Jack Halberstam

Dec 2020

The readings are interesting but Professor Halberstam rarely keeps lectures centered around them and you're going to spend almost the entirety of discussion sections having your TA explain what's going on. To be honest, I think the grading was subjective and I really wouldn't recommend the course. I ended up with an 89.8 (which they wouldn't round up even though I went into the final with an 88.9 and got an A), so it's not like I did poorly but when I went to office hours my TA didn't explain what I needed to improve in essays or what had particularly brought my grade lower on the various assignments.

Nov 2020

I loved this class and Professor Halberstam. He's a captivating lecturer, and engages well with the class. He definitely places a lot of emphasis on the historical and biographical context of the texts, which isn't to everyone's interest, but helped paint a vivid picture of Britain during this period, particularly with respect to the course's subheading "In the Breach." Professor Halberstam and his TA, Nick Mayer, air fair graders, although I could have used a bit more guidance, especially on the first essay.

Sep 2020

I really enjoyed this class, and so much of that is due to Prof. Halberstam. Part of this is my own personal bias - I don't always (or ever) enjoy how Western-centric the English major requirements are, but I loved that the British lit class I took was really focused on women's voices & voices of color. I loved being able to talk about marginalization and race and gender and postcolonialism. But even if that's not your particular area of interest as a scholar, you will be interested in this class just for the depth of critical thinking Halberstam employs. He is extremely intelligent and I was always fascinated in class - which is a mix of lecture and discussion. He often gives you interesting historical context for the books you read that take you through British history and give extra insight to the conversations. Halberstam is also a very kind and understanding professor - I had him during the switch to online back in the spring of 2020, and he was incredibly interesting while also maintaining and facilitating a very fascinating and insightful classroom dynamic.

Oct 2019

This class was amazing. The readings were so fascinating, and completely changed the way I think about race, power, sex, gender, and colonialism. We read some truly incredible theorists. I love the field, and I love the ideas we were brushing up against. It was also incredibly frustrating. The readings were maddeningly inconsistent - sometimes they would be well-written, readable, and easy to understand, sometimes they would be dense and written in so much jargon that they were unreadable. I still don't understand Hortense Spillers. It often felt like we didn't really have time to unpack what we were doing, and that we were missing out on a lot of context for the readings. This isn't really the professors' fault - almost all social theory writing is unreadable, because that's how academia is. But the course was rushed, and we didn't properly unpack a lot of the complex ideas. That made the course a lot harder than it needed to be.