December 29, 2008

Hawley, John Silver_nugget
Hinduism

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

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should start by saying I grew up in a Hindu household, so I definitely came to the class with more background than a lot of other people. That being said, I really enjoyed the class. It was a nice, refreshing break in the day.

Other reviewers are right to note that Professor Hawley's lectures are discursive, but in his defense, I think that actually enhances the class because:
a) it means he provides interesting anecdotes while teaching, which actually help the material stick in your memory;
b) it makes the class a little easier to swallow because you don't have to be 100% alert 100% of the time;
c) he does get to the point eventually;
d) the very nature of Hinduism -- which is a multifaceted religion with a lot of different strands -- makes it almost impossible to learn in the strict lecture-and-notes format that other reviewers seem to prefer.

So yes, he goes off topic and seems to wander off into tangents, but his organic style actually makes the class all the more valuable. He's a renowned scholar, a wonderful professor, and an interesting character.

Workload:

2 papers (surprisingly difficult) and a straightforward midterm/final with IDs given in advance