Dr. Moya is a funny engaging professor. His course is basically a lecture based course where he goes over the powerpoints until the class time runs out. During his lectures he will have tangents that exemplify Latin American politics, social structure, and mainly culture (UNESCO world heritage sites). His lectures can be dry at the details/years/history- as a pre-med I found economics portion to be difficult to understand. He is very well receiving in office hours and clarifies many doubts you may have in the course. That said, the TA I had Schwartz was hard. He does do his best to keep the discussions going but overall the TA was a very hard grader. So discussions are huge portion of this class (20%) and basically they go over readings for the week. Mind you that the readings are almost never tested on the exam- even if they are, they would be very broad concept to make sure you have done the reading. So, my only regret is that the discussion sections should have a review on the lectures covered that week/previous week. The TA grades the essays harsh- I mean literally the max he gave for the essays (25%) was an A- because he "doesn't believe in As." I don't know how he graded the discussion class in general but generally everyone did well in A-range. Now the elephant in the room. The multiple choice based midterm and final....... The midterm is (25%) and is 100 Multiple choice exam with a LOT of "not/except" questions. The multiple choice are designed such that you get most of them right upper 70s/100. However, you are under time crunch- and getting in the 80s needs a lot of preparation. The MC test a lot of general concepts and most are word-for-word from the powerpoint- in graphs/legends/bullet points. However, the "which of the following not/except" questions take time and they will determine your grade. The average was a 73. So he gave 7 pts to curve the midterm to 80. The final (30%) average was 80%. The final also had an essay as well - which he said 4/5 would be given and we write on one. But was generous enough to put all of the prompts and told us to write one. So he tends to make the average 80% for both midterm/final. The course average is curved I believe to a B. So getting an A is not difficult. You are not competing with your peers, because grades are predetermined - A (93%), A- (90%)... etc. But preparing for the multiple choice is really hard- I got an A- in the class and I memorized all the slides. Key details do get tested (not years but names of all revolutionary heroes etc) as well the tangents that are not in the powerpoint!! Overall the class is difficult and do NOT go into the class with the expectation I'm going to do the readings and not attend the lecture and get an A. I believe this is the reason why students get stuck in the B-range grades because the exams test material that he goes on tangents about. Bottom line come to class and take good notes! Lastly, he does offer extra credit and it is worth doing them because they are forum migration lectures from professors from renown universities. They are simply inspiring to say the least! Would I take this class again? Yes! The professor is phenomenal and the course will shake your predetermined suppositions about Latin America as a backward country!! Essay-(5-7 pages) (25%) Midterm (100 MC) (25%) Final (70 MC) (30%) Discussion Participation (20%)
A great overview of contemporary Latin American history. Special attention to South America (good or bad, depending on your perspective), but Milanich also makes an effort to delve into some more obscure topics that are generally overshadowed by Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Milanich is very intelligent and thorough--though sometimes comically wordy (you get a lot of "errrrm....illustrative of the countervailing vicissitudes..errmm..". That bothered a lot of folks). She emphasizes social history, so you pay a lot of attention to slavery and gender.
I wanted to write a review for this professor given that she does not yet have a silver nugget. Honestly, I wish we had Professor Milanich teaching at Columbia College. She is professional, poised, and pointed in lecture. I am not even a History major, but this class was my favorite course last semester. Prof. Milanich was always prepared to teach and made Latin American history relevant and fascinating for all, even notifying us of pertinent campus lectures throughout the term. I came into her class expecting to just fulfill a Global Core, but I left with a new idea for interdepartmental research. Do yourself a favor, and take this class.
I completely disagree with the previous reviewer. Professor Milanich is a very organized lecturer and extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter. She's also really nice. The workload was not overbearing at all, and the lectures were interesting. I felt that I learned a lot by the end of the course. One word of caution is that Professor Milanich relies almost exclusively on notes, rather than power-point slides, so if that is something that bothers you, you might want to reconsider taking this course. It doesn't bother me, but I know some people don't like it. Just make sure you come to class and pay attention and you will do more than fine.
This class was one of the worst classes I have taken at Columbia/Barnard. Milanich is obviously knowledgeable in Latin American Studies, particularly Chile, however she is not the greatest lecturer. I felt like I was taking a high school class, especially since there was a map quiz at the beginning of the course. I felt like I was given an extremely vague and basic understanding of the material and learned hardly anything new from what I already knew or could quickly learn from doing a google search. The lecturers were boring, most students barely paid attention or didn't come to class. I found this course harder than it should have been because I was so discouraged. I am very interested in the subject matter because it pertains to my major, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, however I was bored and frustrated by this class because it felt like a waste of time. If you are looking to fill the Global Core requirement take another class, like Professor Pizzigoni's Latin American Civilization I. If you have to take it for your major like I didâ€¦. bring a computer to lecture for entertainment.
started out as a good class - lots of history especially when we covered individual latin america countries' revolutionary wars. but after the first midterm, things went downhill. i expected, at the very least, for prof. moya to cover true history/politics of the last 40/50 years, and at the very least che, castro, and peron. at the very, very least. he didn't cover those, just barely mentioned them. 2nd half ended up being more demographics and statistics than history which was very disappointing.
This is the first Culpa review I write and the following is going to be said because I think the reviews for this class are enormously misleading. For starters, yes, Moya is a very enderaing professor. He is humorous, kind, and always adds interesting anecdotes to his lectures. He is also very informed on the subject matter (as is attested through his book Cousins and Strangers). With that said however, I certainly would not consider him the best lecturer I have had. The class is essentially the professor reading/paraphrazing his lecture notes. When the lecture notes are so easily available online, it becomes difficult to concentrate in class and feel motivated to attend (though I have attended each class to date). A comment on the lecture notes: they are far too detailed. The notes focus on dates, names, and facts as opposed to larger concepts and ideas. This is the only class I have taken in college that has so greatly emphasized what I would consider trivial items. Finally, a comment on the midterm: it was 100 questions of multiple choice that basically asked you for these small details. For a person who has never taken a class on latin america I found it pretty difficult. I also felt all the time I spent studying (and I spent a whole lot of time studying) what I deemed as important concepts had gone to waste.Surprise: the class average was a 75. Most of the reviews on this page state this is an easy and relaxing class. I took this class with these expectations in mind. This will be the first class I pass/fail in all my time here. This was a big mistake.
Why does Professor Moya not have a gold nugget yet? His class was one of the best I've taken at Columbia. If you want to get a good idea of what Professor Moya looks like/acts like, Google "The Most Interesting Man in the World - Dos Equis". It seems that the beer company studied Moya down to the last detail for inspiration: the beard, the exotic accent, the fantastic life story. According to his UCLA bio (he used to teach at UCLA before taking a full professorship at Barnard, although this class is technically a Columbia course), he was born in socialist Cuba, moved to Franco's Spain, then immigrated to the USA, where he worked as a truck driver and janitor before getting his PhD and becoming one of the foremost experts in his field. Moya's knowledge of Latin American history is extensive and his delivery impeccable. In writing the course book - Cousins and Strangers: Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires, 1850-1930, Moya conducted primary research on shipping manifolds, census records, and more creative sources like collections of Spanish plays and poems. This deep knowledge of his subject material is evident in his lectures, which are incredibly entertaining to boot. Last semester, Moya and Barnard College were also hosting the Forum on Migration, in which experts from universities across the globe came to speak and hold discussions with Moya and each other. I am not sure whether he was trying to motivate us to witness the entertaining and edifying discussions or whether he just wanted a good audience for the talks, but Prof. Moya gave us one extra credit point on our final grade for each lecture we attended. It was the most astounding display of extra credit I have ever witnessed - after attending four lectures my grade was raised from a borderline A to an A+. I don't know if extra credit like this is typical for Moya's classes, but I'll take whatever I can get...
I love Moya. He has to be one of the best and funniest professors. He is able to get you excited about the subject by not only telling you things you need to know, but also recounting little anecdotes about historical figures. I thought his lectures were really well organized and he presented in the same manner. I really recommend this class because it is NOT stressful, and it is very interesting. All you have to do is take good notes. You DO NOT have to do the reading. I would even advise against it because you might begin to think you need to know things that you really do not.
Caterina is wonderful! She is new this year from Italy and isn't used to the system so the class was disorganized but her animated and engaging lectures more than make up for having to stakeout on the reading assignments (there are A LOT) on Courseworks. While undoubtedly scatterbrained, Caterina is extremely knowledgeable and knows what she's talking about. Besides, the absentmindedness is endearing rather than an annoyance. Take any class with her if you get the chance. She's very interested in both what she teaches and her students' view.
From day one, our class knew we were in for a ride. Prof Moya started out the first lecture guzzling water from a student's Nalgene bottle, joking about spanish cartoons and a trying to draw maps of south america on the board that didn't really resemble, well, anything. So... he's new, he's quality and he's AWESOME! I promise you, you will never look at history quite the same way after his class. What used to be considered a dull, dry subject comes alive with his jokes, bizzare but hilarious comments, quirks (i.e. his personal obsession with UNESCO world heritage sites) and occasional yet endearing english slip-ups, i.e. "adding salt to injury" instead of "insult to injury", "de-bat" instead of "dee-bate" etc. Only a minor detail though, his english is phenomenal and he has no impeding accent, probably because of the 500 pg book he authored about immigration in argentina. He takes questions in class, ranging from nit-picking pre-law students looking to fufill there "outside their concentration" history class requirement to recommendations about surfing in Puerto Rico (no, seriously). but the class is structured pretty well, so it's pretty much a straightforward lecture. Its so good that most people actually come to every lecture, even though it's a 9am class. my advice is take it, take it, take it!
By far the most wonderful professor I've had in my entire 4 years here at Columbia (actually, 3.5 years). I plan to take BOTH of his classes next semester...even if it means waking up at 9am to do. He's worth it. For a native Spanish speaker, his command of the English language is UNBELIEVABLE. He speaks English better than anyone I know. TAKE HIS CLASS IF YOU CAN!!! We're so lucky to have stolen him from UCLA. Apparently, he's famous there, so make his trip to the east coast worthwhile. Show him how grateful we are to have him by taking his class. You won't be sorry.
I would hardly call Nara brilliant. However, she is extremely easy! You can do basically nothing in this class and get by. The trick is to come to class with a laptop comp and write down everything she says. then paste your notes into the study guide which has terms and essay questions. they come directly from the lectures. all you have to do is regurgitate. Aparently there is some textbook for this class but its not too necessary if u go to lectures. unless you have lecture notes ur pretty screwed. she is by no means brilliant but if you do the work you are pretty much guarenteed an a-. I would take her again because shes pretty easy. Definitely take Thom as a TA if you can because he is awesome!
This class made me understand why people have such steroetypes about Barnard. Milanich was not well-versed in the subject matter, and often looked to her TAs to remind her of the correct dates and occurances. She is wholly disinterested in the needs of students (for example, a stickler about exam dates), yet allowed absolute people in the class to ask dumb questions. Come to think of it, Milanich herself posed "What are hunter- gatherers?" to the class. We took a quiz that required us to fill in the nations of South America, for crying out loud. It was worse than high school, and I can't believe I paid to take this crap.
Ignore the previous two reviews. This class is unbelievably dry. Piccato is a nice enough guy, and he has a decent sense of humor, but his lectures are hopelessly unorganized and students spend most of the class time just trying to copy down the powerpoint slides before he jumps to another unrelated subject. The readings are manageable, if unnecessary. TAs grade everything both strictly and arbitrarily. Plus, pretty much any problem in Latin America over the last two centuries was blamed exclusively on America, with contrary opinions being shot down in the discussion sections (both by the TA and by fellow students). Take any other class instead, preferably something without such a ridiculously broad focus.
This was probably my favorite class this semester. Pablo is, admittedly, not the most engaging lecturer, but I think he got much better as the semester went on. He is incredibly approachable, charming and obviously very passionate about the subject. He's also adorable - in the way that a puppy is. He does a very good job of covering the material (I found his powerpoint slides to be pretty comprehensive, contrary to what other people here have said). Covering 200 years of history for one and a half continents is not a task necessarily easily done. The TA's (mine anyway) expected a lot from you, but were incredibly approachable and understanding about late work, etc. The readings varied in quality from ENTHRALLING to dry and unbearable, but they were a minor part of the class for me. Overall, this was my favorite class this semester, and I always found it a pleasure to go to class. I highly recommend it.
Don't pay attention to the previous reviews--the department revamped the course and now it's completely different compared to what it was last year. Piccato is a PAINFULLY boring lecturer, his powerpoint slides are bad enough to put even the most avid student to sleep. His lectures are unorganized, uninteresting, and did I say boring? The material is fairly interesting, but Piccato presents it in the MOST UNINTERESTING manner possible. You discuss the same aspects for every country and you have trouble while studying trying to keep each country straight. And unfortunately, there's no textbook, so if you skip class often (which you definitely should do, I regretted going to most of the classes in semester), you need to get notes from someone else. The TAs are tough graders despite the fact that the assignments for the book reports aren't difficult--nearly all grades in this class are in the B/C range. Pray that you get an easy TA.
Prof. Piccato prepared interesting, organized lectures that grew better as we delved father and farther into the 20th century (apezed around the Cuban Revolution, which is saying SOMETHING). However, the terribly chosen class time, the ugly, sterile room, and the rude students at the back of the classroom made the okay experience of being in this course much more unpleasant. He is a good lecturer who is able to present the overall historical picture. However, the TA's are terrible (this broad class should definetely have a weekly recitation) and the readings (what few we had) are not enough to fill in the blanks that his survey course lectures leave gapping. Should you take the course? Yes--if you are interested in the subject.... Piccato's class could be super if he had more readings, particularly a course text book or general history, weekly discussion sections, and if he used more cool lecture add-ons like music and pictures. On second thougt, skip this course, quickly brief yourself in modern latin America through Skidmore's classic survey, and take a Piccato seminar!
Lots of bitching in these reviews, but most of it is unfounded. Pablo does indeed attempt to cram a HUGE amount of information into his lectures, but there is a tradeoff because he doesn't require you to do a lot of outside readings or go to sections like almost all major cultures classes. I'll conceed that he is not the most animated lecturer, but he got better as the semester went along (even cracked a few jokes). He is extremely thematic in his lectures, which helps because you can ignore dates and picky details (they won't be on the tests) and focus on the big picture. I'll be honest and say that this is a pretty outstanding way to get through the major cultures requirement, consisting of both low work and low expectations (I could tell on the first day of class that it had a good reputation based on the number of overgrown jocks that had decided to take the class together). All and all go for it. If you can string together a decent CC paper you will get both an A in this class, as well as a general understanding of Latin American Civilization. Cheers Pablo!
This may possibly be the most boring class I have taken at Columbia. Professor Piccato definately knows his stuff but its hard to concentrate on his lectures because they tend to be unorganized. The only saving grace is the power point slides he puts up that give you an idea of what he is talking about. Still its hard to follow along because he tends to jump around a little bit and you soon get tired of trying to write down every little thing he says. The TA's aren't much better either. They want a critical interpretation of the books you have to read but its hard to do because they really don't make it quite clear on what exactly what they want. All in all, I suggest taking a different class if you are trying to finish off the major cultures requirement. However, Professor Piccato is a very nice person and very responsive to students questions.