I took Sociology of Gender with Marnie Brady, and I would only recommend taking the class if you want to do the readings. You will not get anything out of the lecture. Brady is a disorganized, slow, and verbose lecturer who sacrifices comprehension for the sake of big words and complicated sentences. When she wasn't lecturing she was trying to facilitate class discussion, which hardly ever went well either because the questions she posed to the class made less sense than her lectures. On the plus side, the syllabus is good, the topic is incredibly interesting, and you will get a lot out of the reading if you do them. Brady is nice and definitely means well, and she is accessible outside of class if you need anything. She is an easy grader and the workload is light. The final project was making a zine, which is super cool if you are interested in zines/feminist activism. Again, however, you will only get something out of that project if you invest yourself in it, because Brady offers minimal incentives.
Marnie is a very sweet professor and well intentioned, but her lecture style is disengaging and by the end of the semester most people did not pay attention or participate during class. Easy class, but wouldn't recommend if you're looking for good discussion and interesting lecture.
Kyla Bender-Baird is a decent instructor. Her classes are a mix between a lecture and a discussion. She generally reviews the assigned readings before the class discusses. She's generally very clear with her explanations. Even though I had no experience with gender studies, the class was pretty accessible even to me. The first few classes are a good introduction to the topic in general. Her handwriting is pretty illegible, so don't be afraid to ask her to clarify. Overall, a pretty good instructor. She's an adjunct though, so she might not come back.
I took Prof Bernstein's Sociology of Gender lecture class this past fall (2012) and felt the need to review her, and it, after reading the reviews below. I really don't understand why everyone is hating on her so much... The class didn't blow my mind, but the lectures and readings were interesting, the assignments were pretty easy, the grading was fair, and the professor and TA's were completely pleasant. I had absolutely no issues with Bernstein or the TA's at all. I'm a Sociology major, so maybe I have a different take on Bernstein and her teaching style than Women's/Gender Studies majors, but I thought the class was really quite good! ATTN people who are debating taking this lecture: go to the first few classes. That's exactly how the entire semester is. AKA pretty relaxed, easy, and mostly interesting. It's not hard to get an A in this class and not have a complete meltdown about it. Go to class, take notes, and skim the readings. That's it.
This professor is a monster. She is condescending, passive-aggressive, and unsympathetic. You meet her three times and she re-introduces herself each time. She laughs and smirks at people in class. She doesn't want you to construct your own interpretation ever, she'll cut you off instead of hearing you out and explaining where she thinks you went wrong. The work load fucking sucks, and if you don't do well on one of them you're kind of in trouble. Don't take this class.
Professor Bernstein does not give a shit. I thought at the beginning she was quirky and adorable the first month and a half of class, basically until right after the drop deadline, then she started doing the negative things people have already mentioned. When I would share in class she would smirk at me and try to cut me off, it just became a chore to participate just for my grade. when discussing the Brandon Teena Story she was fishing for someone to say that Brandon's transition was exclusively for the social gain of being a man. Somebody actually made that comment, and she was approving. I almost fell out of my seat I was so mad. I took this class as my WGSS intro class and that was the worst decision of my life. Sure some reviews say things along the line of "this is a sociology class, and if you're not used to that way of thinking then don't take it because this class is so awesome and eye opening." And to that I say: that's a load of bullocks. This class maintains the binary structure of gender and attempts to fit people of deviant gender identities into that binary. THIS IS NOT A REVOLUTIONARY CLASS IT IS NORMATIVE. WGSS MAJORS, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS IT WILL INFURIATE YOU BI-WEEKLY (even tri-weekly if you go to discussion section). You can read the interesting things on the syllabus on your own time, do not take this class. Do not take a class with Bernstein, she does not care about her students.
Stay away from this professor. She does not care about students. Her assignments are very complicated and if you are lucky enough to receive her as your grader instead of the TA for both of your papers, you are screwed. Also, she does not take kindly to any perspective that elaborates upon or goes beyond the points discussed in lecture. Other students found her engaging, and it is true that she is passionate about the topics she chooses. However, when she says something like "There are several ways to do this," she is lying. If you don't know how to write a sociology paper and if you don't stick to exactly what was said in lecture, you are screwed.
It's a very interesting course, but there are some things to keep in mind. She's very quirky in class, which I liked, but I don't think it's for everyone. Most of the lectures are read straight from her prepared notes which was sometimes hard. I found that she was hard to reach outside of class and even when she was able to pin down for an appointment, she always seemed busy with other stuff. One of the TA's, Randa, was fabulous. So helpful and excessible outside of class. Discussions with her were really informative and helped to simplify complex material covered by Prof. Bernstein in lectures.
Be forewarned, a lot of this class is crackpot theory along the lines of "all sex is rape" and "all men are the oppressors." Kinda upholds the Barnard stereotype, I have to admit. That being said, Professor Bernstein did a good job of presenting material that could easily be overwhelming. You will learn about issues you never know existed - when I signed up for this class, I didn't expect to be studying how transgendered prostitutes view their sexuality, but hey, I learned something new. I didn't really like her lecture style - she seemed to read everything from notes, and monotonously at that. Still, she was straightforward, no BS. I would also recommend the TA Randa Serhan - you'll get a lot out of her discussion section. Work consists of a paper, a midterm late in the semester, and a final project. Very easy - so much of this theory is way out in left field that you can easily form your own opinions and conclusions. On the downside: She only gave us two weeks to organize and complete a ridiculously demanding final project involving interviews, which I thought was unrealistic for that time frame. Oh yeah, and this class is really not for the squeamish or conservative. If you keep an open mind, you will get a lot from this course. Also, Sociology of Gender has what must be the best required reading ever - an article called, "Looking for My Penis: The Eroticized Asian in Gay Video Porn."
Professor Elizabeth Bernstein (Sociology of Gender--BC) is an amazing instructor. She knows her material and presents an interesting/alternative way of addressing gender issues within contemporary society. In addition, she obviously has a passion for her field and supports the opinions of her students (she doesn't force you to agree with her). Now that all the good shit is out of the way; let me stop with the sugar coating. She can be horrible about getting back with you on issues that you bring up to her outside of class. She has office hours, but I don't know what for. You can hardly catch up with her. She always has a million and one things she's involved with in addition to the course she instructs. Lastly ---but sure as hell not least---, she does not really grade any of the projects or assignments you turn in in the class. Like all "TOO BUSY" college professors, she passes all of your hard work down to her incompetent TAs. And worst of all, there is little support from her for students who have a problem with the grading of the TAs. I speak from personal experience. If you want to be challenged and enjoy lecture, this is your class. However, outside of the classroom Bernstein has been known to perform a disappearing act. She is too busy to be bothered with your grievances---no matter how legitimate. Nonetheless, I do not regret taking Sociology of Gender at BC. I would recommend this class to anyone---just beware of these things I've mentioned. Now you know. I hopes this info helps some of you.
Professor Elizabeth Bernstein is by far the worst educator that I have ever encountered. I thought that Sociology of Gender would be an informative and interesting class about the ways in which the issue of gender pervades our society. However, the class was utterly dull and consisted of Professor Bernstein reciting verbatim from reading assignments in a monotone voice. She gave her sociological research utmost importance and seemed to enjoy pounding it into each student's head that men are useless creatures. Professor Bernstein was always condescending, unapproachable, and dismissive. She in no way made the class enjoyable. Her assignments were utterly ridiculous especially the final take-home examination which was tedious, long, and difficult to do in only two weeks time. Even other professors with whom I discussed the project thought that it was ludicrous. Also, your grade suffers if you do not frame your agruments exactly as she would. If you want to get anywhere in this course, agreeing with Professor Bernstein is a must if you wish to survive. If you have nothing better to do with your time thatn to do drawn out take-home examinations, agree with the preposterous claims of a woman who hasn't discovered colors other than black, and enjoy having personal propaganda implanted into your brain then this is the course for you. If you are a free thinker who prefers not to be spoonfed and patronized then try your luck elsewhere.
Without a doubt, Bernstein's lectures are slower than any I've ever heard before. She pauses for an eternity at least every few sentences - during which I considered napping. Instead of elaborating on her points, she just made them with very serious, almost self-important emphasis - like she was trying to silently tell us, "everything I say is so important, I shall pause and let it sink in, and let you scribble down my every word." The lectures also tend to draw almost exclusively from the readings, so if you did your reading, the lectures are slow *and* useless. Sometimes she does lecture about things not covered in the readings, but when I used some of this material on a midterm, she didn't like it. The midterm questions are also not particularly relevant to the readings. If you already know any gender theory, you have to really stretch to apply the readings to the questions she asks. You'd think that you could avoid her lecture problem by just doing the readings and not going to class, but no - she takes attendance! In a large lecture class. Stay away from this, even if you love the subject. *Especially* if you love the subject. She makes it boring. The only good thing are the readings, which are interesting and well-chosen. And she occasionally has videos or guest lecturers, which is a wonderful change of pace.
If you're looking for an extremely easy class that's actually interesting, take Sociology of Gender. Prof. Bernstein is a really nice teacher, very approachable and seems genuinely interested in her students. She does, however, teach as though the students are 13 which can be very frusterating if you're interested in the material and actually looking for an analytical look at the material. That said, if you just want a class with very light reading which the teacher regurgitates verbatim- this is the one. As another review said, Bernstein tends to let the class digress into mindless, repetitive comments, and she definitely doesn't push students to think very hard about the material. The grading on the midterms was easy, and she lets you bring a page of notes into the final. You could just as easily have learned the entire course by simply doing the reading on your own, but if you want to get easy credits then take the class.
Professor Bernstein is wonderful. She is a very warm, passionate person who is just as interested in her student's ideas, as those who are published, and even her own. The course is very interesting, and while some of the readings are a little heavy, she was sure to elucidate any difficult points in class so that we all had a clear understanding. The assignments were interesting and thought provoking. My only complaint is that she takes attendance in a class of easily 50 people, it is sort of juvenile. Come on, we're not in high school.
Prof. Bernstein is very knowledgeable. However, her voice will put you into a deep slumber. The course material is interesting, but it is strongly advised to keep up with the encyclopedic reading list. In general, it is an interesting class. She is extremely liberal, however...so watch out for that. Oh- and she expects participation. If people do not volunteer their opinion in class, she randomly chooses you from the roll book. It is difficult to pretend you're not there. (Not if someone knows you, obviously).