I had a generally positive experience with Dawn Delbanco. For starters, she is EXTREMELY knowledgeable in all facets of the class. The trade off is that her lectures are at times very dry and boring (I would rather watch paint dry) so it sometimes makes it hard to go to class. Despite her style of lecture, you still can get so much out of the class. Not taking Western Art seemingly put me at a disadvantage, but she is extremely clear on what is important and not so important. The material covered is mostly Chinese based with Delbanco, as we had another instructor come in who was more biased towards Japanese, but after hearing the other professor, it made me appreciate Dawn much more. Again to emphasize, she is extremely clear on what she is looking for and the important aspects of the material. Class set up is as follows. First half of the class is ceramics and statues. Second half is paintings. Ceramics is the least interesting of the topics but very straight forward and honestly very simple. Second half is more interesting but the level of difficulty is increased (as having to identify artist, painting title, country, and date as opposed to type of ceramic, country, and general period of creation) but it is completely doable. Overall, if you want a class where you do not need to do much outside reading or not to buy any textbooks, take Dawn's class, you will not regret it. SUMMARY: PAY ATTENTION IN LECTURE TAKE GOOD NOTES
The professor is very effective in presenting lectures that are organized and easy to follow. However, it seems at times she herself doesn't know the subject matter she is teaching and as if she hasn't seen some of the pictures before (e.g. she'll say oh I don't know what X is used for in the picture and ask the TA's if they do). The readings are useless, but the lectures are necessary if you want to be able to repeat the information back for midterms and papers. However, throughout the semester you'll get more and more disappointed with the class and feel the urge not to go to class because the information she presents is very vague and does not seem to be grounded in anything.
If you're thinking about taking this class for Global Core... DO IT! I took this class having not taken Art Hum and really enjoyed it. Professor Delbanco is extremely knowledgeable about the course material and can answer almost any question in a matter of seconds. She uses the words "orthogonal" and "counterbalance" a lot that even the TAs laughed at themselves at the end of the semester when they started saying it. She is extremely approachable and is willing to help a lot. DONT BOTHER BUYING THE BOOKS. The readings are never referenced... i repeat NEVER so don't waste your money. If you miss a lecture make sure to get notes from someone in your class because otherwise you might be a little lost. For the midterm and the final, there isn't that much historical memorization. She is much more concerned with you being able to critique art in an intelligent way than to memorize dates. Though this class is not exactly the easiest (the papers are graded pretty harshly), the TAs will definitely acknowledge you if you participate in the weekly section. If you miss one of the weekly sections/discussion groups (50 minutes every week), you have to write a one page paper about the lectures of that week.
This was her first time teaching a class by herself. She struggled to build enough confidence to take command of the room. She would ask, "Does anybody want to comment on this painting?" rather than, "How does this painting illustrate concept x?" Very few students took up her offer. She also struggled to organize the lectures, homework and exams. The requirements for the exams changed several times as students repeatedly stated that existing requirements were too ambiguous or broad to study for. She seemed to have shored herself up by the end of the semester, but she's still very green. Get her while she's malleable.
Professor Delbanco cares deeply about both the subject of the course and her students. Her lectures, which mostly consisted of going through slides of artworks, were engaging and often funny. She is a tough grader and expects you to know what you're talking about on papers and exams. However, this is not rote memorization as you are expected to know a lot about relatively few pieces rather than a little about a ton of them. We took 2 field trips to the Met, and one to a Japanese tea ceremony in addition to a workshop on calligraphy and scrolls. Both papers were based on pieces at the Met. The midterm was a series of 5 slides which we had 15 or 20 minutes to describe, and she sometimes threw in pieces we had not encountered before but that related to those that we had seen. The final was the same as the midterm plus an essay which we were allowed to prepare prior to coming to the exam. Even though I knew next to nothing about Asian history, culture, or art, I feel like I learned about it from Professor Delbanco. I highly recommend this class and Professor Delbanco.
Chelsea was awesome. I took this class just to take care of a requirement, but I ended up loving it. Chelsea is generally very sweet and gentle, but she has a diabolically dry sense of humor--you'd find yourself laughing about something that she'd said a few minutes earlier. Also, she's great about office hours. One time I went in to discuss a draft of a paper (something else she's really cool about) and she ended up volunteering all sorts of extra information and anecdotes about Asian art, and recommending articles I could read. I've never had an instructor who took the initiative to be so helpful during office hours. She's very strong on Japanese art, a little less so on Korea and China. For those latter two countries, I sometimes I got the feeling that she'd just read the same textbook chapters we had. But in a time of academic specialization, can that really be avoided? She's a good teacher and--happy day--an easy grader. High marks all around.
Katherine is one of the best TAs I had this semester. She is extremely helpful, and will go out of her way to meet with you if you needed to. Also, if you need help to understand topics in the classroom, you really just need to approach her, and she will gladly help out. Among other things, she answers emails really fast. She cares about her students, and makes an effort to learn everybody's names, so that in recitations you feel at ease to give your input.
Great teacher! She's a PhD candidate, but so knowledgable on the topic. She's extremely personable and understanding of the things that come up in a student's life. Her lectures are interesting and does a wonderful job of transcending chronology to draw connectinos between styles done hundreds of years apart and she incorporates students' opinions and ideas so it's not just an hour and a half of her voice.
You know what: if you love yourself, don't take this course. Just don't do it to yourself. And don't say I didn't warn you. No, she really doesn't have a sense of humor. None. Sandrine, why so dry? Why so serious? It's just a clay pot. Generally, I'd be able to handle all of the above. It's just that there was no exciting theory to hook onto. The manner in which we observe is more important than what we are observing. Got it? There was a lot of stating the obvious and memorizing dates. So many dynasties. Argh.
The class was pretty decent. Sandrine was extremely knowledgable and also just a nice person. There is not too much reading and it really consists of mostly pictures and diagrams. If you go to class and study the slides a fair amount you should do fine. There was a lot of information because the class covers the entire artistic traditions of 3 different cultures, but Sandrine did a pretty good job of presenting the information in an organized manner. The trips were also great. Also, as for the accent thing- yes, it is there- but seriously, it really was not an issue.
I LOVE Professor Deblanco. She's interesting, caring, and down-to-earth. The work load is not hard at all...in fact, there is barely anything to do. Just go to class, pay attention, write your papers, and study for your exams. I heard that the other sections had to remember all the dates...she doesn't care. What matters is that you understand the concepts and that you can tell her where a specific piece of pottery came from. The field trips...AWESOME!!! She also teaches Masterpieces of Western Art. A++++++
Hmmm. I'd say the review from 8 Sept. is on the money; the two earlier reviews (26 April, 5 Sept.) sound kind of spiteful, and I don't know why. This course really opened my eyes to a tradition I was completely unfamiliar with, and Sandrine is responsible for that. Yes, she teaches more like a European professor (who assumes that her role is not to "entertain" students and that they are all there to do serious learning--even if it's not the case), but, on the other hand, it's not that common in Europe to find someone who is so enthusiastic and dedicated to the subject matter and the students. She was *extremely* generous with time (office hours, excursions, explanations, etc.). The only thing that you should be aware of is that she takes the approach of covering as much material as possible instead of the Art Hum half-dozen "Great Works" approach. This means less time for in-depth close readings of the art, but I'm sure she'd be happy to go into further depth during office hours. The advantage of her approach is that it gives you a panoramic view of many centuries of East Asian Art. Mumbles? Never--unless you call her quiet voice at the Metropolitan Museum mumbling... More like she was trying to be respectful of the other visitors in the Museum. There are senior professors at this university who've been here for years and years, and their teaching is absolutely deplorable. Sandrine is hardly in that camp. Her class was fascinating, and she's a great teacher, dedicated to her students. You'd be a fool not to take advantage of her vast knowledge.
I think the last reviews are a little absurd (and they suspiciously seem written by the same person...). I took Sandrine's class last year and our class unanimously loved her. I am an art history major and I've taken classes with loads of the art history gliteratti - Krauss, Buchloh, Higgonet, Ballon... (the list goes on) and Sandrine - despite not yet being a professor - ranks as highly as any of these and is even better than some of them. The class is not by any means easy, but it is by no means impossible. In a school where getting an A sometimes is too easy, I felt I really earned my A for this class. Sandrine's passion for the subject becomes infectious, and you really push yourself to learn and understand. Furthermore, I think one may be frustrated with her method because she does not have a simple-minded "cause and effect" attitutde towards art, instead she tries to make us understand art through a whole prism of different methods - philosophical, aesthetic, religious, social ... Her exams were notoriously hard, but very intellectually satisfying because she really forces you to think and engage with the texts. BASICALLY, I strongly suggest you to take her class! And at risk of sounding presumptuous, I've been taking art history classes for a long while and didn't think I could have been as blown away as I was.
Prof. Larrive-Bass was one of the best I have had at Columbia. She was thoughtful, patient and attentive. If you missed a lecture, or had trouble with a topic, she would review the entire lesson with you in office hours, or make another appointment to ensure that you understood the material. She offered to read your papers before you submitted them, and returned them within hours with in-depth comments. I personally availed of both aids--and learned a lot not only on the subject, but also on general history of the region and how to write a paper on a non-economics subject (IÂ’m an econ major). She also finds hands-on things to do with the class to bring the subject matter to life. She brought in a copper Chinese work; she took us to see a tea-ceremony; we practiced calligraphy in class. Not many teachers take the time to care about the methods of teaching--but she does. Yes, she has an accent. She's from France. But Columbia students aren't provincial, or they shouldn't be, and if they are, they should get used to the fact that the great teachers of the world do not all speak in flat mid-western accents. Grin, bear it, take this course, and take advantage of a great instructor.
i absolutely agree with the first review. i did really well in the class but it stunk -- which is totally a pity because i was excited to learn about east asian art. stay away and hope for a new professor. why? she is just god-awful boring -- complete monotone + lights off + french accent that is too heavy = snoozefest. a snoozefest which, by the way, you have to attend because she takes meticulous attendance.
Don't take this class. She mumbles the whole time and she's sorta of obnoxious. I'm an Art History major, I'm probably going to do well, and it's just not worth the time.
Ms. Beningson certainly was very knowledgeable about her subject and came to class well-prepared for each lecture. Also, she has an excellent, relaxed teaching style. Most of my friends and I found her to be very good, but we all agreed she graded the papers a little too harshly. Just make sure you use the terminology she uses in class and you should be fine on the papers and exams. Also, she assigns various readings in the syllabus but YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ THEM (my words, not hers)! You will see what I mean when it comes time for the papers and exams and you find there is no time to refer to the readings. I did very well in the course by taking copious notes, having good attendance/being on-time, and participating regularly. Also, do not worry about taking notes (or even paying attention) during the museum visits because none of it was on the exams. However, she does take attendance to see who comes to the museum.
At first, this course appeared to be an Asian version of Art Humanities, but as time went by Huang made it more into a survey course. Although she is difficult to understand at first since she is Chinese, you come to understand her after a week or two. Stick with the class--she's funny and enthusiastic as well as being always ready to help.