Student evaluations (Bristol, ECON20021 2018/2019)

Hear are some student evaluations from the 2018/2019 course on History of Economic Thought taught at the University of Bristol:

I thoroughly enjoyed the module!
Most interesting uni I’ve taken in 2 years, the only one that asks us to think for ourselves rather than memorise models. Gained a very good overview of where economics came from and old theories, by far the most useful unit so far. Pavel was very interesting to listen to as well. There was an overwhelming amount of reading for the tutorials, not all of which was relevant. I often did parts of the reading before giving up due to time constraints, especially as the language is challenging and we were often busy writing essays for the module. More focused reading would mean I would be more prepared for classes, as I would be able to get through it all.
Very interesting lectures, the mix of philosophy and economics was great. Very easy to follow and intellectually stimulating. Good mix of information and space to think for ourselves
Good content, difficult topics but very interesting
This course was an absolute breath of fresh air. Throughout my studies I have been perennially frustrated by the lack of critical thinking. Economics teaching proceeds as follows: here is an extremely abstract and unlikely theory, go away and learn it, and don’t ask awkward questions about its veracity. But I want to know where these ideas come from, and whether they are true, not just whether they make neat mathematics.   In this course I was finally able to ask some of the questions that had been bothering me, for example: Is the idea of maximising utility really true, is it useful, where does it come from? Has economics always been about rational individuals, or should it consider societal influences and morality? Does it make sense to talk about general economic laws, or does human action actually depend on culture?   Excitingly, I found that I was not the first to ask these questions: other thinkers have written and argued about these kinds of questions before. By considering their answers, and comparing their points of disagreement, I was able to refine my own thinking about these questions. This process is something that all economists need to be adept at, and yet those who never study this course are merely trained in blindly regurgitating the theory they were told to memorize.   It is vital that we train economists who are capable of critiquing a theory, of comparing different schools of thought, and of noticing the value judgements that the theory rests upon. This course teaches you that skill, and I believe that it should be the first course that every economist studies.   This course provides a needed education in the foundations of some important economic concepts. My only complaint is that it finishes too early: at the end of the course, you could be forgiven for believing that the diversity of economic thought ended in 1936. I would like to learn about more recent controversies and debates within economics: Is the neoclassical synthesis faithful to Keynes original writings? In what way did Friedman and Keynes disagree? What did the Chicago school say, and were they right? Are there modern economists who are suspicious of the rational representative agent?   Economics is not a settled subject, and economists need an appreciation for the debates and diversity of opinion within economics. We must train economists who can critically assess theories, and this is why we need this course.
Pavel always comes well prepared; his lectures are impressive and thorough.
As I said, another module on History of Economic Thought or something similar should be available at Bristol university because it is such an expansive area.
I loved this unit, I will continue to study this for the rest of my life.

Go to the description of the course.