Religion and Politics

Nov 2011

I am shocked that Professor Barkey does not have a gold nugget. Her classed "religion and politics" and "political sociology" were huge influences on my decision to concentrate in sociology. Bravo Columbia sociology department for finally hiring an accomplished teacher who is not self-obsessed and arrogant, or dull (as is typical of the Political Science department). If you are someone interested in both theory and current events you should take this class because Karen has a great balance between the two, in both the readings and lectures. Her classes are also small lectures, not seminars, but everyone seemed to participate. She new everyones name and by the end of the semester the whole class was engaged in the discussions. Definitely not a lecture class that you think is empty until the final comes around.

Jan 2011

Professor Barkey is really wonderful. She is probably one of the most caring, approachable, and animated teachers I've encountered at Columbia. She encourages students to come see her during office hours despite the fact that she's commuting to Amherst for weekends and a very active academic. The class was very interesting, albeit a tad disjointed with the beginning covering classical sociological theory about religion and the second half covering fundamentalism in the Abrahamic religions. The class got pretty heated over some issues (re: Israel-Palestine; relativism), and the professor - for better or for worse - came down strongly and stated her opinion rather emphatically on said points. The class dynamic was a bit strange (sometimes lecture took the entire class, other times one student would dominate and/or derail the entire conversation), but more often than not, dialogue was fruitful and challenging. Tolga, the TA, was also very willing to help and eager to interject in class.

Dec 2010

Topics in Religion and Politics is a new class that Karen Berkey introduced to the department this year. Barkey is a fantastic teacher. She is passionate about her lessons, and she wants to hear what the students have to say. Most classes begin as lectures and then evolve into class discussions, with a clear demonstration of whether or not you have done the reading, however she does highlight the important parts of the readings at the beginning of each class. She expects a lot from her students- definitely a lot of reading, but because the material is interesting, almost everyone does it for the sake of the conversations. She is willing to talk to you at office her office hours, as well as via email correspondence. She is genuinely interested in what the students have to say, and this class definitely fosters a positive student-teacher relationship, which is great for sociology majors because she is the head of the undergrad sociology department. I would recommend this class to anyone who is interested in political theory, religion, or an engaging class with a fantastic teacher.

Dec 2010

Karen Barkey IS THE BEST. The class itself is very interesting, her lecture is clear and she makes funny comments. She gives you interesting reading, and breaks them down in class so everyone understands what they're reading about. She encourages classroom discussion a lot- in-class performance is 20%. However, you will never feel any pressure speaking out your voice. She does not put any personal comment and review on people's opinion, at any time she shows full respect to your words. Very understanding professor, when she heard some people in our class talking about having many finals and papers due on the same day, she offered us extension without we asking for it. She's very sweet in person, answers all of your question and gives you best help during office hour. As the undergraduate director she helped me in planning my major courses. Our TA, Tolga, is also a wonderful TA. Very helpful, very nice, he works with Prof.Barkey very well, in class he participates in the discussion a lot and his explanation of abstract concepts is always clear. Religion and Politics is a new class, but also the most fascinating class I've ever taken. It is the class that let you really think, I learned alot.