January 02, 2005

Pritchett, Frances
[ASCM V2357] Introduction to the Civilization of India

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

Do not take this class, trust me. I know that CULPA is worried about skewed reviews due to students writing reviews because they either loved or hated the class. I am writing this review because they want reviews from fair-minded people. So trust me, this is the worst class I have taken at Columbia. The only reason to go, and Prof. Pritchett knows this I'm sure, is to pass in the short blurbs that you have to write for every class on the reading that you didn't and don't need to do. Prof. Pritchett is a sweet woman, absolutely, but I think the vastness and the lack of coherence of "Indian Civilization" is what dooms this class. The lectures are incredibly dry and seem to have no goal. She does have a pretty incredible website from which she shows pretty pictures in class. If you are interested in the subject, it would certainly be a great source. Class consisted of random ramblings on nothing in particular with her spewing names that she does not put on the board and noone really has a chance to spell. Wednesday classes end with a group discussion with TAs, there are two groups. These are utterly useless except for comments about papers perhaps. The good news is that the class is pretty easy. I got a B+ for doing absolutely no work besides the two papers and studying REALLY hard for the final. You do not have to have taken any notes or done any of the reading to do well. The paper topics are a choice of three random topics that consist of reading a work and writing about it. Grading is pretty lenient. The final consists of memorizing about 125 IDs that are listed on the aforementioned website from which only 12 are chosen. You only have to write a couple sentences about 10 of them. Then there is an essay which I completely BSed. The class was terrible, but not that hard, so make your own decision. I promise that this review is fair.


Two 6-8 page papers on random topics. I wrote on an Indian play and on the first part of Gandhi's autobiography. No midterm. Relatively easy final if you're willing to research and memorize all fo the 125 IDs. I think 100 pages of reading a week, but I never read a word. Attendance is counted by passing in the inane blurbs on the day's readings.