By far the MOST BORING but EASIEST class I have ever taken. somehow, each week the lectures are boring- which is weird because the subject sounds so interesting. however, if you actually do the reading, it is good material (but there is NO NEED to buy segal's huge book! take it from an A student! promise!).
The course should have been called "Life After Death... as it relates to Judaism, the only topic I have any interest in." Seriously, in what should have been an overview of ancient civilizations with DIFFERENT religions, all Segal would do is talk about Judaism. Maybe take a class that is supposed to be about it and you would like him better. But this class was disorganized, sloppy, and overall, not at all informative. His lecture style seems to be "show up and ramble about whatever the hell I want." As for his multi-media content, what the hell does watching excerpts from "The Magic Flute" have to do with anything? Maybe he's nice, maybe he's informative, but that did not come off in this class. The fact that the students were clearly not interested in what he was saying (which was kind of his fault) made him defensive. I really didn't learn anything, but since my TA was nice, I did fine in the class.
This is by far one of the worst classes I have taken here so far. Segal loves to hear himself talk and goes on tangents freqeutnly. There is no need to buy his book (he will put it on the books for the course because he gets royalties on it) because you dont use it at all. perks of the class include that there really isnt much work and you dont need to do the reading. also, hes a really easy grader, a guaranteed A if your TA likes you. if you want a boring class with an easy A take it.
If your looking for an easy, informative religion class, this is the class for you. This class is a lecture class, but all of the discussion sections are optional, as well as the meetings with the T.A.s. Basically, you just attend class to listen. Attending class is stressed though, because attendance is actually taken. But since there are no exams on the material, you can just go to class and listen while you finish up homework, check your email, whatever. I usually looked forward to going to this class as well, just because Segal knows an extensive amount about western religions, and the class is really interesting. There are two/three papers, which I recommend seeing a T.A. about, but nothing else besides that. An esay A class as long as you actually try on the papers.
This was a really interesting course. The lectures were definitely more interesting towards the beginning of the semester, but I am not sure if that is because of a personal preference to the earlier material or that Prof. Segal was just running out of energy near the end. Nevertheless, I can safely say that the reading list was one of the best I have had at Barnard. No, you do not have to do all the readings, but it helps if you do ... and the readings are really very interesting. Students should know that he has an attendence policy for the lecture (yes, with 250+ students, it was interesting) ... and your attendence DOES MATTER and does weigh surpringly heavily on your final grade for the course. I found Prof. Segal to be a very nice, approachable professor. He really loves it when you come to his office hours and he is genuinely engaged in the subject and likes talking to students about it. Yes, he has some strong political beliefs and yes, they do come out in lecture occassionally ... but they were side notes and did NOT influence the range of material he presented (so I would therefore not call it "unprofessional"). Good class, fairly easy, interesting material, approachable prof. Go for it. (PS - BC students: it fulfills the Cultures and Comparison requirement)
While I hate to be blunt, the only fitting word for this class is "joke." On the first day, it was clear that it was going to be a jock/greek life fiesta, which seemed okay at the time. Now, four months later- not so much. Segal's lectures are disorganized (he can't operate technology to save his life), poorly executed (he'd scribble useless, illegible words on the chalkboard and pull up courseworks for no apparent reason), and often boring. Sometimes his humor savedthe day/woke people up, but typically, the only thing interesting to do in that room was count the number of people playing sudoku. I honestly took it because I thought I'd enjoy the content, but given the circumstances, that was impossible.
This class is a waste of time. True, he tries to make it interesting with his presentations but sitting through the lectures are an utter waste of time. Segal is way too into himself and loves to spend time talking about himself. Buying the books are a waste of money as you dont even need to read them. This class could be interesting but Segal wastes too much time with pointless stuff and the class becomes redundant and boring. I would have slept through the class but attendance is mandatory. Light course-load though - only 2 papers which you can rewrite for a better grade.
This is a great class. Lectures are really interesting, and Prof. Segal uses a lot of multi-media equpiment and presentations. Really fun. The only two drawbacks are mandatory attendance (which isn't really a problem since the lectures are so good) and Prof. Segal's complete lack of tact and professionalism in injecting political commentary into his lectures (but the majority of students here will probably really enjoy what he has to say about all that).