December 13, 2008

Balmer, Randall Silver_nugget
Religion and the Civil Rights Movement

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

Professor Balmer is interesting and warm. His lectures are clearly organized and he's totally into the material, which in itself is fascinating. I loved this class! The reading is a bit much but it's interesting. I highly recommend this man--he really cares about his students. This semester there were about 90 of us in the lecture and he stayed after class answering question after question after question, beaming at the students as they passed. And what an interesting guy! He sometimes goes off on little tangents about his books or his documentary, which is pretty cool because he's Emmy award-winning.

Balmer is great about multimedia-style presentation as well. We watched some really cool documentaries and read some amazing books. Howard Thurman's "Jesus and the Disinherited" was hugely impactful--if you skim through any of the other books, read this one!! It's paradigm-changing, to say the least.

Watch out for his essays. The prompts are really general and you'll end up having to do tons of research on a topic minutely related to the prompt in order to get an A. The last paper, a "reflection" on how this class had affected, if at all, our understanding of history or religion, was graded like a research paper, not a personal reflection. This is probably more of a TA issue though...

Yay this class! Take it! It's awesome!

Workload:

Heavy reading--2 huge biographies, 3 shorter books (150-300 pages), a good deal of historical documents. 2 essays, midterm isn't that bad, and a final.