Professor Povitz's Courses

I took Prof. Povitz’s History of U.S. Radicalism course my second semester at Middlebury; even now in my senior year, I consider it one of the top three classes I’ve ever taken. The atmosphere of the course was unlike any other I’d taken; I’ve never been in an environment where everyone felt more comfortable to explore new ideas, take intellectual risks, and build off of each other’s thoughts. It was definitely the only three hour seminar I’ve ever taken where students would get so caught up in the material we’d nearly forget to take the scheduled break. (Even more notable for being a night class!) And it was the only class I’ve ever taken where I genuinely looked forward to reading and writing discussion posts: it was great to spend the ensuing days continuing the conversations we’d have in class and have an avenue to thank someone for making a great point and changing your thinking. I actually felt like I was in a real community with my classmates. Prof. Povitz made that kind of very special intellectual environment possible, which was all the more meaningful for the many of us who came to class with perspectives and/or backgrounds that otherwise guarantee a degree of isolation on Middlebury’s campus. I felt intellectually nourished and spiritually at home in that course in a way that’s very rare. At the same time, Prof. Povitz’s course constantly challenged my perspective on social movements and social change, and made me engage with history and politics in a far more rigorous way. I’m very lucky to have had that experience and I think future Middlebury students should have the chance to have it as well. 

Caitlin Barr 22.5

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