Masterpieces of Indian Art & Architecture

Dec 2017

Masterpieces of Indian Art was an excellent class: entirely straightforward, interesting material, with an insanely low workload. Take it for a quick and painless way to fulfill global core! Dehejia is an exceptional, lucid lecturer, and clearly a star in the field. She was associated with pretty much every site we studied in class in one form or the other, as a scholar or curator, and it was fun to hear her personal anecdotes. Class got a little awkward at points when she’d try and get the students to participate at the end of lecture, but that really wasn’t on her. The midterm and writing assignments were extremely upfront, nothing that tries to trip you up, and all material that was highlighted in lecture, as well as the weekly meetings with the TAs. Discussion section with Tara, was one of the highlights of the semester. I’m a senior whose had my fair share of TAs, and I can honestly say she is one of the most talented grad student teachers I’ve ever come across. She is warm, funny, and kind, and incredibly dedicated to the course. She was extremely accommodating with office hours, organized, and clearly worked her butt of to make sure we all understood the material. She obviously loves to teach, and her enthusiasm for the subject made the discussion sections all the more stimulating. I wouldn’t say she’s the easiest grader, she tends to be a little critical on papers and push you to perform to the best of your abilities, but I do expect to land up with an A- in the class, at the very least. I 100% recommend taking this class, and Tara’s section if you get the chance! Like so many other reviewers note, you won’t regret it.

Jan 2014

Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture (AHUM V3342) was a good class with a manageable work load and somewhat interesting course content. Take it if you need a Global Core which isn't too heavy, yet you still want to learn something sort of neat. Dehejia is a good lecturer who is concise and straight forward in identifying important characteristics and theories about Indian architecture and paintings. She covers Buddhist, Hindu, Mughal, British and contemporary art in India over the course of the semester. The first half of the course has a lot of religion in it since it shapes the architecture of the period. The class isn't very interactive and pretty much just involves her putting up a PowerPoint presentation and talking about the art in the slides. It's very important that you take good notes on everything she says since it will be on the test. For the most part, the TAs were responsible for this class, not Dehejia. In addition to the lecture, we had hour long discussion sections on Mondays (make sure this fits in your schedule, they're not flexible with the timings) about the topics covered in class and the readings for the week. Arathi Menon was my TA and will be teaching this class in the future I hear. She is nice, but strict and expects her students to actively take part in discussions and do the readings - no BS will help you here. The TAs graded both the exams and the papers. Grading on exams wasn't bad, it's not too hard to get an A. However, paper grading was pretty harsh - very few people got As. The requirements to do well in this class are very straight forward. If you put in the required effort, you should do fine. Expect to do about 50 pages of reading a week. The reading is not too dense and is very similar to what's covered in class, so if you do after the lecture, it's not that bad. Exams ask for definitions and slide descriptions and essays. Slides of art and architecture seen in class are put up. You have to identify the site/piece, date and talk about the theories from the readings and class about it. The exams were mostly verbal diarrhea requiring you to just spill whatever information you memorized about the work. Your hand will definitely ache by the time you're done writing the tests. On the bright side, it's pretty easy to spew various facts on the slides she puts up. To do well on the exams, you must do the readings and pay attention to important points brought up by Dehejia and the TAs in class. I advise summarizing the readings as soon as you do them so you don't have to read them again right before the exam. If you're really lazy, you can manage to do all the readings about 2 days before the exam, but be warned, many of the books are on reserve at Avery, so you might not get the book at the last minute. Dehejia covers most of the important theories in class. Pay attention to those in particular and look for them in the readings. Note them down as points, and make sure you mention them in your exam responses. Everything else is extra material which isn't as important. All in all, this is a pretty decent class to fulfill the Global Core requirement. If you're an engineer, this is a good class. No vague BS nonsense, just straight forward facts. It's a guaranteed A if you do what is expected of you, which isn't much: about 2-3 hours of effort a week on average.

Dec 2013

This is coming from a math major who took this class as a global core not knowing what to expect and trying something completely outside of my comfort zone. Who knew I would elect to take another art class outside of art humanities? And let me tell you, it was damn well the best decision that I ever made. From the first lecture I knew that I found my global core class - her power points are so well put together, and the class is so interestingly organized - we started with Buddhism art, Hindu art, Islamic art, then Modern art. It was such a fantastic way to set up the class and I learned so much than I ever thought about these interesting religions. She is by far the best lecturer I've ever had, speaking very clearly and connected (actually this isn't saying much considering I'm from the math dept, but still). Also the work load is very manageable - low, even.

May 2012

This is a lecture class but very discussion oriented. The first half of the course covers the art & architecture of major sites such as the Sanchi stupas, Ajanta, Elephanta, and Khajuraho. I would say that the material gets more interesting after spring break when the Islamic and Colonial periods are covered -- you are exposed to many more readings that have a critical stance/different viewpoint on particular Indian "masterpieces" such as the Taj Mahal. Mughal miniature paintings are delightful to look at. I also especially enjoyed the post-colonial/modern period and interpreting the ways that India is portrayed as a country. The trip to the Rubin Museum was the icing on top. Professor Kaligotla is incredibly helpful both during and outside of class, always willing to answer questions and meet up if you have any special concerns about your paper/midterm. At first I was worried because she seemed like a really harsh grader, but if you demonstrate that you want to improve and make the extra efforts to participate actively in class, then she will recognize that. I knew next to nothing about Indian culture before joining the class, and I came out of it with a broad and solid understanding of India's artistic past and present. A highly recommended course for anyone interested in exploring art historical topics outside of the Western realm.

Jul 2005

Professor Dehejia is a very good instructor who clearly knows her subject about as well as anyone in the world. She lectures well, she is friendly when students ask questions, and she gives reasonable assignments and middle of the road exams that don't require an undue amount of memorization for an art history class. You can do well in this class if you pick two of the three: show up at every class and take good notes, then go back over the excellent course web pages and match your notes to the slides shown there -- they're almost all there -- OR do not just the reading from the pretty, but lightweight, main textbook but also the more serious academic papers from the course reader too - OR go to the TAs review sessions and cram, cram, cram all the IDs so you never get one wrong. If you're willing to do all three, you will do very well and learn a lot, too. Before I came to Columbia I was a Bacherlor of Fine Arts candidate (in the visual arts) at another university. Let me just sum this up by saying that if you don't like taking art history with Professor Dehejia, I could recommend a few instructors to you who would make you *beg* to go back to this class instead! The TAs seem to do most of the grading, but they are well managed and seem quite consistent. No real complaints there either.

Jan 2005

You will not regret taking this course. There is no BS here. Everything is straight forward. The subject is quite interesting. If you know nothing about the subject, you will be pleasantly surprised. Prof. Dehejia is extremely knowledgeable and approachable.

Dec 2002

If you don't want your GPA to plummet, if you don't want to sit pointlessly in a lecture where you'll know as much about Indian art as when you started (absolutely nothing), if you don't want to be taught by someone who makes your life miserable, then don't take this course!! Save yourself!! She takes points off for putting the correct answers in exams and papers, and seems to have a policy of giving hard workers a C or D. It was a horrible mistake. Please avoid it.

Nov 2002

Excellent! She's a winner. Her lectures are both informative and allow for dialogue in a class of 40: ask questions as she likes it and you'll learn more. For GSers dreading that Art Hum requirement - THIS IS THE WAY TO GO! Made herself readily available for assitance with readings and assignments, and in general a very approachable professor.