Cities and Civs: Intro to Eurasian Studies

Aug 2004

It's hard to give an accurate impression of Cathy if you haven't met her or sat in on one of her lectures. That said, if you take this class with her, expect a mixed bag. The readings were generally well- chosen, and she and Professor von Hagen combined media like literature, photography, video, and art in an attempt to show students the flavor of each city. Having taken the class and having later visited Moscow and St. Petersburg, I can tell you that despite their efforts, no class can come close to the real thing. However as I walked through Ploshad Dekabristov and the Kremlin, I found myself reliving the stories I remembered from class. In short, it will give you a basic knowledge of Eurasian cities, and quite possibly a love for them, but will also show you just how much you have left to learn about them. Its angle is particularly valuable because it focuses not on the broad scheme of the Empire's history, but on its diverse and unique regions. I'd say if you love Eurasia, take this class with a caveat (see workload). As for Cathy, she is a disorganized and overworked, but wonderful person. She is very relaxed, and shows genuine concern for her students. She is usually late, though, so if you go to her office hours bring a book. It's too bad her spaciness often overshadows how great a scholar she is. Oh, and "her" city is Moscow, so she's a great resource about anything from the history of the city to where to eat once you're there. A gem of a professor if you can put up with the disorganization.

Dec 2003

Mark Von Hagan is a very nice man and quite knowledgeable. His teaching style sucks though. He is so pleasant he seems like a doddering fool, but he knows his stuff. He kinda meanders his way through a lecture. Nothing goes in order. He goes through a random slide-show and then explains each picture for 5 minutes. Actually, you don't really have to learn anything but general concepts for this class. I shouldn't complain.