Review Comment

[MDES G6020] Colonialism

February 07, 2004

Dabashi, Hamid
[MDES G6020] Colonialism

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

Professor Dabashi is a brilliant man with little commitment for his students. Part of what makes him a fantastic lecturer is the depth to which he is entrenched in his own thought. This is also what makes him an ineffective teacher. All he can do, in his own words, is to take his students to the kitchen of his mind and to show them what's cooking. (The man's speech is full of incredible and often extended visual metaphors.) He is either incapable of or too lazy to listen to people who are either not on the same page as he is or don't particularly like the page that he is on. His dismissals and his disinterestedness result in minimal participation by his students, even if the class is a senior or graduate seminar. Many very competent students I have spoken with came out of his classes feeling inadequate. This is unfair.
[I disagree with the previous student's reading of the screening room incident in that I think the first student's remarks were misinterpreted. The second student's mistake was in her hasty reading of his remark, not in her reaction to the terrible thing she thought he had said. I agree that Dabashi overreacted massively by lashing out at her the way he did, silencing her for the rest of the semester. Foul.]
Brilliant man. Bad listener.

Workload:

One 20-pg paper at the end of the semester. Again, I think it is lazy to grade your students on the basis of one assignment. I understand that Dabashi is a busy man, but he really ought to be able to give his students a little more of his energy. He is, after all, supposed to be a teacher. Waxing (incredibly) eloquent about how seriously you take your vocation as an educator does not make up for the fact that you do not take seriously your vocation as an educator.

December 13, 2003

Dabashi, Hamid
[MDES G6020] Colonialism

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

Professor Dabashi does incredible work for the world and the community except when it comes to his teaching. He arrived to class 10-15 minutes late each session and consistently let us out ten minutes late. We read one book per week and discussed the book for approximatey five minutes every class, though he chose to subject an unsuspecting student to giving a well-reasoned argument and synopsis of the book at the beginning of each class. His syllabus included several books which were out of print and many he chose to remove after we purchased them. If a student chose to disagree with his Marxist conception of the definition of colonialism "the abuse of labor by capital" (also known as capitalism) you would be ridiculed and ignored. He frequently had arguments with students about films and books not assigned for the course (Kant, Adorno & Horkheimer, the film "the battle of algiers"). His classes follow no structure whatsoever and he makes leaps in the conversation by telling stories which are only mildly relevant to the topic of discussion. Sometimes it is difficult to be sure what he is actually talking about. He also made us come to a film screening and discussion for two hours every wednesday night, doubling the amount of classtime. During one such meeting, a student made an unbearably misogynist comment which amounted to "one can tell that a woman has been raped if there is some indication of sexual pleasure." A young woman in the class was offended and said so, asking the young man to refrain from such doltish and offensive commenting.The ever-so-progressive Dabashi screamed at her for asserting her right not to listen to that sort of offensive and violent language in the classroom. The professor was extremely condescending to her. This sort of behavior is indicative of the general Dabashi way, which appears progressive and yet is so completely egoistic and control-bound that you won't learn a thing by questioning. Famous Professors often suffer from these groupie diseases, it becomes a disservice to their work and their students. The grades reflect only the degree to which you agree with everything he says and grovel at the Dabashi altar.

Workload:

One book per week and a 2 hr film screening each week. One 15 page term paper based on "statistical evidence" he will not direct you to find. Also, a constant barrage on one's dignity.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
MELC / MDES MELC MDES G6020: Colonialism Timothy Mitchell 2009 Spring R / 11:00-12:50 PM 1