This course was probably the worst that I have taken at Columbia in terms of the teacher's attitude. The readings were interesting some weeks, but the lectures were dry and boring and the grading was quite arbitrary. For example on the midterm I received a 20/45 on the essay portion, although she most likely had not read it (the comments stating I needed to certain address periods that I had dealt with such periods in great detail). I rewrote the essay but did not add more than five words and it suddenly changed to a 43/45, with the comments now being how it was a good essay for addressing all periods relevant to the question. If you are interested in the subject matter, I suggest you Pass/Fail or R the class, as no matter how well you do in your other classes or how much you study, you may be surprised by the final grade you get in this one. However, you really don't get much out of lecture, so it may just be better to do the reading on your own.