American Politics Seminar: Majority Rule and Minority Rights

May 2010

Professor Smith is funny and has a lot of anecdotes to make people laugh in class. The subjects are interesting too. Still, I don't recommend this class. He's distant and not very helpful when it comes to the final paper. You already have to have the idea for the final paper at the very beginning of the semester, before you even realize what the class is about. Then he makes you do all these strange assignments with your 'question' and 'thesis' and how to incorporate the question into the thesis without giving the answer away. It's unnecessary. He's a hard grader on top of that, so it's not as though you get an easy A out of it.

May 2008

I really don't understand why Professor Smith gets such negative reviews. He's one of the nicest, most down to earth professors in the whole department, and he's done some really interesting research on minority collective action that translates well with the material covered. I always enjoyed the in-class group projects as a means of reinforcing material in practical settings. These courses exposed me to the Eyes on the Prize PBS series and - finally - Robert Dahl's classics, oftentimes referenced in other courses in the department though rarely read. If you're looking for an easy large lecture filler, I wouldn't suggest the Race and Ethnicity course. You really should have an interest in the material. If you go in thinking its all common sense, you probably won't leave learning anything new. It's really a nice window into how issues are advanced and elections are won. Furthermore, Smith is easily approachable and always quickly responds to emails (within 24 hours, usually sooner).