Student Comments
Eco 357k Introduction to Marxian Economics
Fall 2007

These are all the written comments made by students in their course evaluations: the good, the bad and the ugly.

"I am so fortunate. If I go astray, others are certain to notice it." - Confucius

Dr. Cleaver is an exceptional professor. He said a lot of things in lecture that I could never imagine hearing from any other class which were helpful in building the knowledge and the frame of mind that is not mainstream economics. One should be surprised to see how he teaches based on such massive, well-constructed database of his own. It sometimes feels too excessive and workload, but he's actually setting an example for other teachers showing that its important for a teacher to construct his own materials, not just pick a textbook and teach what the book teaches.

Marxian economics gave me a more in depth insight into the history of the world and how society has been shaped by capitalism. Cleaver does an exceptional job of analyzing Marx's writings while also using current examples for comparison. I can easily claim that this was the most useful class I have taken at UT. Society is seemingly blind to the grasp that capitalism has on them. You can either exploit people or capitalists will exploit you. Cleaver is an excellent professor with the broadest range of knowledge of any professor I have ever had.

I liked Professor Cleaver on a personal level very much and I'm extremely glad that this class is offered at UT. My one concern is that sometimes Cleaver talks "above" the general student knowledge level in a manner that's at worst condescending and at best unhelpful. If you're going to pack your lectures with allusions to authors and obscure historical events unfamiliar to most people, take a brief moment to explain them. Otherwise students are left uninformed and mildly irritated, not impressed. That really was a minor complaint though. The majority of the time Cleaver was really informative and enjoyable. Really!

I greatly enjoyed the course. I did not enjoy the test format, however. Wouldn't essays be a more effective way of evaluating our ability to synthesize the material? The exams were ironic given the nature of the course in that they asked us to perform as automations! I enjoyed the comprehensiveness of the course, especially the allusions to various historical episodes and info on the "Marxist tradition". More attention could be paid confronting the theory with standard economic theory to show which is more valid. (It's not enough to say that standard economists are tools of K and thus disregard the opposing theory. The pop cultures references and novels were a good addition. Overall the course was well structured and very through on the theory. However a more critical attitude could be taken toward the theory to show it stands up to criticism.

The tests felt too long for the time allowed to their completion. Often the answers were clear, but there was insufficient time to completely answer them particularly for slow writers. Over all the teaching and the outside materials provided were exemplary. The sole problem was the evaluation process.

Very interesting expositions, incentive to show up at class, poor relevance of expositions to prepare tests.

Professor Cleaver is a good instructor but I found this class extremely uninteresting due to the nature of the material. Cleaver is very cynical towards capitalism and does not take very kindly to comments in support of capitalism. He advocates the idea that people do not like to work and his revolutionary spirit rubbed off on me, causing me to miss the majority of his lectures towards the end of the semester.

Lots of professors pay lip service to the idea of coherence between teaching philosophy and actual teaching practice (not to mention life outlook). Professor Cleaver actually seems to care about being consistent in these. The course does a good job making a relatively antiquated text relevant, and a relatively abstract text speak to a student's life. I would recommend it for students of my background.

I think this course is really good to open our minds and view different opinions of capitalist culture. It has definitely impacted me. It's good to learn the origins of capitalism and to actually be able to read Capital without putting the book down after the 1st chapter, since the way which Prof. Cleaver organizes it makes mores sense and the added comments and notes that he makes keep the whole thing much more interesting.

Professor Cleaver tells it like it is and tries to engage his students as much as possible. He hopes that his students become as interested in reading and understanding Marx as much as he is. I enjoyed the class and the material profoundly.

Professor Cleaver is a very intelligent man, he knows Marxism particularly well as well as its relevant issue, both the past and the current. His points of view are also interesting, which lead you to the other ways of thinking.

This is one of the best organized classes I have ever taken and I have taken many. The course is simply amazing. The comments Prof. Cleaver has are so detailed that one wants to read the original Capital. Cleaver is articulate and knows what he is talking about. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience.

It was a very well organized course. However I thought that the course material could have been more open so the class could go into more depth. The reason for this is that I felt that we could have discussed the material more to really understand everything Marx is saying. We could have read other material that may have agreed or disagreed with Capital and then contrast the two.

This course was tuff. Dr. Cleaver did a great job explaining that at the beginning of the semester but I was surprised by how heavy the material is. I think students should think really hard about what they are getting into (emotionally speaking) before they take this course.

Cleaver is a very interesting professor who obviously cares about what he is teaching. This course has been one of the more thought-provoking experiences I have had at UT, and his enthusiasm makes it worthwhile. Although I may not end up needing the credit as part of my major/minor, I feel like the materials covered were beneficial to my own personal intellect.

Cleaver does a great job at articulating Marxism as not simply a set of concepts but as a complex way of making sense of social revolutions. He is good about driving upon accessible and relevant examples to articulate his point. At times I found myself uncomfortable with his portrayal of Marxist traditions other than his own (autonomist), but then I didn't think that is necessarily a pedagogical problem if those portrayals are part and parcel to his perspective. Still I worried that at time he made a statement out of different trajectories in a widely contested intellectual and political tradition.

I generally didn't like being tested on the Professor's interpretation of Marx (as opposed to just Marx or the reading). Sometimes a lot of the extras online or extra info mentioned in class seemed to clutter my understanding of the material. But overall, I've very much enjoyed lectures and feel I have learned a lot (and of subjects I don't know if I would normally pursue).

The discussions/lectures in class were very interesting. I just wish it were a little later in the day so we could actually be awake enough to participate.

From a learning perspective, this has been one of the best classes I have ever taken. The instructor encouraged free thought and provided applicable examples to the material that helped to concrete what we learned. Capital is a large read but mostly worth it. The material online was very helpful in discerning the messages in the book and you can tell that Cleaver poured his soul into helping us understand that there are other possibilities beyond Capitalism.

Strong and thought-provoking course. Lecture could be a little dense sometimes but was well supplemented by online analysis. Thank you for online access to materials. That is a must. Best class I have had UT, due to the new ideas it presented and forcing me to think about my beliefs.

Professor Cleaver was fantastic! As a teacher, his lectures were interesting and although the tests were challenging he provided students with plenty of materials to prepare with. He brought the subject into our own lives and got us to relate with what could be seen as a difficult concept. He was always open in discussion and helpful with questions. If I wasn.t graduating I would take more of his classes.

I do appreciate you putting all of those resources on the Internet. I have been reading your lengthy notes over each chapter and they help quite a lot.

This course should be required for every UT student. It is very well organized and Professor Cleaver knows how to balance theory with real examples. The workload is extremely high, but so interesting that it makes you want to leave all your other coursework aside and just investigate what is said in this class. The best class at UT, a must take for every student. Two thumbs up! It will change your life.

Most interesting class taken at the University thus far. There is a lot of content, but lectures deconstruct and interpret it in a way that make such a large volume of information able to handle. Something perhaps that might be expanded upon is the differences in paradigms of neoclassical economics and those that Marx puts forth in Capital.

I learned a lot in this course, thanks for that.

Professor Cleavers makes you rethink about life and how everything around is reshaping it to become better producers for a society, do not take this class if your not open to a new way of thinking about how a system like capitalism is controlling our life.

Cleaver is very informative and interesting. Since much of the texts revolve around his interpretation of Marx an in class review would be helpful.

Found the class to be very informative, well organized. Website provided a lot of outside resources which expanded on the subject material. Challenged ideas and opinions I had for a long time. Created a new way of looking at the world. Should have more classes and instructors like him. Cares greatly about students. progress and issues they have in school.

This class is an eye opener and is one of the most interesting I have taken at UT. The information and reading materials are fascinating, but it is a lot of reading if you read everything assigned. Cleaver is an interesting professor-a lot of the class is based off of his review of Marx but I think it would have been good to see other authors. commentaries too. Overall this course was very valuable and I recommend it to students seeking an out of the ordinary class that will change the way you look at our society.

Informative class but too much material. The class would be much easier if Cleaver would give more color on what to study.