This class was tough.
This class was a very thorough (and fast-paced) historical survey from the Fall of Rome to the French Revolution and Napoleon's rule in France. If you want to get a general idea of what European history is all about this class is very helpful since it covers a vast array of topics from religious syncretism to the use of art as political propaganda. Professor Bender is also an engaging and entertaining professor who is able to interest the class even during finals week when everyone is exhausted. I actually felt better after going to her lectures! This class also requires a weekly discussion section where the TA's do in-class activities with primary sources relevant to that week's material, as well as discuss papers written on primary sources. The discussion section is extremely helpful since it engages the students and allows them to process the information they heard in lectures during the week, and sometimes it's actually fun.
Some highlights of this course were Professor Bender's lectures, our writing assignments and working with writing fellows. Professor Bender's lectures were always interesting and well-planned. She is one of the best lecturers you will have in your entire college career, and you would do well to take profuse notes. The lectures were specific enough to include important and interesting details (such as Charlemagne's pet elephant Abul Abas), and also general enough to give students the "big picture" view of each time period we covered (about a century a week). This class also has a writing component, and Professor Bender gives very helpful "mini" lectures (15 minutes at the end of some classes) on effective writing for history papers. She also grades written work according to her rubrics which she provides on blackboard, and grades fairly. You can tell she really wants her students to do well. I learned more about European History from this class, but I also learned a lot about college writing.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
For the written work, make sure you finish your papers way ahead of time and go through them to make sure they adhere to the rubric. Definitely make sure you see your writing fellow ahead of time (this is a required and graded part of the course) so that you have time to make corrections. Make sure you do your readings and study a lot especially for the exams. And go to EVERY lecture. Professor Bender was not happy when attendance dropped after the midterm, and put a lot of information from her subsequent lectures on the final. Also, DON'T skip the discussion section. The TA's go over what they are looking for on the exams and papers in these classes and it's an easy way to get a better grade.