Intro to the Study of Hispanic Cultures

Jan 2015

Nicole is friendly and fun, but her class severely lacks depth and any kind of academic enthusiasm/knowledge on her part. If I were to describe her class: it's like that day you have a sub because the professor is sick, but in this case the professor is there. Expect a lot of YouTube clips that vaguely connect to course material, peripheral and superficial conversation of the readings assigned, and small group work on proper teacher-student etiquette (really). The class is not hard nor fulfilling, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone who didn't enjoy sustained boredom and lackluster conversation while trying very hard not to fall asleep.

May 2014

And four for you, Glen Coco!!! Valeria was an absolute star this semester. From the beginning, she said that her goal was for us to be able to talk intimately as a class about things interesting to us about Hispanic Culture, and that's exactly what we did. We went through units on music, film, art, the concept of the nation, etc. The purpose of the class was to become equipped with the tools to properly study Hispanic cultures, while at the same time improving our speaking, reading, and writing classes. Most classes were theme-based around a specific aspect of Spanish culture and the associated readings, but every so often we would have a writing workshop/grammar class. My biggest suggestion would be to participate in class discussion as much as possible! Everyone made mistakes in his or her spoken spanish, but that was not the point- it was the effort. Active engagement earned high grades. There are 3 essays. Each essay cannot exceed 3 pages. You turn in a first copy of the essay which Valeria took the time to correct line-by-line, word-by-word. You would then turn in a second copy the following class based on those VERY detailed corrections. My grades on the first turn in (which needed MANY corrections) ranged 88-94, and the second turn in was a 100 every time (making the corrections she asked me to make). Your grade on each essay is the average of the two versions. An additional final essay took the place of a final exam. This one was about double the length of the previous essays, and we were only able to turn in one copy. It was on a topic of our choice (related in some way to Hispanic cultures). We gave very short essay proposal presentations to the class. Valeria is kind, understanding, and highly intelligent. I ran into a few rough patches personally this semester, and she worked with my every step of the way. I would recommend both this class and Valeria, in particular.

Jan 2012

I think Jessica does a good job at connecting with her students. She seemed quite familiar with the readings for this class (which are determined by the department) and was usually correct in anticipating where we might have trouble with them and discuss those troubles. There is at least one article of reading for every class period and the questions which she prepared to guide us along were extremely helpful. A lot of times we would just divide up into pairs and discuss the texts with her questions as a guideline, and then discuss as a class for the last 20 minutes or so. Almost all of the readings were quite interesting and I thought all the topics covered in this class connected to each other rather well; it was definitely one of my more interesting classes and usually a pleasure to do the work for. Jessica herself is very nice and wants her students to learn; she has fantastic fashion as well. As far as I can tell, she doesn't really make any language mistakes, and whenever someone had a grammar question she was able to answer it. Overall, I'd definitely recommend taking this class with her. My only gripes were that sometimes I felt like her comments on essays could have been a little more extensive. Her grading is definitely fair though.

Apr 2011

If anyone deserves tenure in all of Barnard, and most definitely in the Spanish Department, it is this man. Xavi is an excellent professor, need I say, possibly the best Spanish professor I have had in nearly five years of Spanish classes. He relates material from class to contemporary issues, presents fun videos, and really develops his class in such a carefree and relaxed manner that it is a pleasure to come to class every time. Overall, I thought that he was extremely fair in grading and that his comments on the essays were exceptionally helpful in improving my Spanish writing. Xavi is truly a remarkable teacher, that not only takes great interest in his student's work, but is also very dedicated to the study of Hispanic cultures.

Jan 2011

Terrible course but good guy. The readings kill you they are so dull and the discussions in class are therefore...non existent. Juan tried to make it better but there really is so much you can do with the material given. Don't waste your time with this course. And because this review must be longer (or so CULPA tells me) We all just watched the clock tick by. We had small discussions to go over the text, which mostly included people figuring out what the readings said...oh wait they all said the same thing: that some people were and continue to be oppressed, identity is a complicated thing, and latin america plays some role in the discussion (at least half the texts were translated from english or french to spanish)

Dec 2009

Paloma is a wonderful teacher and you should take her class if you can. She does a great job of engaging students in a discussion. Classes are never boring and go by really quickly because she really varies the structure and subject matter of discussions. While she obviously doesn't have very much experience teaching (she's only a few years older than undergrads), Paloma thinks of creative assignments that get students thinking in different ways, and she provides really constructive feedback. We had to create a portfolio of 2-page assignments, where we would hand them in over the course of the semester and she would give us comments which we would have to incorporate into a final portfolio with all the corrected assignments. While the work for the class wasn't very much or very stressful, it was useful because you could really focus on the mechanics of writing in Spanish. Paloma is a gem, and if you take her class you will learn a lot but not have to deal with an oppressive workload.

Oct 2008

Completely agree with all other reviews, only want to add how much this woman makes you vehemently hate her. I read the reviews of her classes before taking this one and didn't think she could possibly be as bad as the reviewers said, but I was wrong, she is WORSE. Do. Not. Take.

Apr 2008

Lanctot is OK, but the class basically sucks. Almost all of the readings are really long, boring, and difficult. You have to do time-consuming busy work (lengua y redacción), write a 2 page paper every two weeks, which doesn't sound difficult, but it is when you don't understand the readings. Lanctot loves to lecture for at least 10 minutes each class about his own ideas about the readings, which isn't too bad. He never seems to be satisfied with your work, but maybe it's just me. Even when i did spend a long time trying to read the readings, the questions he asked during class discussion were so unlike anything I had read that I had nothing to contribute. There were many classes in which I literally did not speak one word (and I talk a lot.) This class made me feel like I can't speak Spanish, when I know I can pretty well. We spent a least a month talking about such BORING theories of cultural studies, and I really didn't understand the point of a lot of the readings we did. Don't take the class.

Mar 2008

This is the single worst course I have taken in my entire college career. The workload is light and the readings are interesting, but Coco Fusco is probably the worst professor to teach this class. I think this is her first time teaching it. The semester I took it (spring 2008) there were several small sections. Mine had only 7 people, but Prof. Fusco still treated it as though it were a large lecture. She talks too much and doesn't give students a chance to get a word in. She teaches the class with a very set agenda and basically just wants to hear students answer her questions with the answers she already has in mind, and doesn't seem to expect students to participate in the readings at an intellectual level as much as read-and-regurgitate. Accordingly, she's a medium-to-hard grader, and there is only one right answer: hers. If you want to hate yourself, then by all means, take this class with Fusco, if not, then take it with someone else.