department
ethnic studies

(Center for Study of Ethnicity and Race)
Feb 2021

Don't take this class. Just don't. I took this course solely because I needed another credit to make the cut-off for a full-time student, and I have never regretted taking a class more than I regret taking this one for a few reasons. First, I feel like I'm learning absolutely nothing. It's almost impossible to keep track of what's going on in the class, it's a struggle to pay attention so much so that I've taken to just painting my nails or playing Mario Kart in class. It's partly because nothing they say makes any sense, but mainly because of my next point. I have a running list of microaggressions I've experienced in this class, including but not limited to: 1) a girl in the class talking about how societal beauty standards are based on white supremacy (true) and one of these professors said something along the lines of "I'd argue that it's not white supremacy, but white subjectivity" which just is blatantly erasing systemic racism; 2) one of the professors asking a student of color if her parents didn't know how to spell because her name is spelled differently than the typical spelling and then proceeding to mispronounce her name in the following class; 3) professors having us read something Paul Levitz himself wrote that described a comic character as "American but perhaps a touch exotic". It's just a bunch of casual racism and ignorant comments about race, gender, sexuality, etc. They seem constantly uncomfortable when topics of racial issues in comics/graphic novels come up, and they clearly just do not know what they're talking about when it comes to marginalized communities throughout the history of comics. It's a terrible class, and these are terrible professors. Hard pass.

Jan 2021

Prof Dauber is definitely very knowledgeable and an interesting person overall. My one point of contention is that he dumbs the conversation down and also uses way too many pop culture references. You end up having a very surface-level discussion of the text. It's a shame because I'm sure that Prof Dauber has so much more to offer! Overall, though, he is a very caring professor and definitely encourages discussion and dissenting opinions (a lot of other professors at Columbia don't).

Jan 2021

Cassie is such a wonderful professor and person. The older reviews are totally right–she does not want her classes to be a point of stress for her students. That means flexible deadlines, conversations about workload, and helpfulness during office hours. This class was a new one in CSER, and it was so enjoyable! We read very foundational texts to studying whiteness, which are only a few decades old. Each student picks an 'object' of observation to study for the whole semester. The essays connect the readings and the object, in whatever way the student sees fit. This is a wonderful way to run the class, because it allows the students to develop a true vested interest in their work, since their object was of their own choosing. Cassie does a great job of fostering a community in the class, even in remote settings. She gives very helpful feedback, and grades based on progress and improvement. My only complaint about this class is that we didn't get any letter grades on any assignment the whole semester. While I appreciate the sentiment about de-emphasizing grades, it did make for a relatively stressful finals period, as I had no real idea where I stood in the class.

Dec 2020

He was outstanding. First, let me say that Professor Dauber (as a Harvard Grad Rhodes Scholar) is way overqualified to teach this course. The guy's a genius and makes his class genuinely interesting. He's also very good at guiding the conversations so that they stay relevant, while not being overly forceful about it. He values any contributions you make in class, likes it when you make connections between texts and appreciates it when you have exact quotes for your references (for example, in The Iliad, Book 4, Line 256, Achilles says "____" and then tie it in to the conversation). Taking this class with him was a pleasure and I absolutely plan to take a class of his in the future. Just know that he'll assign an extra book or two sometimes (he assigned the Histories and The History of the Pelopennisian War for us, which other sections didn't have to do). You don't really have to read the books, but I would recommend doing so (or at the very least reading some of them, so you can make a comment in class and get those participation points). I would recommend getting a list of the LitHum books from a current student and reading them ahead of time over the summer (or at least reading some of them). Also, he said at the beginning of the semester that anyone who did all the work in the class and submitted it on time would get an A-range grade, regardless of the quality of the work (This was COVID-time online classes so this probably isn't normal). 100% recommend.

Oct 2020

Best professor, hands down. She really knows how to talk about art and poetry and performance in a more engaging way than any other professor (or human). The class consists of the most creative projects, which was so fun because we usually spend 30 mins to an hour presenting and discussing people's creative projects in each class. Because of this, the students' work is a class text as much as the book or article we read that week. I got to do some of my favorite projects and essays for this class because she really encourages you to do work on what you're interested in. I absolutely love this woman.