If there was a nugget higher than gold, Prof. Shelley definitely deserves it. He's an amazing professor and very knowledgeable and welcoming. The course is very friendly to those of all knowledge levels and experiences. A great class that's actually discussion based and gives you a chance to explore a variety of works of literature. The reading could get somewhat overwhelming, especially if you take the course in the intensive format, but Prof. Shelley is very accommodating and is obviously more concerned with you learning and enjoying your exploration of the texts than with nitpicking about grades and deadlines. His interest in the subject matter is apparent and constantly reinforcing the themes and info from previous works. I took this course as a global core with limited experience with the texts (and as a stem major) and I'm finding the works interesting and the class to be very engaging and enriching. 11/10 take any class with this prof if you can.
Hallaq is undoubtedly a pioneer in his field, and he makes this known in his seminars and classes. While he is a very knowledgeable person, he is very intimidating and this is certainly off-putting, especially when it comes to participation in the class. He treats the course like law school, and cold calls on students for summaries of the texts, so make sure to read them!!! Regardless, you come out of the class with a very different view of what Islamic law entails.
Fascinating class and incredible professor!!! I loved this class so much. We went through 4 religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) and discussed their approaches to evil and suffering. The classes were a mixture of lecture (no slides, just a handout with bullet points/terms) and large-class discussion. I'm not a huge fan of trying to have discussions in large lecture classes, but it honestly went okay. I just really loved the material of the course. It felt like everything that we learned about actually mattered, and I was also introduced to many religious concepts I had never heard of before (I'm neither a religion or South Asian/Middle Eastern studies major.) Pro McDermott also went above and beyond this semester. Her lectures were engaging and nuanced. She always acknowledged her shortcomings on any religious tradition she was less familiar with. She even organized a panel of speakers from the different religious traditions to speak with us on the last day. Beyond that though, she stepped in with the grad-student strike and began grading all of our discussion posts and papers, returning them to us even more quickly and with much more detailed comments than the TA's did. She also held our weekly TA discussions for us. I have no idea how she found the time, truly a mystery. Overall, she is such a kind-hearted professor and it's obvious how dedicated to her students and their learning she is.
Did Prof Como suddenly decide to not care? I took this class because I read the amazing reviews about his teaching. That's the problem: he didn't teach. The student-led discussions were a complete disaster. Its laziness obscured as pedagogy. He would speak for maybe 15-20 minutes at most per class--and most of what he says is either so simplistic or some dumb anecdote none of us care about. Don't take this class unless you want to basically pay thousands of dollars for a book club.
The class is okay. The content is generally interesting but the readings are a bit more work than I expected. They are also primarily fiction and especially literature, so if you want to focus more on non-fiction texts this might not be the class for you. I wouldn't say the class is hard but I also don't think it's an easy A -- I might just have a harshly grading TA though, I don't know. Professor Wenzel is nice and generally understanding, but the class was generally her lecturing with minimal accompanying PowerPoints. I'm sure this style of teaching fits other students better but I found it extremely hard to focus.