Absolutely wonderful and enlightening course. Great readings that even though you can get away with not doing you'll want to.
One word: awesome. Barnard got it totally right hiring her (now let's see if they can actually hold on to her). Her seminars are interesting, and she makes class discussions comfortable and engaging. Even better, I have never met a professor more helpful and approachable in office hours. (Added bonus: she is extremely down-to-earth...she's got all the brains minus the academic ego.) She takes a sincere interest in her students, and it shows both in and outside of class. Take a class with her, you won't regret it.
I completely disagree with the other review written about this colloquium. TAKE THIS COURSE! This class, like all other Thad classes, was intellectually stimulating, engaging, and the highlight of my week. Although Prof. Russell is certainly a liberal, he makes his views clear from the get-go and not only welcomes his students to argue his theories, but seems to thrive on the challenge. He makes a genuine effort to make sure that each and every one of his students does well in the class and really grasps the material. That being said, the readings, while mostly very interesting, can be very repetitive and tend to drag on. As good as the course was, it is as much a factor of who else is in the class as it is effected by the professor. Overall, the colloquium was by far one of the best courses IÂ’ve ever taken at Barnard and made me proud to be an American Studies major.
I feel I may have learned the most from this class than I have from any other at Barnard/Columbia. Russell helped explain the extremely difficult and dry readings from Marx, Foucault, and Gramsci into something palpable and relatable to our lives. Eminem was a current running through our class that we kept coming back to in light of our discussion about race, class, and discipline. This class covered such diverse and interesting topics as slavery; the struggle of black and working women to gain autonomy in an oppressive workplace in the 20th century; zoot suit riots; blackface; and wwii film propaganda (to name just a few!!). I liked Russell's teaching because he really challenges students' arguments, and makes themdefend and take responsibility for their opinions, and tries to let students with opposing points of view argue it out. He really makes you think creatively and thoroughly. I highly, highly recommend this course. It is meant for American Studies majors, but if you can get yourself in otherwise, I would do it.