Paul Chamberlin

Apr 2020

Professor Chamberlin is an absolutely wonderful instructor. This class was generally the highlight of my week partly because the reading material was some of the most interesting I've had to read for a class, and also because Professor Chamberlin is very good at facilitating an open and productive class discussion. He is extremely well read and I can't even recall a single moment where he needed to check back on the accuracy of some fact. The readings and class discussion were not necessarily helping you gear toward writing the research paper but they were helpful in generating a historiographical debate that was ultimately helpful for the research paper. The discussions are also helpful in honing what areas are most interesting to you. Prof Chamberlin was super helpful with the research paper - pretty responsive to emails, but more so very helpful in office hours. He doesn't see any question too basic and is helpful when it comes to just seeing things from an alternate perspective. Prof Chamberlin also got the Columbia librarians to come and meet with us to help sift through the massive databases available online. I personally found this particularly useful since prof Chamberlin would also jump in and suggest different uses of the databases depending on your proposed topic.

Apr 2019

Professor Chamberlin is one of the most thoughtful professors in the History department. First of all, he's very well-read, which comes across his seminar introductions (a carefully curated historiography overview on what other scholars have said about the week's topic). He follows by asking discussion questions instead of speaking, so it's a given that you must do the ~150-200 pages of reading per weeks; he also makes a point to call on everyone and does not let a few people dominate the room, so the seminar is generally a welcoming, open, and highly discursive/intellectually flowing environment. The readings express diverse viewpoints on the topic of choice (which can range from various blame games, various regional wars and theaters, the Holocaust, the global war, etc). This course is definitely not the middle-school, Sparknotes version of WWII (Poland, Russia, D-Day, Hiroshima/Nagasaki). These topics are covered, but they are inserted in a much more complex dialogue with other global stakes and trends, and Chamberlin is good about covering the things you wouldn't necessarily learn in the WWII chapter of an old Western history textbook. Besides that, he is generally very kind, decently funny, moderately responsive to e-mails, and super nice to be around. He is also helpful in office hours and pretty helpful with crafting your paper topic (the whole course arcs toward writing your own standard 18-20 page history term paper).

Apr 2017

Professor Chamberlin is a really great lecturer. He moves through material at the perfect rate, and raises provocative questions. His course US Foreign Relations 1890-1990 is the best course I have taken this term. The TAs this term, Micah and Peter, are also THE BEST. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in History, Ethics, Philosophy, International Relations, National Security, etc.