course
V2202 Introduction to Historical Sociology

Dec 2008

Karen Barkey is one of the few truly great teachers in the sociology department. Both her Political and Historical Sociology courses are excellent. She does not deliver brilliant, pre-planned lectures, and often she will pursue tangents related to current events, politics and world affairs, but these are almost always interesting and insightful. More importantly, behind the Turkish accent she is a very serious scholar who really truly cares about her students. Writing papers and doing research in her classes is a great way to explore your interests as she will be supportive of almost any project or interest, but she will always add in her own perspective as a historical sociologist. If you are a sociology, political science, or history major Barkey's courses are must-takes. She is a wonderful professor and teacher, and one of the few professors at Columbia who is always willing to take time for her students and really take the seriously.

Dec 2002

All I have to say is, "What?!?!" Can a professor really be this amazing? KB gets two sociological thumbs up. Maybe I'm just a soc major, but her class is insanely good, even for those interested in history. Fuck that. Even for those interested in living life. She is amazing. I can't stress this enough. Although there is a 10 and a 20 page paper, if you go to class, it's not really difficult. The first class may scare you away, but stay. After about 4 classes she opens up and BAM! She gets ya. Her lectures are captivating, her syllabus is very well structures, the readings are very well-chosen and informative, and hell she even gets her husband (Poli Sci prof. Richard Marx) to teach the class on his book (which is unbelievably good, by the way). All I can say is take this class. And if you go to her office hours...wait. I hate those kids who go to every professor's office hours. I am not one of them. But if you ever visit one professor, VISIT KB. She loves talking to you and it will increase your participation grade like whoa.

Nov 2001

I agree with the other poster that Professor Barkey is a rare gem. She really does care a lot about her students and about what she teaches. The course is rather methodology focused but it's certainly not a huge flaw. Though the reading can be a little much at times, at least it's fairly interesting.

Nov 2001

Prof. Barkey is wonderful. She is brilliant, first of all. But what makes her class so good is that she is a charismatic, funny, passionate, and careful instructor. The course I took was an intro class. At times I felt like it was too heavily focused on methodology and lacked enough discussion of the case studies that we were reading. However, even the methodology lectures are interesting simply because Prof. Barkey cares so deeply about the subject. There is lots of room for you to study what grabs you. One short paper is a book review and analysis. You get to choose the book from the semester's syllabus, meaning that you can choose when to write your paper according to what fits your schedule or which book interests you the most. For the research paper, you choose your own topic from whatever you are most interested in. Prof. Barkey encouraged me to choose a topic that I had some background knowledge in so that I didn't drown myself in extra reading. Office hours with Prof. Barkey are great. She's very flexible, and always excited to hear questions, comments, and new ideas. Highly recommended. It is so nice to find a professor who loves their job and can share their passion for the subject with their students.