August 10, 2009

Seeley, Karen
[BC3162] Cultural Psychology

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

One of the best, if not the best, psych courses I have taken ever. This class opened my eyes to the fact that the psychology we learn is through a Western, specifically American lens. This course is key for psychology majors to realize that what we learn in other courses is relative to an American culture. A mental disorder in America may not be categorized as such in Bali. Though not overly invested in the clinical applications of psychology, the course does teach what can go wrong when non-Americans are treated according to American psychological theory.
The class also attracts a diverse student population thanks to the subject matter, so you may hear points of view you have yet to encounter. The class is exactly the title, a combination of in depth study of psychological theory and culture.
Overall, the readings were reasonable in length and almost always fascinating. There was a lot of in class discussion, refreshing after so many psych lectures and droning powerpoint presentations.
Prof Seeley may seem cold at first, but she truly is passionate about her work and the course. She is dedicated to teaching her students new information, so unlike many other courses you will not be bored by overlap. The content she presents is more captivating than her lecture style, but I was never bored.
Prof Seeley is also extremely helpful on a one-on-one basis. Be sure to meet with her, especially if you are struggling with a direction for your papers. When I started, I had a very broad topic, but her guidance helped me hone in on a real thesis and she even named dozens of volumes to look at for research so I didn't waste time.
If you are a psych major, you HAVE to take this class.

Workload:

Read 3 articles weekly. Midterm paper 8-10 pages, Final paper 12-15 pages. One time lead a discussion on one of the 3 weekly readings.