Yes, he certainly is pretentious, really to the point of being condescending. When he is not using his multisyllablic, Latin words, he will give you the most basic information as you were some kind of ill-informed dolt. On the plus side, he is very bright, albeit on a narrow range of topics, and is very formal and polite. His approach is what people in the history and anthropology classes call 'positivist' and is most useful for people interested in political science and philosophy. He is a real stickler about attendance and generally about doing things just so. There are absolutely no paper extensions. He has exacting rules about what kinds of drinks we can bring to class. Nothing that will make a loud noise is allowed. If you can not deal with this kind of personality, you need to get out. Or run screaming.
I don't think he's pretentious. He just knows why he's there. This class is one of the most fundamental you can take. It is not basket weaving and Morrison knows it. He is great at leading the discussions, is extremely professional and gives great feedback. It's true that he is a little lax about giving you his interpretations of the reading and can let the class go a little off topic. But after seeing some of my other teachers, I'm grateful. I've learned more in this class than in any other so far. But I'm a little biased, I think men with beards are sexy.
Morrison is an extremely knowledgeable and intelligent professor. His lectures are well-organized, insightful, and interesting. He is open to student interpretations and encouraging of any well-thought out comments. If you are interested in the subject, Morrision is a fantastic professor and this is a great class. If you are looking for a "survey" of the politics of the Middle East, try another class. However, if you want to read analyze texts by some of the most crucial thinkers in the region's recent history, then you need to take this class.
Get out if you can! Way too much work compared to other CC classes. There are in total 7 written assignments throughout the term (vs. usually 2 in other classes) that usually have annoying prompts. He's an ok teacher, and without the extra work he'd be bearable, but with the work, there's no reason to stick around.
yes, he's pretentious, but i thought he was a good teacher. very nice guy. i certainly learned a lot. i didn't think he was a hard grader -- i can't write to save my life and i hardly ever talked in class and i got an A- the first semester and an A the second. his tests are really easy; make sure to really know all the main points of each author (i found it best to read the handouts people make; those give very good summaries). for the tests it seems he's just trying to see if you actually read; in my class we had a lot of people who never read but would BS away in class.
He certainly is pretentious, and he's good at it. The classroom is his stage, but he wants it to be your stage too. This class is not for the faint of heart. Class usually started with a historical lecture (in the CC tradition, without talking about common opinions of the works, only the history surrounding them) and was then open for discussion. Be prepared to make speeches for class discussions: you have to have an introduction, or no one will know what you're commenting on, since he seems to call on people at random, regardless of who's had their hand up for ages. You have to have a quote to back up what you say, or you will loose your chance to speak while we all have to look for one. And don't even think about giving your vague opinion just for discussion's sake-- it'll get brushed over with an "ok, that's interesting... next!" You have to have a conclusion, or your comment will get lost becuase no one will follow up on it-- we're all too busy trying to come up with our own comments or figure out whether the last guy's speech made any sense at all. (they sometimes don't... we all know that by now) And Morrison is too formally polite to give you any help with those cases (it would be insulting to call an idea bad in discussion, but don't count on the same standard of mercy for your papers) So the confident people talk more and more, regardless of the merrit of their arguments. On the plus side, there is occasional pizza, paid for by the core office. Most teachers don't use their CC budgets- organization has a plus side.
Hmm. Not my favorite by any means, but he got better as the semester went along. Don't be intimidated at first by his apparent "stiffness" and "seriousness". He loosens up as the semester progresses. Classes were very interesting because he basically allowed the class to teach itself- most is pure student discussion. Morrison is very intelligent and at times opinionated, but he'll take any view as long as its well argued (dont be afraid to argue in his class). A difficult grader, mostly because its hard to figure out what exactly he wants you to write. If you make a good impression with your first essay, you should be alright. Stay in this class, unless the other students dont make interesting discussion (the class pretty much depends on the students).
not terrible, but not great. He really is into class discussions and he asks really insightful questions, but the problem I found was that the class answered the questions and discussed it, and then he proceeded to the next point without ever saying the correct interpretation, so no one ever knew for sure. However, he is a really nice guy and the class goes pretty fast and wasnt terribly boring. If you are in his class, I suggest staying
In one word: pretentious. The classroom is his stage, and his opening lectures for the books provide little supplementary information. His discussions are sometimes interesting, but often they don't address the important themes in the book. By comparison to other classes, he grades difficultly, and his essay topics are abstruse (as is everything he says due to his fondness for latin and multisyllabic words). Not recommended.