Shahrough Akhavi

Jul 2018

Professor Akhavi is really knowledgeable and approachable, but he would often go on tangents during his lectures and ramble on about things that weren't related to the class material. Sometimes these tangents would be interesting and worth paying attention to, but most of the time they weren't. He is a fair grader, but he assigns a lot of reading and we barely had time to discuss it during class because of all his rambling, so you basically had to teach yourself the course because you were tested on the readings. The material was interesting, but overall I wouldn't recommend the class because of his lecturing style.

Jan 2015

This is an International Relations seminar intended for juniors and seniors. Overall, TAKE THIS CLASS if you're interested in social movement theory, regime change, contentious collective action, or, of course, revolutions. Akhavi is an incredibly brilliant scholar who seems to have focused on Middle Eastern politics in his work, and more particularly on Iran. Readings are typically long and are in-depth, respected works from the poli sci/sociology canon. Discussions are crucial; students take turn leading discussions every week, so usually the second hour of class is reserved just for discussion after Akhavi lectures. It's very important to do the readings and pretty obvious if you haven't due to the small size of the class. There are two exams that are somewhat unusual for a political science major seminar, but pretty leniently graded nonetheless. If you've done the majority of the reading and understand larger concepts, you should do fine. The only other grade, other than participation, is your 25 page research paper. He will help you come up with a topic and give you feedback on your proposal, and I've found he's very willing to help during his office hours with developing the paper. This class focused a lot on the French, Chinese, Iranian, and Russian revolutions, and I wish we had spent a bit more time on other revolutions and Middle Eastern conflicts (though we did have multiple classes and readings on both). Overall, this was an enjoyable class and I'm now pretty well-versed in revolutions and social movements, which will only continue to be an important issue in the political science field. Akhavi is kind, extremely knowledgable, and engaging, and he makes an effort to get to know the students in his class. Take this seminar with Akhavi if you can!