Jannette is AMAZING! She is young and knows her stuff - she may come off shy and timid, but she really just wants the class to participate. Work with her and she will work with you - I highly recommend office hours, and emails - she will answer all your questions. She is also very knowledgeable on how to help you with general information - how to write your paper, departmental connections, recommends other courses to take etc. The course itself has some very interesting readings - good novels, but others a little boring, and so it is the class discussions that make the work. The ideas build on each other. You don't have to know anything about Hispanic history or politics - however, familiarizing yourself with basic politics and Latin America helps. Highly recommend this course - great way to get your Global Core done, enjoyable too. However - do the readings, you don't want to fall behind, and for your own good, it helps and is interesting.
I kind of have a huge girl-crush on Professor Russo. She's just so freaking cool. She's so intelligent but never makes you feel inferior and is sassy without being rude. She speaks, no joke, about 7 languages - most of which she taught herself - and is very knowledgeable about the course material. I found myself constantly amazed by the connections she made to our assigned texts using a whole array of genres - she particularly loved bringing in connections to our text from art and film which made for some very interesting and relaxing classes. We watched several movies in class and she takes us to visit 2 or 3 museums during class time as well. She really tries to vary the tempo. The reading is HEAVY for the first half of the semester but slows down significantly. We started with about 18 students in the class but ended up with only 9 because other students freaked out about the amount of reading. This was fantastic for me because the setting was so intimate but unfortunate for those who got intimidated. If you are able to keep up with the reading until the midterm, it's smooth sailing from there because there is no final and thus, no need to read everything. However, you find yourself wanting to read the texts in the second half of the semester because she's just that interesting. Seriously, take this class!
Maite is hands down one of the best teachers i have had at columbia and i have had many (im currently a senior). this class at first seems like a pain but you get really into it and the text are all very interesting. it seems like alot of work but you can pick and choose like any other course at columbia..much like lit hum or another hum...anyways this teacher is amazing- she gives extensions and she is beyond a fair grader. she knows what she is talking about and really tries to get everyone involved.. there were times honestly were i was upset that i hadnt read the assignment because discussion about it was so interesting..you almost want to write the papers. she is just one of those inspiring teachers that makes you want to do well in her class- she is very nice and the work load if you are an over achiever is alot but if you just do what you need to do its not bad..and shes really flexible in terms of papers- if you are a good student and talk in class and do the posts then she likes you and gives you time. also the midterm and final are great because you go over the same themes over and over again i may be going on and on take this class for major cultures or spanish requirements...it will be a great experience. its not all reading you go to a cool museum see great movies like city of god and also alot of stuff on art which is great cause it brings alot of diversity to the class its exactly like a lit hum just way cooler and easier... i dont think she gave anyone less than a b-and an a is totally doable take it you wont regret it!
Professor Russo is one of the greatest professors I've ever had in my four years at Columbia. She is super cute, so nice, and extremely knowledgeable about Latin American history and culture... she also speaks like 10 different languages fluently. She is extremely sweeet, and her 2 hour seminars are well structured. She also makes the seemingly impossible workload easy. Russo is really open to student opinions in terms of workload, and she does her best to accomodate everyone. Her classroom environment is very laid back and fun. All in all, she's a gem!
I do not agree with all the negative reviews about Aguilar. Fine, if you want an easy A then go to a state school and don't take a challenging professor. However, if you want to improve your writing and learn a great deal then she's the professor for you. She was exceedingly knowledable about EVERYTHING. Her lectures were interesting because they often went wherever the students lead them. She is a very tough grader of your work, and it will not be uncommon to get a B or B- on some of your responses. However, at the end of the semester she seems to take a lot of other factors into consideration. I received pretty much straight B+'s on responses (a few A-'s and B's) and B on the midterm. However, I went to every class and finished with an A-. As for approachability, she is very friendly. I went to her office hours several times and she was always willing to discuss your work, and with most students would even up your grade 1/3 of a letter grade on an assignment if you went to see her.
Let me keep this as short as possible: Prof. Conde is a very lovely teacher who has a great sense of humor and who expects her students to be just as engaged in the material as is she. Class discussions were always very thorough..especially if you had done all the reading..(which you should do, because everything is well worth your time!). True, she assigns a lot of reading, and true, you should be willing to put a lot of effort into your essays. But above all, take this class if you genuinely want to learn something about Latin America that goes beyond a history or literature course.
As others have said, she knows everything obscure and is tirelessly intellectual, but this is in fact one of the biggest reasons why her class is intolerable. She makes far-flung references with every breath, and she doesn't do it for her students' benefit (unless making them annoyed and feel inferior/stupid is part of her teaching strategy). She's not friendly, not approachable, not even bordering on nice, but perpetually makes you feel inadequate and gives you the grades to reflect it (and she admits that they're very subjective). As for the class itself, it's got such scope that most material is just glossed over, such as contemporary political topics. Readings are ample but usually interesting.
I took this class in the summer. There was a ton of reading and a significant amount of essays, but Chela is amazing! She made me love this course! She knows everything you could possibly want to know surrounding Latin American Lit. She has a good personality and isn't someone who is just there to say what she has to say and leave. She listens to you- no question is a dumb question. You can't get an A in this class unless you do the reading. If you re looking for an interesting Major Cultures class, take this class with this prof!
What a great class! Daniel is the kind of teacher we can all hope for: light hearted, funny, smart and really enjoys teaching. He really interacted with all of us and wanted to have fun in class. I learned a lot and the readings were wonderful (most of them). I recommend him to anybody and EVERYBODY!