Theory and Culture

Dec 2019

I found the quality of Professor Hochberg’s teaching and her organization of the course to be subpar; in fact, she was one of the weakest professors I have studied under in my time at Columbia. Professor Hochberg had a clear lack of respect for the time of her students; she was habitually late to class, sometimes beginning the lecture as late as 10 minutes past the official start time. Additionally, the number of readings assigned were disproportionate to the amount of time allotted to the discussion surrounding them (e.g. we were given over 200 pages of Freud to read over the course of two days for one seventy-five-minute lecture), a nod to the lack of respect for the workloads that the students were balancing with their other courses (i.e. the amount of reading assigned made it such that it would be difficult to devote time to other courses). Professor Hochberg might improve the quality of the course by assigning a more manageable amount of readings to enable the students to spend time reading the texts as carefully as they deserve to be read. This would also enable the discussions of the text to be more in-depth, as opposed to the largely surface-level treatment they received in the course. Professor Hochberg was quite disorganized and underprepared for lectures, as evident from the numerous changes to the syllabus throughout the semester (some of which were sent out with only one or two days to catch up on readings from the change) as well as the fact that there was rarely a coherent thread that ran through a lecture and from one lecture to the next. As a student, it was frequently unclear how certain readings related to the larger goal of the course as a requirement for MESAAS. Coming away from the course, I found myself strongly dissuading fellow students from enrolling in the course, largely a testament to the problems listed above.

Jan 2014

Professor Dabashi is clearly more interested in himself than in his students, as a quick glance at his website will make apparent. The readings for Theory and Culture are very interesting. I thought this course could have been as valuable as CC, covering a wide range of canonical texts. I did not anticipate Dabashi's incompetence as a lecturer. He frequently missed class, and on one occasion waltzed in and asked the students what he was supposed to be lecturing about. He is the classic case of a professor caught up in himself and academia, paying little attention to the--what's it called again--real world, which probably explains his obsession with the phrase "fictive imagination." That being said, he is clearly intelligent, and his lectures were occasionally interesting. I just wished he actually focused on the texts instead of rambling about more or less the same thing every class.