Reviews of Classes taught by Stephen Bensch of the History Department
|Name: Omitted||Year: 2003||Major: Political Science||Course: HIST 006 - Formation of the Islamic Near East||Taken Fall 1999||
The format of the class: hmmm. Bensch lectures and looks smug and tries to show off how much he knows, for example by sometimes writing down irrelevant names or places in Arabic or Greek to demonstrate that Yes, he knows Arabic and Greek. Although one out of every three days was supposed to be a discussion day, Bensch tended to dominate the discussion, to put it mildly. To be fair, Bensch knows his stuff really well, but he isn't a very good teacher and can't really get students involved in the class enough, even though there were only about 12 people in the class.
The class was fairly difficult. A pretty standard PDC load of three five to eight page papers or so, plus more reading than anyone could realistically be expected to do (again, pretty standard). Quizzes and tests on a fairly regular basis--the quizzes were multiple choice, matching, map ID, and fill in the blank--easy if it weren't about the Formation of the Islamic Near East. Which it was. For the tests, he gave us three essay questions, and two would be on the exam, or something along those lines.
The reading was good, but pretty thick, and you would pretty much have to spend a whole weekend to do the next week's reading.
I'll sum up by recommending the class with reservations for people interested in majoring in a related topic, such as Medieval Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, or Formations of Islamic Regions.