What is American Studies?

Aug 2017

I agree that Manu wants you to question and see the world differently, but I would also argue that he only wants you to do that if that different way of thinking is his way of thinking. I was frustrated with the idea of people taking the class and not taking it seriously because it is an easy A, but I found myself doing that. I ended up not doing most of the readings. I read a few in depth and skimmed a bunch, some were really interesting and educational and a lot were just weird and bull-shitty. Take my word on the readings with a grain of salt, because, as I said, I didn't do most of them. I did take the final project seriously, but I don't blame my group partners (who all took it seriously enough) for not caring so much about it because of the way he grades. It was really easy to say at the beginning of the semester that I would do all the readings despite it not affecting my grade at all because I would find enjoyment out of it, but when I was overwhelmed with everything else, the reading for this class ended up being far down on my list of priorities. Manu often times encouraged us to come to his office hours, which I appreciated, but I didn't feel comfortable going and expressing my differing opinions on subjects he taught. And I am pretty liberal, I just don't see things through tunnel vision thinking one way is the right way to think about things. I love his philosophies about education, but I felt that he spent more time talking about how important it is for us to question things than actually creating an environment for us to question things. If you see things in a very liberal way, want to criticize America, great, take this class. I found that taking notes during his lecture kept me engaged, and the lectures were interesting, but they really felt simple, repetitive, and lacking depth.

Apr 2017

I'll make it short: Take this class. Your grade is completely in your control. If you don't leave with a solid A you should be disappointed in yourself. If you show up to every class and discussion section and then simply complete every assignment you get an A. That. Is. It. The material is also very interesting. He calls out the sins of our country and touches on material that is "edgy" or "controversial". And since the grade is in your control, you feel free to focus on learning and asking question rather than remembering and regurgitating information. It is very easy to just slack off and do the bare minimum and get nothing out of this class but I found myself very engaged in the material. Some of the readings are also interesting and worthy of at least a skim. Not many gimmies at Columbia but this is one