course
Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy (LitHum)

Apr 2021

If you have the opportunity to have Caio as a professor, please please please take his. He's the best. I could not have had a better instructor going into my first year while completely online. Caio was able to make LitHum interesting and engaging for us, even while the entire course had to be done virtually and with most of us never having been on campus at all, which is not something I can say for most of the professors that I had this year. Caio is the most encouraging instructor I've had here, and he gets so excited for and about our participation and contributions to the class. Caio also sends out Google forms very often as well to make sure that the class is going well for everyone and to get our feedback on how to make the course better for us. Overall, he's just an amazing person, amazing instructor, and amazing source to go to for advice.

Apr 2021

JUST TAKE HER SHE'S THE BEST Really helpful and understanding prof! would recommend 100% without a doubt. Very knowledgeable and thoughtful, literally knows EVERYTHING, and passionate to teach. The workload is usual, read the texts, 2 papers, a midterm, and final (Proj for 20-21). Genuine and caring prof which is not something very common, always open to talk and understand their students.

Dec 2020

Really fantastic. Truly understands the classics and provides excellent insight during lecture. No BS kinda guy, which is rare to find in academia.

Dec 2020

How the heck does Arkebauer not have a gold nugget?!?!? If you're in her section of LitHum, you have--to quote another reviewer--won the LH lottery. She is engaging, nice, funny, and makes everything relevant. You don't need to spend much time on the class each week. As long as you keep up with readings, it's easy to contribute to discussions and she creates a comfortable environment (even this year over Zoom). I cannot recommend her enough...she is wonderful. Additionally, I would like to note that you do not need to do a close reading of many texts, but some definitely require you to finish the book. I got away with skipping a few of the novels in favor of sparknotes and still managed to grasp the discussions, but don't do this for all of the books or you WILL get lost. It's worth the work though, as these are classic stories. Best of luck--but if you have Arkebauer, you're probably already pretty lucky :)

Dec 2020

Professor Shinnar is amazing!! If you want to really gain something from the Lithum experience, highly recommend her! She is super understanding and flexible with essay deadlines and has adapted extremely well to online teaching. Her classes are very interesting and largely based on what the students want to discuss. You will definitely learn a lot from her. Since classes switched to being online, she even canceled the midterm :)

Dec 2020

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!

Nov 2020

This review is a little late but I suppose that isn’t a bad thing. Sahar is a sweet if disinterested instructor. The course under her charge was essentially a book club. She was our babysitter. I dropped a previous lit hum course after one day with a long time tenured professor yet remember that one day far more fondly than an entire semester with Sahar. Everyone in the class interpreted the readings from their own life experiences. So GS had terrific interpretations while CC, through no fault of their own, had little to offer as they haven’t lived yet. Particularly loved the combat veterans who brought some very insightful arguments to bear (especially when talking about anything war related aka most classics). This is something I applaud Sahar for doing. I feel as if I knew Sahar all too well as she was essentially a mirror image of my sister who is also a hijab wearing PhD (although a biochemist) with literally the exact same opinions, interests, and demeanor. It’s creepy, they’re mirror images. I have a terrific relationship with this sister... but she isn’t the first person I’d choose to learn biochemistry or literature. Why? Because she, as I imagine Sahar did as well, developed a strong personality to combat the inevitable stigma of being a hijab-wearing woman in America. This is not a personality conducive to teaching. A professor should remain objective. I know the crazy concept in today’s world of academic ideological conformity. (You are not allowed to have certain opinions) What does it matter? This is core. Sahar is not a tough grader. I’d seek someone else if you actually cared to enjoy the course. Sahar is at the end of the day a fine person, with strong opinions, that I would absolutely not take another course with until she got over herself.

Aug 2020

I realized, after my first year at Columbia, that there is only one man outside my family whom I love. And his name is Warren Kluber. He is an absolutely amazing teacher who pours his heart into both the works he teaches — and into teaching itself. You can tell that he really takes the time to pore over the texts and to prepare lessons way ahead of time. Classes are structured so that we explore specific themes and their corresponding passages in the works, allowing us to construct in-depth analyses into language, context, and the whole shebang. He also makes class really interactive and engaging by including fun activities like drawing out the hellscape of Dante's Inferno or writing fragmented poetry   la Sappho, but with your classmates. His fun and caring nature really fostered an environment of camaraderie and enjoyment in the students. Our class grew really close, meeting up outside class for study sessions and even dorm parties. He also really emphasizes the importance of mental health and wellbeing. He is very understanding and encourages seeking support in him or through Columbia professionals trained in mental health support. He allows one unexcused absence per semester, by the way. It is evident that he really takes the time to get to know each and every one of his students, checking in on each person during office hours or before and after class. If there was one piece of advice I could offer to anyone who will be taking Literature Humanities, it would be: Take Warren's class. You will not regret it. I was so against studying literature, especially considering the horrible teachers I've had in the past, but taking his class made me realize that I actually love it.