V2630 Islam

Jan 2017

I won't rehash all the things that have been said about Professor Haider in much detail. There is a lot of work, and sometimes the readings can be repetitive. Every week you have to write a blog post, and he grades them on a scale of quarter points up to 10.0, but in reality you will likely never get above a 9.5. My average over the semester was probably between and 9.0 and a 9.25, and I got an A. So don't worry too much because he will curve it. He is very exacting, sometimes almost to a fault. He can seem to be blind to the fact that his own criticisms are not ironclad. Absolutely make sure you meet with him early in the semester during his office hours. He appreciates getting to know his students. As has been said, he's very old school. He is intimidating in his comments, exacting in his standards, and demanding in his expectations for independent thought. Tips: try to tie in outside sources that relate in an unexpected but thoughtful way. Prepare for a lot of reading, and be judicious in what you read and how closely. Don't be afraid to challenge his views, but know how to back it up and anticipate his criticisms so you can address them on the fly. He truly is a quality over quantity person; he's not just saying that. Overall, I would highly recommend him to someone that can devote the time and energy he requires of you.

Dec 2016

I loved this course. Professor Haider is an incredibly engaging professor, encourages students to think critically, and is very passionate about this subject. Some students think he's mean, but his tough style is what makes him a great professor that keeps class interesting and encourages students to always participate. If you answer a question in class, he will push back and challenge you - be prepared and articulate. The workload is worth it though if you are really interested in learning this subject and just about the world in general. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS COURSE

May 2010

Professor Awn's course was extremely delightful. He shines as a beacon of subject-matter expertise and pedagogical genius. What sets him apart from other lecturers is his ability to connect with the students and not take himself or anyone else too seriously. His relaxed matter fosters a relaxed atmosphere in which the material does not feel like work. Some of the lectures were a bit dry, which he acknowledges. The majority of the lectures, however, were delightful to attend and very informative. He does not seem to be an extremely difficult grader, though that guess is mere conjecture. The key to success on the essays seems to be thinking critically about the material and writing coherent sentences with proper grammar and punctuation. No witchcraft here. Another nice part of the course is the reading list provided. For every topic on the syllabus, a list of recommended readings is included. I will be referring back to that list in the years to come to deepen my understanding. Professor Awn's class was a diamond in Columbia's occasional academic rough.

Jan 2000

She's very intelliegent and doesn't waste time trying to sum up Islam as this or that. It's what makes her class so interesting and almost too intellectually challenging--her resistance to an easy answer. Her knowledge is broad and deep. Her lectures can be unorganized, but you do learn a lot from them. Her TAs were the absolute pits my semester, and made attending recitation a chore, as they didn't know the material even a little. I recommend the class though, for it's tough-minded and rigorous. approach to a subject steeped in cant and misrepresentation.

Jan 2000

The man is witty, entertaining, opinionated, and interesting to listen to. He peppers his lectures with fun anecdotes. Despite the large classes, he attempts to personally grade every paper submitted. He's also a nice guy to speak with.

Jan 2000

Peter Awn is a great man, and this class is dope. Whether he sticks to his lesson plan on a given day, or not, is neither here nor there; as his diversions, covering topics ranging from female circumcision to his favorite racist movies, are at least as interesting and educational as anything he planned at the outset. His offbeat background (which I haven't figured out entirely yet, but it appears to contain a stint as a Jesuit priest and frequent experimentation with what he lovingly refers to as "pharmacological delights," among other things) makes even the lectures concerning more mundane subject matter extremely entertaining. Awn uses Islam as a tool for confronting students preconceptions about both that particular religion and religion in general, and forced me to ask myself questions that I would never have thought of on my own. The TA session was a total waste of my time and Awn's paper topics are vague and very difficult to mold into anything of value, but if you can slog through that stuff this is a gem of a class.

Jan 2000

Hands down the cheeziest lectures ever! The lectures are her time under the spotlight. She loves the attention, and uses the high to poke fun at dead horses. Orientalists are the enemy, views of Islam are stereotypical. Cliches, slogans make up for her shallow analysis. Her jokes were funny 20 years ago. Anti-feminist-feminist and all kinds of gender-bending exercises. Probably into leather, loves to chastise students--apologies to all other leather friends. Avoid if you want to learn, avoid if you got nothing else to take.

Jan 2000

This is one of the most overrated courses at Columbia. Yes, his lectures were somewhat enjoyable because of his personality but I learned literally almost nothing about Islam from this course. You're supposed to read all these ancient religious texts but without context they're meaningless and difficult to make sense of--and he doesn't really explain them very well. Also, they're unmatched for boredom. You thought the Iliad was boring? Ha. Awn is a very nice man who is funny and entertaining. I remember on the first nice day of weather when I took the class, half the class skipped, and he announced, "The Steps, 1; Me, 0." But that can't compensate for his all-over-the-place, unorganized lectures. If you're someone who likes a little structure in a lecture, you're going to be irritated. In all honesty, there are better ways to fulfill your major cultures requirement and learn about Islam (just not with Saliba's Islamic Civ class--he's like a lunatic).