Seminar in Modern Texts: America in the World

Dec 2010

Fantastic professor who helped make this class one of the best I've taken so far at Columbia. You could tell she put a lot of effort and research into preparing for each class, and it paid off--classroom discussions were rich and stimulating, and I walked away with ideas and insights that were often applicable to other classes or books. She made even challenging authors like Pynchon and Burroughs legible and interesting, and best of all, managed to relate every book to the overall thematic of the class (so many teachers half-ass this crucial aspect, turning English seminars into a book club). My only gripe is that she sometimes got carried away speaking at the beginning of class, sharing her ideas, and didn't leave enough time for us to chip into the discussions. However, this is a minor qualm compared to the rich material that she shared with us. It's also refreshing to take a class from a professor with a non-Western background (she is a native Shanghai-nese)--although she certainly knew her Western canonical references, occasional culture differences made for sometimes funny, sometimes enlightening observations into our own culture.