Oh God. As a recent Barnard alumna and sociology major, I feel like the best thing I can do to give back to my alma mater is write this review and hopefully prevent another student from ever taking this class. This review only applies to Professor Rieder--other professors have taught this course, and from what I've heard, they have been good lecturers. However, if you are considering taking Professor Rieder's course, STOP now. I took Culture in America during the fall semester of my senior year. As a sociology major, I needed to take just one more sociology course to complete the major requirements . Because I hadn't taken a 2000 level class yet (yes, this devil class is 2000 level, I don't know why), I chose Culture in America. I thought "I'm a sociology major, I've taken like 8 seminars, written 25 page papers,--this whatever lecture will be a breeze!" I was wrong and naive! This class is not sociology- it is a cluster f-ck. I can't give you a lot of detailed info about how difficult the midterm and final were--I don't know because I withdrew (the smartest thing I have ever done, probably). As another reviewer said, I was dazzled by the positive culpa reviews--during his first lecture, he was so eloquent, so smart, etc. Listening to his class is like listening to a lecture in a foreign language you have a vague familiarity with, like you've heard it in a foreign film with sub-titles before or something. It sounds really pretty and you wish you understood what was going on, but you have no idea what is going on. He often threw out crazy terms on the board and never unpacked what they meant. Before taking this class, I didn't even realize you could throw the prefix "neo" onto so many words. He assigned basically a whole book a week, and sometimes wouldn't even discuss the material in class. Also, I can't afford to buy this many books. I can speak confidently that his tests were monsters and made about as much sense as his lectures did. Do with this information what you will. Don't even bother PDF-ing it, because you will have to put more effort into that "C" then you can even understand right now.
TLDR; DON'T Take this class. Withdraw if you already have. Pray if it's too late.