August 10, 2004

Massad, Joseph
[CLME W3042] Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies

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

In one word: wow. Like other reviewers, I came to this class thinking I would have to sort through extraordinary amounts of bias, but that was simply not the case. It's unfortunate that Massad has gotten a bad rep from a handful of students who don't like that he has an opinion different than theirs and can back it up with FACTS. I was constantly blown away by the way he could always, ALWAYS respond to an antagonistic question with facts. Yes, of course, he has his own opinions. I didn't always agree with him, but I always respected that he cared enough about the subject and was so knowledgeable. Massad cares deeply about what he's teaching, and you end up caring too. I can't say that for most of the classes I've taken at Columbia.

Beyond his amazing lecturing abilities, Joseph Massad is incredibly nice. Everyone talks about his ego, but I was shocked when he stopped to talk to me in West Side early in the semester. He knows everyone and goes out of his way to have a chat with you, whether or not you actively participate in class.

Workload:

The usual amount of reading, but he covers main points quite well in his lectures. It helps to do them, though the midterm was fairly straightforward. One long paper which initially seems a lot more complicated than it actually is. Final was cancelled.