Review Comment

Cities and Civs: Intro to Eurasian Studies

August 29, 2004

Nepomnyashchy, Catharine Silver_nugget
Cities and Civs: Intro to Eurasian Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

It's hard to give an accurate impression of Cathy if you haven't met her or sat in on one of her lectures. That said, if you take this class with her, expect a mixed bag. The readings were generally well-
chosen, and she and Professor von Hagen combined media like literature, photography, video, and art in an attempt to show students the flavor of each city. Having taken the class and having later visited Moscow and St. Petersburg, I can tell you that despite their efforts, no class can come close to the real thing. However as I walked through Ploshad Dekabristov and the Kremlin, I found myself reliving the stories I remembered from class. In short, it will give you a basic knowledge of Eurasian cities, and quite possibly a love for them, but will also show you just how much you have left to learn about them. Its angle is particularly valuable because it focuses not on the broad scheme of the Empire's history, but on its diverse and unique regions. I'd say if you love Eurasia, take this class with a caveat (see workload). As for Cathy, she is a disorganized and overworked, but wonderful person. She is very relaxed, and shows genuine concern for her students. She is usually late, though, so if you go to her office hours bring a book.
It's too bad her spaciness often overshadows how great a scholar she is. Oh, and "her" city is Moscow, so she's a great resource about anything from the history of the city to where to eat once you're there. A gem of a professor if you can put up with the disorganization.

Workload:

*Extremely* heavy and tedious. One example of a week's reading is Crime and Punishment AND 6 handouts (print them yourself online)... plus your weekly TA session and quite possibly a movie viewing. You also have to keep a journal the whole semester, and write responses to each movie you view. I am accustomed to a heavy workload and found this class nearly unbearable in that respect. You don't have to do all the reading, but it was hard for me to figure out what to read and you've got to know your stuff at least moderately. Luckily there is room for creativity in the assignments.
The class was also not very well-organized when I took it, so it may improve for 2004-2005.

December 18, 2003

von Hagen, Mark Silver_nugget
Cities and Civs: Intro to Eurasian Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Mark Von Hagan is a very nice man and quite knowledgeable. His teaching style sucks though. He is so pleasant he seems like a doddering fool, but he knows his stuff. He kinda meanders his way through a lecture. Nothing goes in order. He goes through a random slide-show and then explains each picture for 5 minutes. Actually, you don't really have to learn anything but general concepts for this class. I shouldn't complain.

Workload:

I know people who are seniors taking major seminars and thought this class gave more work than the seminar. It's a huge amount of reading, plus weekly journal entries and movie reviews!! AHHH!! Everyone in the class bonded through the ridiculousness of the work load. There's a midterm paper (10 pg) and an easy final but the whole class is a lot of work.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
HIST / HSSL HIST HSSL W3224: Cities/CIV: Intro-Eurasian Stdy Catharine Nepomnyashchy, Mark Hagen 2003 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
HIST / HSSL HIST HSSL W3224: Cities/CIV: Intro-Eurasian Stdy Catharine Nepomnyashchy, Mark Hagen 2003 Spring TR / 4:10- 5:25 PM 1