Professor is an older German journalist. She’s a sweetheart. The Class had two populations, combat veterans, and teenagers. The professor was woke (or she wouldn’t be employed at Columbia). The vets were not woke. Lots of hurt feelings. Lots of push-back towards the professors woke curriculum. It was awesome watching the vets get the professor to concede to reality.
This seminar is a solid pickup for anyone who has a mild interest in this stuff. It's easy to get away with not doing any of the readings and you only have to participate once or twice (like any other seminar) to get a good participation grade. The discussions are sometimes interesting because who doesn't love talking about hypotheticals that involve national security? Make sure you hand in a draft/outline/something written of your term paper early because just discussing your ideas with her does not mean you actually understand what she wants and could result in a shockingly bad grade. Trust me, I know.
This is one of the best and most manageable Seminars in the department. Professor Nacos is absolutely great in sending e-mails about real-time situations and apply the concepts to them. Even if you have not done the readings through application of the concepts you can learn a lot about this whatever is being discussed. With that said, the readings are really interesting, specially if you are interested in the subject and are very much manageable compared to other classes. Professor Nacos is one of the nicest people you'll encounter in your academic career. She is caring and wants to help you better understand the material. She is willing to read over your paper before its due and gives you insightful comments that can help you write a better paper which will make your final grade better. Overall a great experience to have her as a professor. I would take whatever else class she teaches because she is just amazing.
I couldn't believe this was a seminar. It was definitely the easiest class I've taken at Columbia. Reading is NOT required for an A. You just have to show up to class (Prof. Nacos doesn't take roll frequently) and nod your head at class discussions. Some discussions were interesting and Prof. Nacos is a good moderator. Very balanced. But some overly eager students who watch CNN or Fox News too much say such ill-conceived things that you want to barf. In short: the class is super easy. The professor is nice. What else do you want?
Professor Gottlieb is hands down the best professor I have had at Columbia!! If you ever have a chance to take a class with this man you must not pass it up!! Although a little heavy on the reading, his classes are always stimulating and allow you to discuss current events as they unfold. He incorporates movies, guest lectures, debates and short-memos into the syllabus to keep the course interesting and is an incredibly engaging speaker. He is the reason why I chose to remain a political science major, as most of my other polisci courses were dry and monotonous. It is Columbia's extreme loss that he will be splitting his time with Yale in the future.
Gottlieb's lectures are fun and easy to follow. The lengthy list of readings should not turn you away, because most of them are not long (and I personally think you can do quite well just skimming them). That said, expect a better grade if your essays are informed by the arguments in those readings. Going to class is also rewarded (by 10 rather interesting T/F questions in the final).
If you think that maybe just maybe the U.S. has done something wrong with its foreign policy do not take this class, it will be disturbing. Gottlieb truly excels at congratulating himself for his insight and the U.S. for its impecable role in international relations throughout the semester. In short only take this class if you want to understand why republicans believe it is valid to trample on the rest of the world with the inextinguishable excuse of national security.
Regardless of whether you are a poli sci major/grad student or not, you are CRAZY if you do not take a class with Gottlieb while you are at Columbia. He is the kind of professor that really draws you in from the very first day and gives you an unbelievable experience as a student, but he is also the kind of guy that you would have a blast just hanging out with outside of class. Gottlieb is young, full of energy, brilliant without putting on airs, has really applicable knowledge and experience in the subjects he teaches, and always keeps you hooked. His classes are just the right combination of really interesting factual info, discussion of current events, balance of varying viewpoints (the man can adeptly argue any side of an issue and never lets one opinion on politics, policies, people, or events dominate without keeping everyone on their toes by throwing a solid counter argument out) and, when you are lucky, his famously hilarious and subtly sarcastic side commentary (think John Stewart). He is quite simply unforgettable, and everyone I know who took a class with him in the Fall semester couldn't wait to be in his class again in the Spring semester. I have never learned as much or had my perspectives as opened up in a class, and it was all so painless and exciting. It is a shame that he only teaches 2 classes here, because now after taking them both and really being changed and inspired by them, all my other classes pale in comparison. Don't miss out on this one...
This class was really rewarding. The arguments and the counter arguments presented really elaborated on current issues in U.S. terrorism policy, such as the torture issue and the deliberate intelligence organization that failed to piece together the 9/11 class. Coming into the course, I had no idea what the 9/11 commission had said, nor the real nature of the threat of Al-Qaeda or other organizations. Leaving the class, I felt like I knew about the structure of both the primary terrorist organizations and their developments AND our abilities to counter them. Gottlieb as a professor makes the class very entertaining. he constantly takes questions from the class and the course turns into more of an informed discussion than a pure lecture. By the end of the class, an extremely collegial atmosphere had been established. It's also entertaining because he responds in a humourous manner to dumb questions that ensures future interrgators think more carefully about what they say. I totally agree with the review of the Central issues in Amer. Foreign Policy course. One more thing: the exams questions are some of the best I have had at Columbia: instead of asking the writer to recap information, in the essays you are rewarded for knowing the arguments, but then synthesizing them and coming up with cool ideas. I do not like taking exams, but I actually enjoyed writing these in class essays. The one drawback during the course was that during the group presentations (about terrorist organizations), a lot of the kids had poor presentation skills, so it was difficult to hear and understand their points and made a few presentations tedious. Overall, a really rewarding Poli Sci course that actually provides substance behind what you hear in the news.