course
colloquium

Dec 2007

Prof. Hamilton warns you on the first day that his version of the Junior Colloquium will be tougher than the others, and this was indeed true. The reading was heavier, it seemed like we wrote more essays, and we had a midterm unlike other colloquiums. That said, class discussions veered off the topic of the reading to a great extent, and Prof. Hamilton would talk at length at certain points, so doing the reading did not really matter. The essays, it seems, were graded fairly to easily, in that if you put at least some effort into them, you'll do well (though you won't know this for at least a month after handing in the essay because he is an unnecessarily slow grader). And the midterm - you have to read a book so chock full of information about the Middle Ages that there is no possible way to know it all. Prof. Hamilton's grading of the midterm seemed to stem from the idea that you wouldn't get any answer right, so many people do exceedingly well. Prof. Hamilton is very intelligent, willing to talk about ideas with students, and really seemed to want to give us a well-rounded view of the Renaissance. It was clear our class was not top priority, and while this was irritating at times, the class itself doesn't seem to serve a great point, so the entire experience becomes somewhat ridiculous that you get through it and it's fine and hopefully you learned something.

Mar 2007

I have to agree with the positive reviews of Ross Hamilton. I'm a graduating senior in Englihs, and I learned more in his class than in any other one I took. There's a huge amount of work, but only after the course is over -- and his insane exams fade like a bad dream -- do you realize how much you learned.

May 2006

Considering that Colloquium is meant to be an enjoyable class, I regret having chosen this section. For one, Professor Mickey focuses much more on form over content, quantity over quality. She likes talkers that take over the class, “postings” (which are actually weekly essays) that follow the format and weave quotes into paragraphs the correct way rather than getting students ideas going. Despite that she cannot clearly explain to you the difference between Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism (something that a instructor of this course should be able to do- I feel she dodged the answer) she likes to fish for answers and is highly opinionated. We wasted a lot of class time discussing our own interpretations, trying to align our answers with hers when she herself did not give us much of the basic information to draw an analysis. Overall I think she missed the point of what colloquium should be about. I can say that it was unfortunate that I chose to take her class.

Sep 2005

I agree with the other review of this course. It was unfulfilling. In fact, it made me skeptical of the English Department at Barnard. Guibbory was friendly in class, but the course was unstructured and students repeatedly handed work in late. It was hard to learn in an environment where students were not questioned in depth on the texts. We read a lot of texts in the course, but few of the texts were ever discussed. The class looked more preoccupied with clock than the texts, and I often wished Guibbory would stop letting students discuss general statements about the text. I left the course wishing she taught us, because it seemed she only listened...and replied "exactly" after each statement.

Aug 2005

Take his class. Hamilton knows everything -- he's got all of Butler in his head. He made me work harder than I've ever worked in an English class, but I left with a real understanding of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Plus he's funny. The downside is a horrible midterm in which you have to memorize a book, plus dates. And there were four research papers. But you won't feel your in high school anymore.

Nov 2004

While Professor Guibbory is a very nice and friendly woman, she does not succeed in structuring discussion in a meaningful, organized way. Colloquium consists of students articulating their opinions about the texts with very little of Prof. Guibbory's own insights and guidance. She is top in her field, but I don't see it in the class room. Students do not seem interested, and so the hour and fifty minutes go by slowly and arduously. Close reading of passages is absent from the class, and so the time is filled with a bunch of vague, unsubstantiated ideas. One of the most unfulfilling classes I've taken at Barnard.

Nov 2002

Yeah, Professor Cooley is a young, intelligent and well-published protege from Johns Hopkins. And if you forget that, he will remind you on a daily basis. His abilities to facilitate a good round-table conversation are really good- which is important for a colloquium. But he gets a bit too into the spirit and really hits you over the head with his opinions rather than focusing on a more balanced conversation mediating. Overall, if you can get over his arrogance and insensitivity, you will have a very stimulating class experience. But this can be a challenge on some days...

Sep 2002

Even if she can be a bit moody, she's worth it. I've never learned so much from a single professor. She's amazing. I wish I'd had more time to see her in office hours, as everyone says that that is when she is at her very best.