professor
Nara Milanich

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Jan 2021

Professor Milanich is great! This class was really fun and interesting. A few positives: - Professor Milanich is very progressive and teaches Latin-American history through a feminist lens. - I found the grading to be super chill - Professor Milanich values depth over breadth, so you spend very little time on the overall history of Latin America and more on really interesting case studies and examples through history - Her TAs (Mariana Katz and Andrei Guadarrama) were super kind and helpful A few negatives - The class is a weird size (like ~35 students) so it's not small enough to function as a tight-knit seminar but too large to be a lecture. We sorta did a combo - Take the course if you're looking for an easy class. Don't take it to be challenged. Although I learned a lot of substance, I wasn't challenged to develop any new skills Solid course! I would definitely recommend it, but wouldn't say you HAVE to take it before you graduate.

Jan 2014

I'm really surprised Nara doesn't have a gold nugget yet. My experience with her this semester was fantastic - Women and Gender in Latin American History is meant to be an advanced history course with a lot of discussion. She does a great job of making sure that while we are reading a lot of difficult material, we understand what is being written about and are able to interpret it and make connections in our own way. She balances lecturing (to provide broader historical context and explain the readings) and discussion (she provides leading questions and we answer them with our own interpretations of the readings) very well. The readings are manageable as long as you are proactive about them. She reserves the right to quiz us on the material -- once a week, she will write a prompt on the board and we have a few minutes to respond to it. They are generally very easy and even if you don't interpret the prompt exactly as you think she wanted you to, the TAs are pretty lenient with grading these as long as you show original thought and understanding of the reading. She is more than generous with assessments. Though she seems to get mixed reviews on grading, preparing for the exams is not too difficult. As long as you do the readings and attend class, the midterm and final are a breeze. She gives you five possible essay questions a week before the exam and you can prepare your responses to them before the test. Then on test day, she will have chosen two of the questions randomly for the test and you have to answer both of them. (You are not allowed to bring any notes to the exam itself.) The expectations for both midterm and final are the same (in terms of length if responses and time). She also provides lots of tips in terms of what she expects in your responses and the TAs are available during office hours to help you finesse outlines or theses. There is an 8 page paper required - she gave us the topics (there was much flexibility - 8 topics with creative options and traditional topics) a month in advance. Overall this was a manageable class in terms of the workload, she is a great teacher, and the material we learned about changed my perspectives on a lot of things. The syllabus is definitely crafted very carefully with attention paid to the colonial period, independence movements, industrial capitalist development, and feminist movements of the 20th century and other 20th century political developments. I found everything very interesting and she definitely considers a lot of perspectives and interpretations of history in her lecturing and articles. This was a great class if you're interested in women, gender, history, and/or Latin America.

Dec 2013

Professor Milanich is wonderful! Her lectures are always interesting and thought provoking. This class was amazing-it starts with Colonization-era gender relations and goes up to current day. The pace is fast and there is a lot of reading. However, the readings are actually pretty interesting and the quick pace is manageable. It should be said that this is not an easy course, but definitely worthwhile! Warning: the TAs tend to be tough graders, but again, totally manageable if you go in to it knowing what to expect.

Sep 2013

A great overview of contemporary Latin American history. Special attention to South America (good or bad, depending on your perspective), but Milanich also makes an effort to delve into some more obscure topics that are generally overshadowed by Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Milanich is very intelligent and thorough--though sometimes comically wordy (you get a lot of "errrrm....illustrative of the countervailing vicissitudes..errmm..". That bothered a lot of folks). She emphasizes social history, so you pay a lot of attention to slavery and gender.

Jul 2013

I wanted to write a review for this professor given that she does not yet have a silver nugget. Honestly, I wish we had Professor Milanich teaching at Columbia College. She is professional, poised, and pointed in lecture. I am not even a History major, but this class was my favorite course last semester. Prof. Milanich was always prepared to teach and made Latin American history relevant and fascinating for all, even notifying us of pertinent campus lectures throughout the term. I came into her class expecting to just fulfill a Global Core, but I left with a new idea for interdepartmental research. Do yourself a favor, and take this class.

May 2013

I completely disagree with the previous reviewer. Professor Milanich is a very organized lecturer and extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter. She's also really nice. The workload was not overbearing at all, and the lectures were interesting. I felt that I learned a lot by the end of the course. One word of caution is that Professor Milanich relies almost exclusively on notes, rather than power-point slides, so if that is something that bothers you, you might want to reconsider taking this course. It doesn't bother me, but I know some people don't like it. Just make sure you come to class and pay attention and you will do more than fine.

May 2013

This class was one of the worst classes I have taken at Columbia/Barnard. Milanich is obviously knowledgeable in Latin American Studies, particularly Chile, however she is not the greatest lecturer. I felt like I was taking a high school class, especially since there was a map quiz at the beginning of the course. I felt like I was given an extremely vague and basic understanding of the material and learned hardly anything new from what I already knew or could quickly learn from doing a google search. The lecturers were boring, most students barely paid attention or didn't come to class. I found this course harder than it should have been because I was so discouraged. I am very interested in the subject matter because it pertains to my major, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, however I was bored and frustrated by this class because it felt like a waste of time. If you are looking to fill the Global Core requirement take another class, like Professor Pizzigoni's Latin American Civilization I. If you have to take it for your major like I did…. bring a computer to lecture for entertainment.

Mar 2011

Personally, I thought the class was fantastic. The reading was interesting, the discussion was an actual discussion, and Prof. Milanich was obviously very knowledgable and passionate about the material. I think I learned a lot from the class, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in Latin America. Though the class is set up to be a lecture, it is mostly a seminar. There were a couple classes where Prof. Milanich lectured (she's a very articulate lecturer), but the vast majority of classes were discussion-based. Grading was pretty fair, I actually thought it was generous despite what the other reviewer said. I also thought that Prof. Milanich was really approachable and helpful during office hours.

Jan 2011

Milanich was extremely knowledgable of her subject, and was good at sparking class discussion and encouraging participation. However, I found her to be extremely unpleasant outside of class; every time I tried to meet with her, she was rushed and just didn't seem interested in helping me. Since she is a young professor, I assumed she would be helpful and approachable, but I found her to be neither. I also thought her grading was pretty unfair, and often arbitrary. Simply doing all the reading and participating in every class is not enough to do well in the course. Her expectations are well beyond normal. She gives the essay questions for the final exams before hand, and on the test, expects them to look like finished papers. I did more work in this class than any other last semester, and did worse in this one than all the rest. Overall, I learned quite a bit in the course, but I would not necessarily recommend her if you're looking for a GPA boost or a recommendation...

Dec 2008

I thoroughly enjoyed this seminar. It was one of the best I've taken at Columbia: great material, engaging discussion, no final paper. Professor Milanich was very good at facilitating group discussion and leading us through the excellent reading lists. From talking to other people who have taken her classes, it seems that her strong suit is not a lecture (as reflected in other reviews). It is the seminar setting is where she really shines and I would highly recommend talking any seminar she teaches.

Dec 2006

Professor Milanich is a good teacher. Not the best I have had here, but then again, she is a lot better than most. Her workload is definitely do-able, and she is very interested in what she is talking about...but even more importantly, she really wants her students to be interested & understand everything. I find this pretty rare, especially in history classes where teachers tend to babble. She has a knack for calling on people during the lecture to answer questions, but if you don't raise you're hand-she won't call on you. However, she will notice sometimes that you haven't spoken, but never say anything. There's no discussion section, which is a relief for sure. The midterm & final are easy, you're given all the material beforehand. You don't always have to attend class, although I'd go in the beginning weeks when she hands out an attendence sheet since there are usually too many people in the class...and if you aren't there the first week, you will have a hard time convincing her to let you stay! She's easy to get in touch with and definitely wants to see her students succeed. She is much more intimidating because of the range of knowledge (and badgering feminism & feminist essays she throws at you), but you come out unscathed and pretty happy with your grade! Definitely take this class, especially if you're into history--she's incredibly smart!

May 2005

I would hardly call Nara brilliant. However, she is extremely easy! You can do basically nothing in this class and get by. The trick is to come to class with a laptop comp and write down everything she says. then paste your notes into the study guide which has terms and essay questions. they come directly from the lectures. all you have to do is regurgitate. Aparently there is some textbook for this class but its not too necessary if u go to lectures. unless you have lecture notes ur pretty screwed. she is by no means brilliant but if you do the work you are pretty much guarenteed an a-. I would take her again because shes pretty easy. Definitely take Thom as a TA if you can because he is awesome!

May 2005

Professor Milanich is a fantastic instructor. She is brilliant, well-spoken and kind. This class was incredible, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in advanced study of Latin America. Contrary to what another reviewer wrote, I believe that Professor Milanich is extremely intelligent and leads wonderful discussions about the books we read.

Feb 2005

This class made me understand why people have such steroetypes about Barnard. Milanich was not well-versed in the subject matter, and often looked to her TAs to remind her of the correct dates and occurances. She is wholly disinterested in the needs of students (for example, a stickler about exam dates), yet allowed absolute people in the class to ask dumb questions. Come to think of it, Milanich herself posed "What are hunter- gatherers?" to the class. We took a quiz that required us to fill in the nations of South America, for crying out loud. It was worse than high school, and I can't believe I paid to take this crap.

Dec 2004

A fantastic class. Professor Milanich is excellent at facilitating discussions in the seminar. The class covers family history from many different angles, including social, anthro, religious, cultural, and legal history in many different time periods and places. Readings consist of lots of articles available in a course packet- which makes the reading more interesting. She is very available outside of class to talk and discuss papers. The class is definitely a breath of fresh air for a history major looking for different and creative approaches to historiography. I have no idea what her lecture style is like, but I would definitely recommend taking a seminar with her.