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.
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).
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.
What to say about Jeremy Dauber? From the moment we started class, I fell in love with Yiddish literature and Dauber's teaching methodology. I never had any exposure to Yiddish literature prior to this class, and I was one of two undergraduates in a graduate level class. I read prior reviews of Jeremy Dauber prior to taking him for this seminar, and while I cannot speak to his other classes, I believe that Dauber is best in a small setting like a seminar. To the class itself, it was EXTREMELY small with 6 total students (4 graduate, 2 undergraduate) and I believe this allowed for all parties to shine. I was able to ask (and highly encouraged) to ask questions and really dig into the material. Furthermore, while I myself felt inadequate to speak on literature devices and very technical aspects of the author and works, I was not made to feel inadequate or that my opinion did not matter. In fact, the graduate students, as well as Dauber, made me feel extremely welcome to voice any questions or opinions that I had in the text, even if it was not necessarily aligned with the majority of the class. Overall, I felt that the earlier reviews do not paint an accurate picture of Jeremy Dauber, the classes he teaches, or his attitude and analysis of the works that are studied. If I was not graduating this year, I would definitely take another class with Jeremy Dauber. If you put the effort in, you will be rewarded and it will be worth it. TL/DR: Jeremy Dauber is amazing. Take his class.
I was really excited going into this class—I'm a huge fan of graphic novels and think it's important that they be viewed as serious literature. This class left such a bad taste in my mouth, though. This class is not an engaging look at the history of graphic novels or a study of the development of the medium. You are literally just given a list of graphic novels on the syllabus to read and the lectures are a string of random anecdotes about them. There is a lot of breadth, but absolutely no depth. All of the assignments are vague and have nothing to do with the lectures, and are just given for the sake of having assignments. They try to run the lecture like a seminar, and what happens is that the same five people talk the whole class and the other students are given nothing to work with. There is also literally a "race week" and a "gender week" and the way the professors approached these subjects is stale and antiquated. What made the entire experience worse, though, was that the professors were not open at all to criticism. They wanted our feedback the last day, but spent the whole time justifying their decisions instead of considering the fact that their refusing to plan their lectures or write assignments comes off as lazy and disrespectful of our time. They also told us they didn't want to approach the texts from critical perspectives since they wanted to "present a buffet" of works for us to read instead. This class is a survey in the most basic sense, and you could get more out of reading the books on your own then sitting through the painful, shallow lectures. It was also infuriating how strictly the papers were graded when we were given so little to work with. This class was not only disrespectful to the students investing time in it, but disrespectful to the medium itself. It's been fighting for years to be accepted as a legitimate literature in the academy, and this class hurts the progress it has made in the past decades.
Avoid at all costs. He is arrogant, lazy, and not very smart. He'll give you dumbed down lectures , saying things about comic books that my grandma could come up with. Ignores anything interesting or even a little controversial (he had a really difficult time talking about race and gender in graphic novels, for example, even though we were reading great material like March and Fun Home--maybe because he doesn't think about these things?). I also got a pretty sexist vibe from him and he was very condescending in office hours. Maybe jocks have had other experiences. But especially in a class like the American graphic novel where you teach sensitive material about gender and sexuality, you should be aware that these things are issues! He's also a really bad communicator, never clarified assignments, pushed around deadlines and skipped lectures or replaced them with bullisht "discussion sections." Everyone was so confused in this class! Even the other professor and TAs who were really sweet, seemed fed up with this guy. If you want to talk about comics with someone smart, go to Marianne Hirsch. This class was a joke.
I would like to preface the following review by telling you (the reader) that this is the first Culpa review I have ever written - oblige me as a I shower compliments on an individual who doesn't need the adoration but certainly deserves it. Firstly, Jeremy Dauber is brilliant - Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar, author, etc. And while you may find comparable credentials with a number of tenured Columbia professors in other classes, I don't think their genius is presented as palpably in speech and general discourse as it is with Jeremy Dauber. Dauber knows just about everything there is to know about Jewish humor, and upon responding to any comments you make or questions you ask you will often find yourself blown away that you have a professor that speaks with a stream of consciousness (if you haven't caught on yet, the guy is freakin' awesome). I specifically use the word 'Jewish,' and not "Yiddish," because this class is a Jewish literature/humor class; save about three works (Tevye the Dairyman, The Two Kuni-Lemels and The Little Man), all of the books, stories and excerpts we read related to Jewish humor: for example, Genesis, The Book of Esther/Jonah, Portnoy's Complaint and even episodes of Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm. If you have even the slightest interest in Judaism, humor or both, I highly recommend you take this class. Jeremy Dauber is incredibly kind, intelligent, witty, [insert synonym for someone you strive to be on a daily basis here]...person. Jeremy Dauber for President!!!
I enjoyed this class and really like Jeremy Dauber. I mean, this class is Humor in Jewish literature (and media)-that means reading Shalom Aleichem, Philip Roth, and watching Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and Wood Allen! The main downside is that in some sense it can be too easy and cause people to lack motivation. Because people who pass/fail the class get the assignment lengths cut in half, most people (including myself) lacked motivation and often did not come to class. And since all the assignments are papers, you can really come to just a few classes and do fine. Still, I like Dauber-he's really funny, friendly, and smart-and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys humor. (Which I hope is everyone)
At first, Professor Dauber's Lit Hum class may seem a bit intimidating. He added three books to they syllabus, while taking a few classes off for Jewish holidays, AND assigns 5 short papers instead of the 2-4 longer ones that most classes get. That said, his class is great and no one should hesitate to take it. He never puts anyone on the spot, trying to get them to participate, and somehow always manages to link what we're reading to some pop culture reference. The reading schedule does seem to be a bit fast, though, so it is understandable to not finish every book. Since he assigns his papers in a way taht you can write them on any five books that you'd like, all you really need to do is make sure you read 5 books all the way through. He grades really easily on exams, which I think makes up for his slightly harsher grading on the papers.
Absolutely superb. Phenomenal. A joy. I could go on kvelling forever. Professor Dauber is brilliant--like, really brilliant--and masterful at using the material, which, unsurprisingly, is the most entertaining I've ever encountered, to reveal points well worth making. And even if he weren't as good (and just remarkably pleasant, too) as he is, the course material would make the class more than worthwhile: the Marx Brothers, Larry David/Seinfeld, Sid Caesar, Sholom Aleichem, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks...the list goes on. His lecture on Kafka is especially good; you never knew he was so funny.
Jeremy is a very good proffesor. He is clearly very knowlegable, he is very personable, he loves his subject, and he cares about his students. He also has a sense of humor and keeps the class entertained. THe class is relaxed and fun, and is good for anyone who wants a quick background in major Yiddish works.
Being a Rhode Scholar inflated his overly large ego... and it shows in the class. He knows he's smart. Nevertheless, in my opinion he doesn't care whether or not you read a single book, just so long as you are a total jock - and if you're not actually on a sports team, just come to class with a CU Lions shirt and 17 powerbars and you're set. He spent too much time trying to please the general class - most of whom didn't even seem to open a book - and no time whatsoever on the content of the books itself. While comaring Raskolnikov in Crime & Punishment to Eminem for half an hour in class MAY seem amusing, its not so great when your final's coming up and this is the extent of your class notes. Tangents are the norm - not a single work was thoroughly discussed. Also, watch out - he plays favorites.
Dauber is a funny man. Very insightful, he writes for the Christian Science Monitor. He has some keen insights to the texts. I agree almost to a T with another reviewer on CULPA: Yeshiva education is definitely helpful, but is by no means required. If you are interested in the readings, take the course. Likely, you'll find the readings more interesting than class time itself, but class will be enjoyable nevertheless. On the readings: Dauber spent *way* too much time on certain material early in the semester, most notably the Biblical stuff. Some of the medieval stuff was great, worth reading, and unknown to almost everyone in the class. There is no need to spend as much time as he did on Tevye and Eastern European materials. The best part of the class was the last few weeks, in which we read Roth, Allen, and Stanislawski guest-lectured on Brooks's History of the World. My idea for the course: Dauber either should call it "20th century Jewish humor" and do away with the rest or he should work to develop themes that would relate the more modern stuff to the older stuff. Currently, the course is a mish-mosh. Yes, it's all Jewish humor, but these humors are so different, and he doesn't focus at all on comparing, that it's as if there are about four different courses here, with the best one being about 20th century Jewish humor. Bottom line: Take the class if you like Jewish humor. The readings are amazing and Dauber is engaging.
Dauber's a friendly guy who knows his subject. But in a class on Jewish humor, I was really expecting there to be way more humor. He stretches out Yiddish folktales (his specialty) for way too long, and spends an insignificant amount of time on mid/late-20th century comics, which was unfortunate to say the least. Still, a good class, and worth taking if it's your kind of material. This is the first time that Dauber's offered the class, and I'm sure it'll be fine-tuned to meet the interests of all students. Incidentally, I disagree with the previous reviewer about the level of Jewish education necessary to enjoy the class. Dauber assumes the students have some cultural Jewish background, but he'll happily explain any topics that your non-Yeshiva education didn't cover.
Dauber is one of the leading scholars in Yiddish studies. This said, he knows a LOT about everything in the syllabus. The books in the class range from the Bible to the scripts from Seinfeld, with Sholem Aleichem, Kafka, Roth and Allen in between. The readings in general are pretty good, and include jokes, plays, poetry and novels, although some of the translations take out any humorous aspects of the work. So basically the reading material is good for the mostpart. As far as the classes... Dauber knows his stuff. He begins the work with some background about the writer, and what was going on at the time that the work was written. He opens up a lot of the class time to comments, which I think is a downside, because Dauber is so much better knowledged than those who participate. Although no knowledge of Hebrew and no Jewish background is required, it is pretty hard to take the class without Yeshiva experience. Dauber occasionally writes Hebrew words on the board, and the composition of the class (at least 80% had extensive Jewish education) made the class geared more towards the Jewish elements in the literature, instead of the Humor and historical perspective, as those who participate usually include whatever they learned in yeshiva, instead of analyzing the works as humorous literature, or elaborating on points expressed by Dauber.
starts off interesting and dynamic, but over time its easy to get bored in his class. he has insights into the literature, but most time is dedicated to class discussion, which he lets run freely. that sounds good until you get onto tons of tangents and spend time trying to earn bonus points by talking when you have no clue what your'e saying. definately cares about the subject and is good about analyzing literature in context.
Brilliant. He is such an incredible professor. He'll make you work and think for yourself, so you'll really learn a lot. He leads great discussions and rarely wastes your time. He really tries to help his students, but he won't answer questions that students should think of themselves. He's really the best professor I've had.
Let's start with the positives. To his credit, he is brilliant with an impressive, encyclopedic mind and is great about accepting any and all opinions/interpretations that are properly backed in the material. But he needs a lot of work. Without much experience behind him, his lectures are not always organized or structurally easy to follow. The workload seemed ok (reading stories) but then the class was hit with two papers to write, both after the Pass/Fail/Withdraw deadline, which was really poor planning. He was not terrific about giving guidance for papers; he seems to confuse helping a student with "giving him the answers" which left a bunch of students stuck with unanswered questions. Most irritating of all is his pretentious attitude- he knows he's a genius, always refers to himself as "Professor" and thinks he's Gd's academic gift to Yiddish Literature. He's young, tries to be fun and "with it", relating to the students, but more often than not comes off as a pompous brat instead. Frankly, I was disappointed with the course and I learned the most from writing my own papers.
Professor Dauber made lit hum as pleasurable as possible. He was light-hearted, definitely cared about his students, actively tried to help us do well and get something out of the works, and tried to relate to us on all levels. He was willing to let the students guide him as to whether each class took a lecture or discussion format. He encourages all opinions while forcing students to push their thoughts further by playing "Devil's Advocate." As to the reviewer that bashed him for being to concerned with getting through the works, that is the nature of literature humainites. Take that problem up with the course, not the professor. He had to get through the same amount of books as every other professor and was able to accomplish that more thoroughly than most.
I disagree with the first post. Though Dauber is a really intelligent man and can be engaging at times, the way he runs the class leaves something to be desired. He assigns massive amounts of reading and expects papers to be written before the class discusses the book. I find that instead of forming a lot of independent thought about the works, I am speed reading through the books just so I can finish them on time. Plus, he only allows two class sessions per work, which makes it difficult to discuss the books at length. Also, because of this limited discussion time, Dauber rigidly tailors discussion to the themes and characters that HE wants to talk about. If you don't say what he wants to hear, your comments are regarded as wrong or irrelevant. The saddest part about this class is that Dauber is a really smart guy but if he'd just be a little more relaxed, the class could be okay.
Dauber is an awesome professor, making those often hellish two hours of Lit Hum bearable. He is also very amicable and concerned about his students. Expect a down-to-business yet funny teacher.