If you asked my class to describe prof Franke in one word, we would all say the same thing: KING. I literally love this man and his frickin German accent. He is so understanding. My internet drops 24/7 and he's so nice about it. I've forgotten to do discussion posts a couple times, and both occasions he let me do them after they were supposed to be due. I'm also really impressed with how engaging he makes a two-hour class. The structure is kind of complicated, but I just go where I'm told and everything works out great. It's a mix of small group work and bigger group discussions, with a break in the middle. It's kind of amazing that I when I press that "join meeting" button I'm not overcome with dread at the imminence of having to sit on Zoom for two straight hours. I went from not doing the readings at the start of the semester (oops) to doing all of them by the end because I wanted to get more out of class. If you get him for lithum, you're lucky!
Professor Martzavou is a great lithum professor! She likes to read in class and we definitely spend more time on each book than the syllabus says. Fall semester we had one essay, a midterm, a project, and a final but all of it was definitely manageable. She grades pretty easily but does not give much feedback. She likes to facilitate discussions so there's a lot of talking in class and if you don't speak at all, she might call on you but she's never mean.
Tiana is super chill and very flexible. She's a pretty easy grader and overall she makes lithum bearable. But if you actually want to learn or get something valuable out of lithum and want a "challenge" she's not the prof for it. Class discussions are really boring because it's basically just her calling on people in the class. So I guess it depends on who's in your class and whether they make it engaging. But if you want a pretty chill lithum class with not very heavy work she's good.
Best. Professor. Ever. A great facilitator of in class discussions, and really moderate with workload. Super understanding. Everything you picture what a college prof should be
I really, really love Prof. Murray! Keep in mind that I do love reading and English, so maybe the review will be biased, but Prof. Murray makes the facilitated conversations about the class incredibly interesting. She's a very understanding professor—I did take this class during online covid times, and I know she adjusted the workload accordingly because of how stressful the world was. My understanding is that during a normal year there would be more essays and assignments, but I don't get the impression that it would be undoable. Essentially, she just is very supportive of the class thinking about the text, she wants us to share, she wants us to listen to one another. It's a great, great class. Even though we were taking the class on zoom, pretty much everyone had their videos every day. I think most of us were happy to participate!
not that I need to say this but Zach was GREAT!! such a nice guy, makes the class interesting and he's really chill and helpful. He's an ok grader, he won't be easy on you at first but he'll give you enough to get u to achieve an A. His feedback is really great and he's generally super easy going and understanding. TAKE HIS CLASS IF U CAN!! A is very manageable.
She is so chill, so kind and so funny! Each class is discussion-based, and she doesn't force anyone to contribute. And yes, we did watch some music videos (including some Kanye West, I believe we were reading the Bible) one or two classes. We also watched movie trailers for core-relevant movies. I am so glad I got her as my LitHum prof and my core prof for my freshman year. Her class is definitely an enjoyable memory, considering how everything went down because of covid...
Okay, it took me a long time to get around to writing this review, and I've had mixed feelings about this class for a long time, but the bottom line is NASSIME IS ONE OF IF NOT THE BEST TEACHING GRADUATE STUDENTS AT COLUMBIA. I was initially turned off from her class by the intense requirement for real discussion and also her proclivity for what I'll call "School of Resentment" critiques of Western culture and literature, ie. from the lenses of marginalized minorities, and taking many class discussions into the realm of identity politics. However, I see after completing the class that this is firstly a massively important lens of interpretation to have a handle over and that the methods of close reading, structural analysis, etc that were taught in the class through these critiques are totally indispensable in the humanities. I think her best quote from that class, that I will probably misquote and recycle for the rest of my life was something along the lines of this: "This class should not just teach you the texts, or the interpretations. It is my hope that after you leave this class or even this school that you are able to enter into any room and any conversation, and able to understand and seize control of the narrative there fluidly." Also, just an awesome and loving teacher cares a lot about her students but is unafraid to challenge students in discussion occasionally if she thinks you can take it.
Professor Ullah is a kind, creative, and interesting individual. That being said, she often seemed unprepared for our class sessions and grading took forever. This was quite frustrating. We spent a lot of time reading out loud in class what we were supposed to have already read to prepare. This felt like a time-filler.
Professor Franke genuinely cares about his students and will relate the concepts in Lithum to contemporary issues. He is very understanding and engages the class as much as possible. He's a very chill guy, and he teaches the course extremely well. He is always excited to teach, and this enthusiasm rubs off on all his students.
My first semester Lithum professor took a sabbatical so I only had Eisenbach for second semester. He was running for Public Advocate of New York while teaching our class. Showed up late and cancelled all the time. Would assign legit whole books in between Monday and Wednesday, and then spend 30 minutes playing clips of his debates. If you're midterm answers weren't the exact wording he was looking for, or you didn't reference the quote he thought most pertinent in an open ended question, you didn't get points. Not available for meetings. We did not receive a syllabus nor any paper assignments. The assignment was "write the paper I've never read before." Like cmon. On the other hand, if you don't plan on putting much effort into a class, and don't mind when your teacher speaks over you constantly, I think most people walked out of this class with at least a B+. He is really smart and he is a super engaging lecturer and I did learn a lot from him--just not a space for open discussion, and certainly not a fair grader.
Caio is SUCH a great instructor. If you make the effort to speak up a few different times in class, do the work, and communicate with him then his class is a great one to be in. He is extremely understanding and sympathetic to personal hardship or struggles, and he is genuinely concerned for his students' wellbeing and does all he can to make his class manageable but still challenging enough. He takes a lot of class surveys to gauge the opinions of the class and try to meet the needs of as many as possible. His classes were engaging and the approaches that he takes to each book emphasized the similarities and differences between each installment in the LitHum syllabus. If you can get into Caio's LitHum section, do it!!
Warren is the BEST! He is so nice, asks really thought-provoking questions, and provides great feedback on essays. He is extremely kind, and can also be really funny. Our whole class had an amazing dynamic this year, and I think one of the reasons we all got along is because we all loved Warren and he did a great job of creating a classroom dynamic where everyone felt really comfortable. He does a lot of group work in class where we will do things like write character charts, or write poems inspired by Sappho, or draw a map of the underworld, so the course is so much more engaging than a lot of other Lithum classes where people just talk about the reading for 2 hours. We still discuss the works obviously, but splitting up class discussions with more creative projects is A) helpful for engaging with the text in a more exciting way and B) really fun. I made some of my best friends in this Lithum class, and I don't think it would have been as possible if it had been taught by a different professor, just because of how great Warren is at balancing having fun in a class while still learning a ton and eventually being able to have pretentious conversations at cocktail parties about the classics because that's really what Lithum is all about anyway. Also, he was my only professor this year to include a whole section in his syllabus dedicated to mental health and how he wants to support his students, and I think that's a great testament to how kind and thoughtful he is. TL;DR: TAKE LITHUM WITH WARREN, BEST DECISION YOU'LL MAKE!
Professor Ullah is an absolute sweetheart. (Watch her Ted Talk for a sense of her disposition.) She structures lithum such that it is always pleasant and easy. If you're looking to be challenged and improve your understanding of these texts/writing, perhaps consider another professor. If you prefer to glide through this course happily and without stress, though, her section is for you. Her readings are standard except that she often adds great texts absent from the Core (think: The Autobiography of Malcolm X). Besides readings, she assigns two-three short essays, which are graded generously; a simple midterm; an exam; and a few for-completion study guides, quizzes, and contributions to our class playlist. You can get extra credit by, for example, helping her with her plays (yes, she's a playwrite)! Attendance and participation in trips like museum visits, lunches at her favorite restaurants, office hours, city tours, and plays can also factor into your grade. She is super-accessible and understanding. If you need an extension, you'll get it. If you skip a few readings, you'll be okay. If you just put in decent effort, you'll still get an A.
Professor Tommasino is a fantastic LitHum professor! He fostered a warm class dynamic and encouraged students to engage in rigorous discussion while providing open-ended questions or points to push us along. He is very caring and easygoing (Exhibit A: "You are all perfect the way you are." Exhibit B: "LitHum is not meant to be a stressful experience, so please let me know if you need anything.") and the workload is not bad at all (2-3 essays a term, midterm, final with extra credit.) He also allows laptops in class.
Will is the best! He is super understanding when it comes to extensions, not being able to read everything in time for class, and when you're dealing with any real world issues. Although I was rarely able to complete the reading for each class (procrastination/I'm a slow reader), I always had opportunities to participate and still had something to say when we did small group discussions. Unlike some people in the class, I'd never read any texts on the syllabus, but Will managed to instruct in a way that I did not feel left out or behind in discussion. Our class was pretty laid back mainly because of the tone he set. For our second semester, he added discussion posts to our syllabus (only 6 throughout the semester). But since he's young and flexible, he allowed any posts ranging from creating a meme relative to the text, writing about a Netflix show/song, etc. He also taught the class in an amazing way and made sure we got a full gist of important themes/ideas that would be covered on the midterm and final. He acknowledged things that other teachers might avoid (rape/sexual assault, violence, misogyny). He allows flexibility in interpretations of different texts, whereas many of my high school teachers would assume their interpretation was the right interpretation. Overall, just the kindest, most reasonably challenging, and helpful teacher from my freshman year.
i was waiting to receive my grade from last sem before writing this review, and just got it this morning. so here we go. i feel like i should mention grades were due on January 2nd and it's currently the morning of January 30th, and my GPA has just been tanked, so im a little heated. At the same time though, I feel like the laziness and disorganization that brought about my grade being nearly a month late is the most important thing you need to know about him. this man is the only professor ive ever had who has been lazier than i am. and i mean that. mans literally promised us our grades by the next class, then canceled that class because of the "flu", just to do the same thing the next week. to be fair, prof mann's a pretty nice guy. always free for office hours and will genuinely work with u to develop your ideas. lectures can be unbelievably boring tho, and class is a lot less interactive than some other lit hum sections. it's basically just him talking for 2 hours straight as you try your hardest not to doze off (especially because class is at 8am). another thing-- you will have absolutely no idea how u did in the class until the end of the year. Im not sure how he usually grades, but last semester it went something like this: 3 in class passage id quizzes 1 textual analysis (like 2 pages) 2 longer essays (1400-1900 words) final THATS IT. THATS ALL WE WERE GRADED ON. no homework or anything else (besides reading). so like, if u dont like doing much work, then yeah this is a good class for u if u know how to write a good essay. unfortunately, not my forte. as for these grades, I did okay on the quizzes (never did the reading), got a check plus on the textual analysis, did decent on the first essay and thats all i got back until my final grade just now. so u basically have no idea how ur doing in the class bc he wont rlly give u feedback (im sure he would if i had gone to OH but id rather not fall asleep to the sound of his voice while meeting with him 1 on 1, and im sure that would happen because it's basically become an instinctual response by now). TLDR: prof doesn't give much work and is a really truly nice guy, but lectures are boring, he will likely email at 6am on the day of class telling you to bring a book you forgot you had, grade everything 3 weeks late, use made up illnesses or family emergencies as excuses for aforementioned late grading at least twice per semester (we're on to you prof...) and has the audacity to tank your GPA nearly a month after u thought it was stable. 6.5/10 + 1 for the fire fits = 7.5/10
Tim is the GOAT. Great LitHum professor, very passionate about the books and encourages discussion. Doesn't lecture all that much but always poses interesting questions about the text in order to revive a dying discussion. Lots of group activities and things of that nature which is nice for a class like LitHum. Very reasonable grader, can be kind of tough on essays but very helpful during one on one conferences. Provides interesting context and background for a lot of books that we read, but also focuses a lot of our discussion on how these books relate to broader, more contemporary issues. The reading can be a lot but he sends out parts to focus on which is helpful and lets you otherwise generally skim the books. The workload will be comprable to other lithum classes but I can say I definitely gained a lot from his class and how he chose to approach the books we read. If you do the work, you'll likely score in the B+ to A range.
His discussions were thought-provoking and prepared us well for the final. Midterm only had passage IDs from class discussion so it wasn't too bad. He also gave a lot of opportunities for extra credit. I'd say that he does have high expectations and, as a result, is a little harsh on grading. But overall a really nice guy and would recommend taking lithum with him.
he's a really good professor. Engaging in class discussions and pretty chill but not at all boring.
I'm shocked at the (lengthy) negative reviews about her. I absolutely loved Zanou for lit hum. I'm writing this at 3am in the middle of writing my paper for CC, and damn, I really miss her class. My CC class is okay, but our discussions in lit hum were much more interesting, and while my CC teacher has a much more student only led discussion approach, I preferred how Zanou would let us discuss a topic/theme and then synthesize the discussion with her ideas. I genuinely found her ideas so interesting and relevant. For example, she connected nostalgia themes in our books and connected it to how nostalgia plays similar roles in the experience of refugees in our current political climate. I also appreciated seeing the play adaption of antigone and how the creators connected themes from a Greek tragedy to police brutality in Ferguson. Maybe it's my tendency to idolize English teachers, but I will honestly carry our discussions with me. I was prepared to hate the core (and still do in principle), but she made Lit Hum my most interesting and important class.
If you're a STEM student don't take this class! Eliza is a super inconsiderate Professor who doesn't care a bit about any problems you have. As a freshman, I found this class incredibly stressful and just wanted to kill myself because of her.