I took this class because I thought it would be a good idea to take a course on American history, and this one / Professor Fields had "life changing" reviews. Having completed the course I would say those reviews are off. The only "life changing" info the course offered was Field's idea/book "Racecraft." Ideas related to this aspect of the course have definitely shifted my thinking (as someone who has already learned a lot about critical race theory, etc in college) but you could get it from watching an interview with her and/or reading her book. Her takes on the American colonies are also interesting— but that's only the first few weeks of the class. As others have mentioned it's a LOT of reading and most of it feels EXTREMELY specific/unnecessary. I'm talking like 10-15 pages about mules in Virginia specific. Also, I found her lecturing style kind of strange. It's exactly like she's just reading a book out loud— not very conversational or engaging. Unless you're majoring in American history or have some reason for being really into the South, I feel like your time could be better spent elsewhere... ALSO NOTE that she apparently has her own grading system (which I only discovered after I received my final grade because it was not referenced anywhere on the syllabus— NOT COOL!). You have to get above a 96 overall to get an A!
Professor Lisa Tiersten is by far the most amazing human being you'll ever meet. At first, the class was super-intimidating: she speaks fast (REALLY FAST), uses very big vocabulary (I'm an international student who just learned English), I did not even have a clue about so much in the class and I did not know what to do. I went to her office hours a couple of times and had numerous email exchanges (she responds before you even hit send) to discuss that––I really felt like a monkey in the beginning. Through that, she made it clear that I should only focus on learning. To be honest, I spent many many hours doing all of the readings and trying to make up for my weaknesses; however, it was totally worth it. Halfway, I turned into a different student: the monkey turned into a tiny historian–I got more confident, started learning how to evaluate texts from a historical perspective and discuss them. Also, I started using these ism suffixed words correctly, A JOKE! The bottom line, in my opinion, Professor Lisa Tiersten is a treasure, and taking one of her courses is a MUST.
Took her in 2019, hands down the best CC prof. ever (Professor Thomas Dodman was also fantastic). I'm an introvert and it has always been stressful for me to participate in a small group setting but Prof. Pedersen was absolutely supportive and she made me feel like my view matters. I wasn't very good at writing papers either but her feedback helped me improve a lot both in terms of grades and formulating a philosophical argument as well. Would 100% recommend.
Overall, pretty solid class; not the easiest, but a doable A with lots of time and effort. This is a super popular class because it fulfills the Global Core requirement, Prof. Khalidi is the best in his field, and the subject matter is relevant and important to current affairs. It's such a big class that you'll likely have a couple, if not 10-15 friends in the class too. Professor Khalidi is an awesome lecturer. I found his lectures engaging and extremely informative. It was refreshing to learn about the Middle East from an actual Middle Eastern professor/someone who's lived there – he throws in personal anecdotes about famous heads of state and events we learn about, like meeting King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and his fathers' work in the UN. It's pretty cool to learn from someone whose own life experiences and family background is ingrained in what we're learning. Grading is entirely based on discussion sections that happen once a week. The midterm and final are each two papers written over a five-day period – so they're definitely very time intensive and require prior knowledge (cramming during the five days is hard – I tried doing that for the midterm and got a B+). If you do the readings, pay attention to lectures, and talk to your TA, you should be okay. Make sure to participate in your discussion sections. I ended up with an A overall in this class, although it did take a lot of work. If you're looking for a really easy global core, take something else. But, if you're interested in knowing more about the MENA/Greater Middle East region, especially in how the US/Europe created a lot of the conflicts we see today, take this class. It really opened my eyes!
Honestly, this class had wonderful content and I think Karl has great intentions. However, let us not forget that he is a man, and as such will not meet your expectations. As it was a zoom semester, I expected that he would think critically and not assign both a pointless self-proctored exam AND a final project that was to be like a million words. He obviously cares greatly about the material, but I just did not vibe with this carelessness on the part of the students. I would recommend the class. But beware.