January 16, 2005

Radwan, Noha
[CLME W4200] Themes in the Arabic Novel

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

Prof. Radwan is awesome! This is the course I put the most into and got the most out of. It's definitly one of my absolute favorites at Columbia and has inspired me to take more in the department. At first, I was really in awe of Radwan because she has such a commanding presence and authoritative voice but, as the semester progressed, I came to really respect her as a person and admire her as a scholar. Listening to Radwan's insightful comments, it's hard for anyone to deny her firm grasp on the subject material. I looked forward to going to lectures and felt they moved at a comfortable pace. While she's open to students' opinion, she's not one of those newfangled profs who believe everything some how makes sense--she won't hesitate to tell you when you're off kilter (which is appreciated!). My only complaint is she allows certain students to monopolize the discussion and often calls on the same opinionated students again and again. Besides for this minor glitch in facilitating class conversation, Prof. Radwan is really wonderful. She's surprisingly easy to talk to one-on-one and very encouraging when drafting papers. At times I felt she was my age because she's so approachable and has a good sense of humor. I highly recommend taking a class with Prof. Radwan because she's a great lecturer, approachable scholar and friendly individual.

Workload:

A book a week--if the first class is on a Tuesday, you'll be expected to read a book by Thursday, which is difficult if you're still putting you schedule together and shopping for classes! Some of the books are charcoal dry, others are unnecessarily avant-garde but most are very enjoyable and Radwan's lectures tend to illuminate the texts. She occasionally assigns convoluted secondary sources but you'll be ok if you just skim them since some are painfully pedantic and don't merit meticulous dissection. Active class participation is required (she'll call on you even if you don't raise your hand!). Two papers (one that is 10pgs and another around 15pgs). She grades fairly (probably more on the easy than hard side).