This class was a bit scattered for my taste. Stephen Scott lectured straight off of written notes, no PowerPoint slides or real outlines to back him up, so it was often hard to figure out what to take notes on. A lot of times, I just found myself trying to type down literally everything he said, just to be safe (and because this classâ€™ grades were pretty much all for essays, it was helpful later to have as much material to quote as possible). For an intro class, this class used a good bit of technical jargon (that Scott seemed to think was pretty much common knowledge) that I found a little hard to follow at times. But you kind of get used to it, and you can google what you don't understand in class later and figure everything out.
The readings were a little long at times and pretty boring, but if you wanted to know vaguely what was going on in lecture and also have something to write about for the midterm and final, you needed to read most of it eventually.
Stephen Scott, though, is brilliant and really a genuinely interesting guy. Itâ€™s fascinating to hear him talk about the anthropological research he does in South America and some of the Indiana Jones-like adventures heâ€™s had while doing it (no joke). He also totally dresses the part of an anthropology professor (so to revise my earlier statement, he pretty much is Indiana Jones). He was really helpful when I went to his office hours to talk to him about one of the written assignments, helping me to focus my idea for an anthropological interview and to brainstorm questions to ask my interviewee.
My TA (Anschaire Aveved), however, was actually awful. I could sit through an entire 50-minute discussion section and come out with no notes because I hadnâ€™t understood a word he said in his thick accent. He also never (never) covered anything that was actually part of the class in his teaching, usually talking about something that had absolutely nothing to do with what was being talked about in lecture. So if you take this class, make sure you get a good TA (one that you donâ€™t have to define English words for because he doesnâ€™t understand what youâ€™re asking him) so that you can get something out of it.
I was really surprised when I got an A- in this class. I was convinced that I would get no better than a B in the class, so I was quite pleasantly surprised with my final grade. To be honest, Iâ€™m actually not sure what did it for me in the grades department, but I guess if you keep on top of the reading and take good time with the midterm and final, you can come out well in the class.