Intro to Literature and Methods of Art History

Dec 2016

This was one of my favorite courses, if not my favorite, I've taken at Barnard. Reynolds seems genuinely interested in, and even affected by, students' views. He is not pretentious but will tell you when you're wrong. His passion for art history, no matter what period, seeps into every discussion. He pushes you to write succinctly and clearly. Not only did this class provide me with both in-depth and broad perspectives of the art historical field, but it also taught me to consolidate information, summarize, and debate with classmates. I also appreciated how he made weekly papers due on Mondays and graded them by class time on Tuesdays; this provided structure and forced us to be prepared for discussion. Reynolds epitomizes the "quirky professor" stereotype in the most charming way possible. He also e-mails you back almost instantly and makes time for office hour meetings.

Jan 2010

Spring '10 is Professor Hood's last semester at Columbia so take advantage of his brilliance/expertise and register for his class. You will learn a lot. He was previously the art history department chairperson at Oberlin College and has been at Columbia for just a few semesters. I was in the major's seminar Fall '09, and I think there may end up to be two diverse and adamant sentiments about Professor Hood: you either abhor or love him. I thought he was great. He is tremendously funny, really smart, and knows a lot about all aspects of art. He is very opinionated as well. If you are the type of student that enjoys sitting in a lecture hall taking notes and memorizing for midterms and finals so that you can just reiterate what Professor Hood said during some previous class, then he is not the professor for you. However, if you are the type of student who seriously reads your weekly assignment to provide yourself a foundation to state your opinion during class and be able to support your argument, then Professor Hood is for you. However, I think there are a lot of students that might feel uncomfortable with that type of discussion because it could feel like he is "picking" on you.

Jan 2010

Professor Hood is not concerned with making either assignments or themes clear to his students. In fact, he appears to be kind of opposed to explanation and clarification, maybe because he considers a seminar a place without fixed lessons, or maybe because he secretly hates us all, I don't know. Sometimes he's cuddly and flashes his Santa Clause smile, but he turns mean, fast. He takes his students' failure to respond or understand satisfactorily as a personal affront and will get, like, intensely and surprisingly severe with you. But despite that, the concepts themselves that we discuss in class are hella interesting and complicated, and I never regretted attending class. Basically, if you don't need to have your hand held, and you don't take criticism personally even when it feels damn personal, and you don't stress about doing an assignment "wrong" -- and I will give him this, that although he never explained a damn paper topic to us, he appreciated different takes on whatever his original intent was -- Hood's seminars are actually just fine. But I can't speak for his lectures.