This class in general is structured (regardless of prof) so the readings largely teach you what you need to know. In general, class with Prof Booz did not provide too much additional information besides having lots of visuals to go with the things you learned about (read: ppts with pictures). Prof Booz liked to focus on specific types of artifacts and harp on them for multiple classes. In general, most of the content you needed came from the reading, with a few additional things that he found particularly important being emphasized in the lecture. Assessments (midterm, final) were open note, making it really quite easy if you put in the effort. The writing assignment (object biography) I think is actually really great as long as you pick an object that you love. It's probably my favorite essay I've written at Columbia (senior). Overall, I'd say I had a good time in this class in that it was not a ton of work (esp if you already know the general outline of Chinese history), but it is not necessarily specific to Prof Booz's teaching.
Her lectures are really repetitive and super slow. In other words, boring class! I had to use other resources to engage myself in the course material (edX online courses instructed by Harvard professors helped me a lot). Her midterm is unfair: she didn't tell us the structure of the midterm and most of us had to guess how to prepare for it. Everyone was super confused: we missed many points on the midterm. Its not worth 4 points! Don't take it! Don't waste your time.
Horrible grading scale and organization. 92 gets you a B+ while A is for 97+. Keep in mind all the assignments are in writing formats and susceptible to subjective biases. There is too much variation among TAs' standards: in one section, one can receive 100 points on the midterm, which includes essays, and in the other a standard A of the same midterm essay only translates into 93 numerical points. Students do not deserve bad grades due to administrative pettiness. The professor is overall nice and approachable, if not a little arrogant throughout. TAs would staff several lectures (5 or 6 total) which are, unfortunately, of various qualities. They filter out selective historic events to support a certain biased argument about a particular era, which is quite unnecessary for a history class that is supposed to present facts and not to direct how students think. I would not recommend this professor.
Professor Kuzuoglu's Intro to China class was very engaging and I always looked forward to what twist he would bring to Chinese history. From rap videos to recipes, his lectures were always interesting and fun. Beyond just sheerly presenting the information, Professor K brought his analysis and knowledge of primary sources and other texts to the class. If you are looking to fulfill requirements, interesting in China, or an EALAC major, I would highly recommend taking this class with him!
Professor Kuzuoglu is undoubtedly the best professor I have encountered in my time at Columbia. He is enthusiastic about teaching and always presents the lecture in a fun and engaging way. I have always look forward to every single one of his lessons.
LECTURES: Professor Li is a great lecturer. His lectures are concise yet thorough. In the beginning of class he writes key terms on the board. Learn these terms and you should be set for the exams. One thing to note about the lecture is that his accent can be hard to understand at times thus sitting in the front of the room is helpful. PAPERS: The first paper is a text-analysis type paper. It's roughly ~5 pages and is worth 10% of your grade. The second paper is a short research paper roughly ~9 pages and is worth 15% of your grade. For both papers, you're given ample time and a list of suggestions of topic. However, bewary: the first paper deadline falls very close to the date of the midterm. Do not procrastinate on the paper or studying for the midterm as having to do both in one day is not fun. Overall the grading of the paper was pretty strict. I worked pretty hard and still ended up with a B. EXAMS: 3 sections on each exam: Multiple choice/fill in the blanks, key term ID (usually the terms written in the beginning of each class), and an essay. The essay is usually a hefty 60% of your grade so do well on this. The Key term ID's are also a good way to get points. The best way to say everything they want is to ask yourself: who, what, when, where, why. I think they liked it when I specifically stated out the significance of the term. PARTICIPATION: Each week there is a recitation and a weekly post due. The weekly post is usually about the questions the professor uploads on courseworks but there is usually lots of freedom as to what you can talk about. Attend recitation and talk. Ask questions. That's what it's there for. If you don't just sit there like a log then I'm pretty sure this part of the grade is in the bag. READINGS: Oh god the readings. There are a lot of boring, repetitive readings. I won't lie, I didn't do a lot of them. However, whats important is to read over the certain texts Professor Li mentions in class before the midterm just so you get some ideas rolling around in your head. Chances are that they will a. appear on the exams, b. will be talked about during recitation. tl;dr? Pay attention in class. Plan ahead for the papers. Be smart about the readings. You'll be fine. Would recommend to anyone remotely interested in east asian civilization and looking to fulfill a global core requirement.
This is a wonderful class! As many of the previous posts indicated, there is A LOT of information to learn in this course. Although it is advisable to keep up with the reading, there will definitely be weeks when you're like "f**k this ish" (shout out to my pre-med crew). BUT you should make up for this by attending class and reading your classmates posts before you go to class discussion to at least know what is going on that week. Also, take good notes, it'll save you in the long run!! Good luck :D
Awesome professor and pretty awesome class. Professor Pitkin is very interested in what her students have to say and is super knowledgable about Chinese civilization. Her slides provide a nice visual addition to the course. You really learn a lot from her class about Confucius and Buddhism. The course is reading heavy but the trick is knowing what to skim. The midterm, essay, and final were all graded very fairly. This is the class to take if you are looking for an introductory East Asian course.
**Disclaimer: As an EALAC major, I had no choice but to take this class. The material gave me a solid foundation in my region of study, and for that I am grateful. However, Swartz read straight from her notes in lecture. By which I mean, she was nice enough to send out her lecture notes before the final (not the midterm unfortunately) and the lecture notes included "Today I would like to talk about...." and the like. Which was disappointing. However, she speaks Chinese, and so does not butcher Chinese names. If you can keep up to her in lecture (learn to type really fast) you barely need any other resources to pass the exams. However, her lectures move blazingly fast, so I would recommend doing the reading so that what she says isn't total gibberish to you. I had that experience during a couple of lectures. Learn the terms she provides very very well, learn the dynasty timeline like the back of your hand, and get to know the overarching themes of China's history well (of which there aren't many), and the exams shouldn't be a problem.
I took this class for the Global Core requirement thinking, oh, what great reviews on CULPA and such an interesting subject, it can't be bad right? Well, if you're interested in the subject, stay away. If you're looking for an easy A, stay away. If you're interested in the subject, take a more specific class. Yes it is an introductory class that covers thousands of years in history, but the professor spits out facts so fast its easy to miss the overall picture and parts of the history, only stopping to ask students incredibly stupid questions that no one answers because it's that obvious. God forbid you miss a class since there's no way to catch up on what you missed. In fact, once the professor was absent and a TA lectured instead. I don't think anyone to this day understood what he was suppose to be talking about. Speaking of the TAs, the discussion section was entirely pointless and a waste of time. In addition, my TA never responded to emails, was often late to class, missed appointments/meetings, and talked about her students in Chinese in front of them (not a good idea when 80% of the class understands Chinese). The worst part: the grading. If you took this class looking for an easy A, don't be fooled by the fact it is an introductory course. The medium grade on the midterm was a B- with no curve. Grading on the midterm was completely subjective, especially the essay portion. Neither the professor nor the TAs mentioned what they were looking for in the essay questions, which were very broad and general. In addition, to receive somewhat full credit on the IDs, you had to have almost every detail mentioned by the professor/book about the term or you'd lose points, which is hard to do considering on the study guide, the professor listed more than 4 pages worth of terms, single spaced. Oh and the essays, completely subjective too. I cited something from the textbook in an essay, apparently the textbook was incorrect, and points were deducted.
Professor Pitkin is definitely knowledgeable and passionate about Chinese civilization and this course was a satisfactory introduction class but not a life-changing experience. The course chronologically covers over 3,000 years of civilization in 3 months, but no worries: the final is not cumulative. The lectures tend to get boring and the readings cover all that the professor is explaining. In fact, professor Pitkin has so much knowledge or interest in one specific topic (like Buddhism) that she tends to focus on that one thing for over thirty minutes... until it gets pretty irrelevant to the rest of the lecture. But if you get lazy to do all of the reading assignments, you better attend lecture. Weekly discussion sections are mandatory and you have to write a two paragraph response on the readings (the questions are posted every week on Courseworks). The primary source and field trip assignment papers seemed pretty daunting, since the professor gave no clear instruction or clues of what she wanted us to do. But the TAs (or at least mine, Myra Sun) was really approachable and helpful during office hours and graded fairly.
As some of the other reviews have mentioned, this course suffers from intrinsic flaws such as the amount of history covered in one semester. The information is vast, but keeping good notes will save you as the tests cover only what was spoken about in class. That said, readings are important to prep for lectures, particularly to become familiar with the Chinese names of people and places so you arent ten words behind trying to figure out what he said. Watch out for the midterm...minimal information is given as to what to focus on specifically. The TA's become helpful here in sorting out which dates to remember and which primary sources to read thoroughly. The final is very similar to the midterm, but both are heavily weighted on the essays, so be prepared to write three single spaced pages about the big topics. Professor Li is a great professor- of the best Ive had at Columbia. Very knowledgeable and approachable and truly cares about the material and the students. Definitely sit up front if you want to hear everything he says as his volume does fluctuate and almost drops out at points. Can get an A by putting in just a bit of extra effort; can get away with not doing all the reading provided you have good notes. I knew nothing about China going in and have acquired a serious amount of knowledge, which feels nice compared with how you walk away from some other classes.
I agree with some of the past reviews about Prof. Li being a well-organized and dedicated lecturer. He moves quickly, his accent is a little heavy at times, and he undulates the volume of his voice throughout his lecture, at times speaking very inaudibly, so sometimes he is hard to follow, but he has a sense of humor and is very approachable and eager about helping his students understand the history of China. However, I also agree with past reviews that the class agenda is exceedingly ambitious, and, to me, impractical. Though Prof. Li puts a lot into his lectures, he cannot sum up each dynasty and all the social, political, and economic events within it in 2 1-hour classes each week. It is too much to try to cover 4000 years in 14 weeks (but I must admit that Prof. Li makes an outstanding effort). Also, the grading is a little unbalanced, and to me, unfair. The bulk of your grade (65%) depends on the midterm and the final, which themselves place the bulk of the grade in one area, so be sure you pay attention to everything said in class and read the readings thoroughly. Although the majority of the information won't be on the exams, the part that is will expect in-depth knowledge of that content.
This was a great survey class of Chinese history from ancient to modern times. Because Chinese history is long, the class moves very fast, so we don't have time to delve into specific dynasties in great details. Nevertheless, it's not a mere history class. She also introduces the relevant philosophical and literary developments specific to each time period. Professor Swartz is very knowledgeable, and her lectures are clear and organized. Be sure to take good notes, since her exams draw directly from her lectures. I enjoyed her lectures because not only can she pronounce the Chinese names right, but also because she presents the material in a coherent and exciting way. Listening to her lecture totally beats just reading the history book. I definitely recommend this class for anyone interested in getting an overview of Chinese history.
Professor Li is one of the most dedicated teachers and organized teachers I've ever seen. He puts a LOT into his lectures, which are interspersed with maps and images, and personally reads and comments on students' weekly posts (mind you: this is a large lecture class). Very responsive to e-mails and research questions. The class itself, however, suffers from some existential flaws: covering all of Chinese history in one semester is a mammoth undertaking. You'll cover a dynasty a week and barely scratch the surface. Take the professor, but think hard before taking the class.
Prof. Li was my favorite teacher last semester - he is an amazing lecturer and fair grader. I can't believe how much history I've learnt over the past few months. He clearly structures each class to make everything clear and comprehensible. It can get overwhelming at times but we have discussion sections to sort out any problems. Hands down best lecturer ever.
The class covers a lot of history in a short time, but it is interesting. I wish it had been a little more interactive though, as every single class was a lecture with little participation opportunities. She is definitely knowledgeable. The TA session was helpful, but often silent as no one participated. It is a fairly good, although not easy way to fulfill your major cultures.
Where do I begin? I took this class Spring 06 because I wanted to learn more about my own culture. I was hesitant to take this course because of the previous reviews on her.. but holy cow can CULPA be deceiving. Professor Denecke was not only regularly available to speak to you on the subject, but she was always just so nice and helpful! She really knows her stuff and she tries to give you a full 360 view on Chinese culture by incorporating primary documents--other professors could careless and just throw facts at you, but not Professor Denecke! They already spoke about cutting some reading out, so don't panic. Readings are assigned, but you will find out which are important and which you can just skim. Sure, I had to make this class the focus of my semester but it's because Chinese civilization began soo long ago, so of course it's a lot of stuff you have to know. You have weekly recitations so be sure that you have a good T.A--it'll help. I highly recommend taking Intro to East Asian Civ: China with Professor Denecke!
Horrible! Don't take for major cultures. Boring and stupid. Totally unorganized and harder than it should be considering you learn nothing. They force you to bs by not teaching you anything and then grade you poorly for it. Avoid at all costs
His lectures are very condensed (not his fault, since the class covers thousands of years of history in one semester), but his sense of humour really adds some life to it. The lecture is basically just history, and the readings are mostly primary sources. Sometimes they just seem ridiculously irrelevant (translating Chinese can be hard, but sometimes the translates are just plain bad). It's hard to truly appreciate the primary works, especially if they require a large amount of background. Readings are excessively long, but it is not necessary to read everything. Of the two books of primary sources used, Ebrey and Mair, it seemed everyone pretty much just read Ebrey. The class was mediocre, but the professor made it more enjoyable.
The class really isn't too bad, but it's not that great either. I didn't jive very well with Schoenbaum's lecture style. For the most part, he stands at the podium and reads his lecture, inserting random (and sometimes hilarious) comments here and there, while everybody else copies what he says. It was fine, I learned what he said, but it just wasn't that great--I was usually thinking about how much my hand hurt from all the writing instead of the material. Some people brought laptops to type instead of pen and paper. As for the actual class, there was a real split between what was said in lecture and what was assigned for reading. Schoenbaum give the history and context in lecture but the reading was all primary sources. There was really a big gap between the lecture and reading because nobody tried to make any connections between the two. It's a fine class, but I would have to disagree with all the other reviewers that say Schoenbaum is amazing--he is just ok.
Andy is awesome! His quirky humor always keeps the class moving along, and his extensive knowledge of China makes the class interesting. While his lectures can usually be found in the book, it is still worth going just to hear his take on the subjects. Also, he doesn't mind being asked questions, and will always look up the answer if he doesn't already know it.
Professor Schonebaum just began teaching this course in the fall of 2004, and began with little organization and speaking skills. However, he quickly gained footing and covered not only vast but interesting material in his lectures. He is amusing, for he sticks in funny historical anecdotes here and there in his lecture, or makes his own comments which bring the material alive or at least gives you a chuckle or two. Your grade basically depends on your TA, however. Seminars meet once a week for fifty minutes to an hour. This class covers from ancient China to modern day cultures and politics, and is worth taking.
Schonebaum is a funny, weird person. This is his first time teaching this course. In the beginning, his lectures were disorganized and he would skip over a lot of material because he didn't think it was that great. I didn't like it how he did not write things on the board because he would sometimes talk very fast and I would get lost. But overall, he has a great sense of humor and he made Chinese history very interesting. As he says, remember to stick to traditional characters because they're the coolest. I'm glad I took this course because he made it enjoyable and it was a breeze.
It's Professor Schonebaum now, congrats to him, and he teaches the course he apparently once ran sections for. What reviewers said about him is still pretty much true; the course is pretty easy work-wise, and it sometimes seems like he doesn't want to be there anymore than the students do. Since this is his first time teaching, it took him a while to develop his style. At first, he would stand at the podium reading his notes, skipping over major sections of them because he didn't want to just read to the class or make Chinese history seem too straightforwardly simple (that and show pictures of Chinese artifacts). The class actually got better in some ways when he decided to read verbatim once in a while (we got more information, at least). The curriculum doesn't really demand that you go to lecture though. Most of it was based on two books that weren't required for the semester, but are really really valuable. Once in a while I could swear he was quoting them verbatim, but at any rate they cover a lot of material. The other thing is, while the course is easy, Prof isn't excited about teaching it. Some of the stuff he gets really into, but at first I was really disappointed when he would skip over things and gloss them over. Professor Schonebaum is fun, accessible, and good with responding to questions, but he probably won't convince anyone to switch majors to EALAC.
Great Class. Two hours a week. One thing to know. Let Professor Rossabi talk and talk and talk. As he talks, you must take dilligent notes. He does not use notes or a guide, and instead comes into class knowing exactly what he wants to say over the next two hours. there are weekly readings which are completely unnecessary should one take careful notes. the key to this class is regurgitating facts and names that he divulged in class back into your exams, the more you remember the higher your grade. also, he is nice, reachable via email, and thoroughly brilliants. he speaks just about any language youcan think of, and knows more about Mongolia than anyone born outside of Mongolia. expect a few weeks off here and there because he often travels to Asia duringthe semester. also, the take home final will free up your study-load during reading week :)
Prof Lean is usually well-organized: she posts her lecture outline online before each class, and displays it on the projector as well. Her lectures usually reflect the ideas of the main textbook reading, a little of the supplemental texts, and occasional outside sources, with special emphasis on themes she will probably ask about on the midterm and final, and occasional outside material. While not especially unique in her views, she does a good job in conveying the information. What makes the course truly worth taking, however, are the required readings. Lean chooses the course's texts with an intelligent and discriminating eye: the readings are always enlightening, varied, and interesting. The load is heavy, but worth the time. I can say with all honesty that I feel I have a good understanding of Chinese culture because of it. In terrms of the workload... Each of the two papers has questions similar to those posed for discussion sections. Since the prof limits your sources to the required (and discussed, sometimes even during lecture) readings, it is not too difficult. The midterm and finals covered the 'big' themes covered in class, which Lean herself warns, so it's relatively easy to predict what will be asked. I would definitely recommend this class.
Extremely nice, knowledgeable, if a bit forgetful old man. He may not know when class is held or how many kids he has, but he definitely knows East Asian history. The class is run as a seminar, a bit disorganized at times, but an overall very interesting experience. There's a lot of reading per class, but it's not necessary to do it all--just read the Brief History. It's probably more important to remember how to spell his name correctly for your quizzes/papers, so you don't incur any point deduction.
Trust me, this class is a joke. The lectures are very unorganized and boring. You will feel like you are in your HS history class so literally you get bored all the time. It is just a waste of time. The reading assignment, honestly, is way too much for an Intro class. (Plus, it never reflects the lectures.) Also you will have trouble understanding her English since her accent is pretty damn heavy.
This class just isn't great. While it's admittedly difficult to cram 500 years of Chinese history into one semester, the class should have run more smoothly than it did. Her lecturing style (even her pronounciation) was condescending, even for a columbia prof. The paper assignments, midterms and finals were confusingly vague, yet still graded rather harshly. I am an ealac major, and this class frustrated and bored me more than any other. To be fair, it got better as the term went along. However, its just not worth it. There's a lot more out there, don't waste your time.
The reviewers who claimed that Prof. Lean's course is a waste of time are pretentious. The class provides a clear and organized overview of Chinese History, and the 5-10 min review she does in the beginning of each class makes the material very understandable and makes studying much easier. In a class of 100, when she would ask admittedly basic questions merely to make sure that the material from the day before was clear, students would roll their eyes and mutter that the review was unecessary, yet, by not answering her questions they were merely prolonging the wait for new material! Prof. Lean is nice, approachable, funny, and very knowledgable about Chinese History. The TA discussions were a total waste of time, but I liked the textbook and the lectures. A teacher should not be condemned because she makes the material easy to grasp; she should be praised.
Prof. Lean is certainly very knowledgeable about the subject matter of the class and expects a lot from her students. If you are looking for an easy major cultures class that you can breeze through, this isn't it. Weekly discussion sections necessitates that you do at least some of the reading, and papers and exams though not very difficult, are also not easy.
HE's GREAT! Very organized lectures and when he teaches you can tell that he is VERY passionate about the subject and teaching. He's very approachable and he's great with emails. If you go to class and the review sections, I cannot forsee you doing poorly in his class. An A range grade is definitely attainable. He's GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Professor Li is a diligent, caring professor who puts exorbitant effort into lecturing his classes and aiding students in understanding the material. This class is an introductory class in Chinese history and civilization, so the workload, although fair and manageable, was appropriate. Professor Li prepares every lecture with painstaking effort, trying desperately and often successfully to overcome the language barrier that encumbers so many non-native professors. But aside from the somewhat thick accent, Professor Li makes his lectures generally very enjoyable and understandable, and any confusion will be cleared up if you ask him a question after class or e-mail him. He is very prompt about responding to students' questions and concerns. Generally, this class was very enjoyable and hopefully sparked some interest in East Asian studies in some students, although many are just taking it for the MC requirement. Kudos to Professor Li; any accolades he receives he has earned.
Andy is nothing short of an awesome TA. If you can work his discussion section into your schedule then absolutely do it. He knows his shit and is really helpful reviewing anything that was unclear in the lecture, and he's actually quite funny. Additionally he really doesn't want to be there much either, so once the questions are through, the discussion section will probably end (at least towards the end of the semester). He's also wants his discussion section to have higher grades than any of the others, which means he gives really solid tips on the exams, which is always a plus.
What a great teacher! Prof. Li is a very enthusiastic professor who cares a lot about both his students and the subject. You can totally feel his excitement when he lectures, especially when it's about ancient Chinese archaeology. Email him one question and he'll return a 3-page detailed reply along with URLs, book names, and other information in case you want to find out more about the matter on your own. He speaks English with an accent, which may take a lecture or two to get used to, but generally it's not a problem. In fact, if you know the context (i.e. you don't sleep in class), a few missed words here and there are not a problem at all. I highly recommend Prof. Li for any class. (A sidenote that's not related to the professor but to the class: there's usually a large number of freshmen who are there just for the MC requirement and care nothing about the material, such as the other "reviewer" who recommends the course because it's easy. their inane chatting during class and recitations and do-only-as-much-as-needed-for-the-A attitude can be extremely annoying. Notice there's no comma between "freshmen who" above; I don't mean all freshmen are like that, nor only freshmen can be like that. But most of the annoying people are freshmen. If you're one of them, please consider improving your attitude towards your education. What a waste it is to come here and make a numeric average your goal in life.)
Prof. Hymes is definately a knowledgeable professor who knows his stuff extremely well. His lectures are to the point, sometimes peppered with amusing remarks, but overall the same, which can get monotonous. However, he gives way too much reading each week, and though you soon learn to do the bare minimum (or just not do it at all), you find out for the midterm and the final that you'll need to read at least something. Discussion sessions are required and lacking, though it depends on your TA and the other students. Overall a pretty good class that can get dry.
I took this class to fulfill the first half of my major cultures requirement. It's overall mediocre. Prof. Hymes is a really nice guy who definitely knows his stuff, but when it comes down to it...this class is filled with alot of dry history. There's sooooo much reading. If you dont do the reading, discussion sections and lecture can be confusing and boring. The reading, most of it, is pretty relevant on the exams. Be prepared for alot of work.
This is a great class to take for your MC requirement. Very little work (readings not strictly necessary, but assigned in case you're interested) but he still goes through the material enough that you can learn it. The discussion section was ultra-boring, but if you go to every one and post to the board weekly (any old crap your brain vomits is fine) it boosts your grade, because most people are too lazy.
This teacher has received rave reviews, but for some reason, I really didn't enjoy his class. I found his lectures for the most part boring and spent most of the time spacing out in class. This class is not particularly hard, just boring, which can make it hard to do as well as you want. I do that Hymes is a great person though. He really cares about his students.
Professor Hymes is brilliant and enthusiastic; he's so genial and unassuming that it's easy to forget how much he knows and how much work he puts into preparing his lectures and his extensive and very helpful web materials. There are two drawbacks to this class: one, the reading load is murderous, and two, there is an incredible amount of information to learn, much of it dry history. With some creativity and skimming, you can get away with reading considerably less than he asks, but don't take this class if you're not willing to stomach almost six thousand years of "and then Emperor X took over the north, and then this tribe took over the north, and then this river shifted, and then these people revolted..." My discussion section was largely a waste of time, but you really don't need the TAs' help. Professor Hymes is incredibly accessible and will often write a long, informative, interesting, detailed response to a student's e-mailed question and then send it to everyone in the class.
Professor Hymes is an excellent professor. He organizes his lectures so that you can follow them easily without boredom. He has a way of conveying large amounts of information effortlessly. He is tremendously helpful with any question, often giving back 4 or 5 paragraphs in response to any questions you ask him. Highly reccomended.
This is a great class. The professor is extremely friendly, the TAs are all very encouraging...Although there's A LOT of reading and the amount of information in the lectures can overwhelm you sometimes, it's a good way to get a general overview of Chinese history and culture. Also, Professor Hymes puts a lot of work into the class website, with pictures, readings, paintings, etc, so they can really help you to gain a further understanding of the topics discussed in class. If you have any questions about anything, Hymes will always respond in a kind manner. He's just really great!!