Karen Seeley is a really amazing Professor. I’ve taken both her culture and mental health seminar and cultural psych seminar. She knows how true a seminar in a way that i have not seen with most other professors. She strikes the perfect balance between seminar and discussion. The readings are extremely interesting but not too long. The course includes a midterm paper and final paper. Depending on if it’s an anthro course or psych course, the paper lengths differ. Highly highly recommend! I feel that my future career will be highly influenced and benefitted by this class.
PROS: 1. The professor is knowledgeable and cool. 2. She is enthusiastic about teaching and cares a lot about her students. 3. The material is interesting. CONS: 1. She refuses to post the lecture slides and is very adamant about not posting them. To make this worse, she would often change the slides too quickly. I spent the majority of my time and concentration trying to copy the notes rather than listening to what she was saying. 2. She is misleading about the difficulty of the tests. What she claimed to be a straightforward take-home midterm that would take "6 hours at most" took the vast majority of the class 2 days to finish and was highly detailed, complicated, and tedious (some people did very well, some people struggled). Furthermore, a good number of the multiple choice questions on the final exam were weirdly worded and tricky/detailed. (You must do all the readings and memorize the lecture notes.) 3. The group project was time-consuming and annoying sometimes. You know the deal: someone is always slacking off, it's almost impossible to find a time that's good for everyone, there is one person doing all the work, etc. She made us sign a group contract, but it was completely useless. Oh, and you have to make a poster, do mini-presentations for your classmates, and write a single-spaced 7-page paper with your group. The only upside to the group work was that it forced us to interact with our classmates. It was a good class but some parts were very annoying. Be prepared to put in the work and time taking lots of notes and doing the readings.
I agree with the review below: this one of the best psychology classes I have taken at Columbia so far. Informative, educational, rigorous but with a moderate workload, this is the ideal class to fulfill your seminar requirement. Prof. Seeley is just wonderful, and I highly recommend this class.
One of the best, if not the best, psych courses I have taken ever. This class opened my eyes to the fact that the psychology we learn is through a Western, specifically American lens. This course is key for psychology majors to realize that what we learn in other courses is relative to an American culture. A mental disorder in America may not be categorized as such in Bali. Though not overly invested in the clinical applications of psychology, the course does teach what can go wrong when non-Americans are treated according to American psychological theory. The class also attracts a diverse student population thanks to the subject matter, so you may hear points of view you have yet to encounter. The class is exactly the title, a combination of in depth study of psychological theory and culture. Overall, the readings were reasonable in length and almost always fascinating. There was a lot of in class discussion, refreshing after so many psych lectures and droning powerpoint presentations. Prof Seeley may seem cold at first, but she truly is passionate about her work and the course. She is dedicated to teaching her students new information, so unlike many other courses you will not be bored by overlap. The content she presents is more captivating than her lecture style, but I was never bored. Prof Seeley is also extremely helpful on a one-on-one basis. Be sure to meet with her, especially if you are struggling with a direction for your papers. When I started, I had a very broad topic, but her guidance helped me hone in on a real thesis and she even named dozens of volumes to look at for research so I didn't waste time. If you are a psych major, you HAVE to take this class.