Mazower is a brilliant professor and it's a shame he has only just joined Columbia's history department. His Balkan's class is difficult because it covers such a broad period of time concerning history one has likely never heard before, but don't let that deter you from taking this class. He does a remarkable job weaving the picture together, as well as reminding the student that history is subjective and changing. The class is really great both in the amount of knowlege and information, but also to how this subject applies to understanding history. On the personal side he was just as good: he read over all the TA's grading of his mid-term assignment and was willing to talk to me and my classmates about the paper. I have no doubt his popularity will grow over time.
Legitimately, the other reviews aren't far off the mark in terms of the content of George's section. He comes off as very knowledgeable in general but struggles when it comes to running a focused, concise section. He is extremely approachable, however, and a fair grader. He periodically sent students interesting articles and links just because he thought we'd enjoy them--a very thoughtful person in general.
It amazed me how unproductive a discussion section could actually be--worst scenario the TA may have no clue whats going on but at least the students are interacting with eachother and stimulating discussion! NO NO NO NO not here with Geroge Fiske. He talks the whole time about incoherent nonsense as far as I am concerned without letting a student get ONE SINGLE word in, unless you fight tooth and nail with him.
Pretty terrible. We didn't look once at the outside readings. While this reduced my reading load significantly, I didn't learn much from the discussion section. He talks on and on, and slowly. 50 minutes felt like 3 hours. 95% of what he said had nothing to do with the Balkans at all. Instead he lectured about the concept of what history is and whether or not it is reality and so on. There was very little discussion because he talked all the time and interupted people. Pretty easy grader for papers. Hard grader on map quizzes.
Excellent Professor. One of the best lectures I've had at Columbia. He really knows his stuff and he also did extensive travel to the Balkans. Lectures are very well prepared and easy to follow. He presents in a straightforward manner with som eof his personality mixed in. Excellent course if you have even the slightest interest in the Balkans.
The new hot-shot history professor at Columbia this semester, Prof. Mazower lived up to his reputation. His lectures were consistently engaging, and often included personal anecdotes about his own experiences in the Balkans. The main flaw of the course is that it covers 200 years of history for an area that had TONS of stuff happening. However, given that the Balkans are so seldom taught at all, there is really no way around this for Prof. Mazower. He works with what he is given very well. One comes out feeling like one has a real grasp on the history of the time. He does a good job picking out the most interesting and important points, and manages to impart tons of information without ever going over time (he periodically goes under it) or simply droning on and on. Indeed, he includes a number of interesting anecdotes from history beyond the straight facts that really add some feeling of the personalities of the time. Overall, a great professor.