October 08, 2011

Leung, Cheryl (TA) Silver_nugget
[ASCM V2008] Contemporary Islamic Civilization

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

Cheryl is a great indication of why the lecture system (and some of the Global Core) is broken...because she demonstrates how these classes should actually function. This section is a lot of work, but you learn a ton and get very, very good at completing long form assignments. Even just taking this class as a junior, I probably learned the most about good work, thinking, and writing habits in this class. Her weekly assignments can be excruciating in a packed week, but she gives you a full week to complete them, which seems fair. She also provides video (Youtube) content and a paper assignment to get the class thinking deeper about the material, while also giving an actual CONTEMPORARY account of Islamic cultures (a major failing of Professor Saliba's curriculum). A major theme of the course is the portrayal of Muslims in the media, and Cheryl's supplements help to show the progress that has been made since 1970 in giving the "Muslim world" (itself a challenged term) some kind of voice and agency. The larger paper assignment is, again, more work, but she gives a solid variety of options so a) she doesn't read the same paper over and over again (a testament to her passion) and b) the writer can choose a topic that suits his/her interests. Too bad she will not be TAing this class anymore, but you would be lucky to have her in another class (if you are up to the challenge)!

Workload:

Definitely more than your average lecture class. She makes the 4 credits worth it, however. 4 page (average) assignments weekly, 6+ page paper (assigned by her), group presentations...plus the final and midterm of the actual lectures (which, unfortunately, make up most of your grade).