture, history or religion, otherwise consider one of his his upper-level seminars or graduate courses, or just be prepared for mind-numbing boredom twice a week - I'm guessing Hawley's one of those who tends to shine in smaller, informal group settings, where his personality and style of communication will set a positive, upbeat note for the rest of the class.

Workload:

Absolutely manageable. Midterm, final, two short papers (3-4 pp, 5-6). Weekly reading assignments.