i must agree with the majority of reviews on this page. i went into Carlos' class with an open-mind about him and his teaching style, because of course reasonable people can have different experiences and impressions of the same professors. unfortunately, i became very jaded very quickly as he let his personality and dramatic acting schtick overshadow good teaching. i tend to be from the school of personal initiative that says no matter how bad the professor, if you read the books and work hard, you'll always learn. not so in this case. after awhile, i dreaded coming to his class, and from my lineup of classes i thought this would be my favorite as i'm an avid reader of great and classic literature in my spare time. while CSP is readily available outside of class for consultation, it's inside class that i'm really concerned about. i agree what someone else wrote about his views on feminism. perhaps he should walk around as woman for a few months and then tell us what he thinks of feminist theories. really , i can't believe there are professor at columbia no less who still think like that. i genuinely hope he improves his 'performance' soon. he has lot's of potential, but unfortunately, i'm not here at columbia to be experimented on nor listen to someone tell me my experiences as a woman or the experiences of women in general, or as a miniority, are not relevant to interpreting a text. well now, aren't we elitist?
The first few classes I though that Carlos was a cocky bastard. He is, but after going through some texts with him I decided it was well worth putting up with a little bullshit to hear his interpretations. His cynicism leads to unique readings, which I generally thought were well supported. As one of the few women who stayed in his class for the second semester, I have to agree he lets you know what he thinks of your ideas. But have a little backbone and read the book, and he'll entertain your argument (feminist arguments might require you match his bravado). Overall I thought this class was entertaining, but also substantive. If anything, I think discussion could have been improved on the students' end.
too many negative reviews, so i'm compelled to write my first culpa review to help the balance. people are right i suppose in saying that it's a love/ hate thing. if you are looking for a standard blah blah lithum class, to discuss the same old topics that you can easily read on sparknotes, look elsewhere. if you want to THINK and FEEL then this class is for you. this is what i believe lithum should be about, not learning how to spout off lofty names and themes at cocktail parties or whatever. his writing assignments were definetely not standard, but that is good. no useless literary analysis writing here, but rather writing from within, connecting yourself and your world to the works that we read. true, he does talk a lot and have the previously described attitude, but..how do i explain? it's not that serious? there are lots of ways he could be worse in this aspect. he comes in late all the time by the way okay i'm done rambling overall, i enjoyed the class. not your typical lithum experience. laidback, relaxing atmosphere
Carlos is nice enough outside of class, but his seminars are usually dreadful. All I got out of LitHum this semester was reinforcement of my suspicion that the academic bureaucracy is capable of making extremely irresponsible decisions. Carlos confirmed this both through his own indignance over "the system" and his exploitation of his teaching position as a platform for imparting chauvinistic and elitist philosophies to students who just wanted to learn about the assigned texts. Warning: Like most men obsessed with philosophy, Carlos is in love with himself and the sound of his voice. He is uninterested in stimulating any dialogue that might have productive societal consequences; politics, mediation, and social progress are beneath him. By the time the course had ended, I had lost about 80% of my faith in humanity. I am currently recovering from a LitHum induced depression. Female students with any shread of personal dignity should expect to be highly offended by his views on sexuality. (For example, one student, during a discussion on Medea, described the title character as a "crazy bitch." Carlos giggled and the discussion continued.) Carlos writes off his chauvinistic elitism as a conscientious rejection of a politically correct culture; he seems to appreciate rather than condemn the oppressive conditions that elicited the development of this stifling political correctness he disdains.
I can see why people would like Carlos. In my opinion Carlos loves himself more than anything, and it shows during every class. He even said once, "One of my biggest flaws is that I am good at everything." He is always the first one to criticize others that disagree with his lifestyle. It seemed to me that the kind of people that liked Carlos in my class were the ones that did not care much about the class and found his ridiculous behavior entertaining. On the other hand, if you care about literature, if you want to take lit hum moderately seriously, you'll hate this guy. He assigned papers that really have nothing to do with the texts. For our second paper, he wanted us to write about the "teleological suspension of the ethical." Okay. Granted that philosophical interpretations of the texts are important, Carlos thinks that only esoteric and elusive assignments are good because he wants to show off how much philosophy he knows. He will never give you a flat out A because he wants to seem powerful. He will, however, give out a lot of B+ and some A-. Discussions in class always consisted of Carlos getting frustrated and eventually telling you what to think. He automatically dismisses all interpretations that aren't like his own even though he claims that he loves people that disagree with him. In the end, I had to switch out of his class because I wanted to vomit every time I was in there. So if you're the kind of person that enjoys ridiculousness, you'll love him. But if you want a real lit hum professor, then switch out.
I must say that the other reviews posted here at least in my opinion do not represent the full Carlos. To put it bluntly, his class made me miserable. He is intimidating and incredibly arrogant--another reviewer put it as "lovably arrogant" but I think he goes WAY TOO FAR to find anything loveable about it. He constantly interjected statements about politics and Americans in general into his long-winded ramblings that were about everything and anything except the books. I found myself constantly coming out of class feeling like I was more confused about the books than I had been when I went into class. And that brings me to his writing assignments. Although he spreads them out in a good way--four one-page response papers and two 4-6 page argument papers--the argument paper topics were insane. They weren't particularly literary and most of them, to be given justice, would have needed a forty-page response full of philosophising on life and the meaning of our existence. Personally, I didn't find that particularly helpful in terms of increasing my understanding or respect for any of the books we read in Lit Hum. On that last day of class, he gave us this speech about how he was so pleased because he really thought that many of us had improved our writing during the course. How mistaken he was! Maybe I got better grades as the course went on, but I don't think my writing or my ability to think analytically improved at all. I just think that I was able to write more of what HE wanted as the course went on. Don't be fooled as I was--I thought I was so lucky to have him for the first few weeks of class. On the bright side however, he doesn't really give any grades below a B if you do your work. But he barely gives any A's. So if you want to get a B or B+ and you don't mind getting nothing out of the course, this is the man for you.
Carlos is one of those people who you either really love or really hate. I liked Carlos a lot. He was funny and interesting in class, and talked about many unusual themes in the books which I personally found much more worthwhile than the standard topics discussed in Lit Hum. He was lovably pretentious, clearly intelligent and demanded that students actually come up with creative individual thought, as opposed to testing students to make sure they know the books without actually learning any big and relevant ideas from them. You don't really have to talk that much in class as long as you come up with some interesting ideas in your papers. There is less writing than other sections, but the reading moves extremely quickly because Carlos adds his own reading to the syllabus (which were some of my favorites in the semester). He is extremely accessable outside of class and tries to help as much as he can. I loved the guy and would definitely take other classes with him if I could, but I could see how people wouldn't like him.
Carlos is a funny guy. He is the kind of guy you can really like or really hate - I liked him. He is incredibly smart - he has 4 degrees in subjects from mechanical engineering to theater. He gives an air that anything you could possibly think of to say, he has already thought of and rejected. But aside from his rather arrogant attitude, he's an awesome guy and a great teacher. He's not afraid to tell you what he thinks, but he welcomes and encourages disagreement and debate. If you disagree with him, SAY SO! You'll get major brownie points. He is a fair grader. It is hard to get above a 94 on anything, and hard to get below an 84. The discussions on a book are never the obvious themes to discuss - he loves finding more subtle or hidden themes and topics. He assumes you already know the obvious stuff from just reading the book. He recommended Sparknotes to his students as a supplemental tool, which helps a lot. He jokes around constantly, insulting President Bush a LOT. If that offends you, probably don't take this class. Overall a fun class. Considering how many people hate their Lit Hum teachers, I'd say you're lucky to get Carlos.
I don't know if the past reviewer and I had a completely different professor because I'd have to disagree on quite a few points on his/her review. Firstly, the class is usually 90% Carlos speaking. Obviously this is great if you like to get the interesting points and connections of the books fed to you, but I personally don't like being lectured to. There is thus very little room for students to put in their own ideas and start new topics (unless they happen to align with what Carlos himself wanted to talk about). Secondly, Carlos tends to display body language that does in fact put students down when he feels their input/ideas are wrong/not parallel to his own. He'll say (albeit politely) that that wasn't exactly what he was looking for or say a prolonged "ooookk..." and move on to where he wanted to go originally. Carlos also is provocative in his language and while some find it amusing and refreshing there may be others out there who find it less than appropriate. He IS however, very much available for help outside of class and tries to lend you his advice as much as possible--but you should know beforehand that if he found your plight amusing he'll use the story as a joke for his classes.
I'm typing this at 3 a.m. in the morning (I have school at 9a.m. tomorrow) and that speaks volumes about the regard I hold for this man. His teaching style is very flexible yet disciplined. What I mean by this is that he goes over several overarching topics in general and lets the students "fill him in" on the details. He never lets details bog his teaching down, and always let the main arguments drive home the points to the students. His greatest strength is that he lets students see the big picture very easily, and draws parallels between scenes in the text well. Also, he seldom (in fact, never) puts a student down because of a opinion voiced which may not have any relevance to the topic at hand. In fact, what he tries to do is take the point and draw a certain linkage to the discussion, and often tosses a word of praise at the student. To me, that's important -- knowing that my instructor appreciates my opinions, no matter how dumb they are, and in so doing raises the overall energy level of the class.
I thought he was an awesome instructor. He was flexible about how close we stayed to the standard topics discussed, and I thought that made the class much more interesting. We were able to simply glance at topics that didn't really interest anyone, and spend a lot of time on those that more people felt strongly about. His writing assignments were not typical--300 word response essays, which could have as much or as little to do with the book as you wanted. I felt the assingments were very helpful in making me realize what was superfulous in my writing (which was his intention). He rarely left many comments on papers, and the ones he did leave were not very helpful, but he made himself very easily available outside of class, and was extremely helpful then. He would also discuss a paper before it was due, which helped a lot in writing it. He's also a pretty interesting guy, and worth stopping by the lounge just to talk to in general. And he's a VERY generous grader...won't give an A very easily, but will give an A- to a lot and a B+ to almost anything that's decent. Graduate student, so probably won't be teaching this course again, but if he is an option in any other class i might be taking, i will definitely choose him.
Carlos believes that a student in his class should truly learn Spanish, not just complete some workbook exercises and answer questions based on some tape-recorded Spanish quiz. He is great because he does not collect homework and will allow you to miss a few classes without penalizing you in the gradebook. He also dressed up for Halloween, and on every friday would bring in Spanish music so that we could identify the words.
Carlos is awesome - where else can you find a teacher who has breakfast at La Rosita, brings in spanish pop music on fridays, has a dress-up day in the middle of the year, and takes his class out to celebrate? Right, i thought so. Having class with Carlos was so good that we were all willing to drag ourselves out of bed at 10:00 to the dungeons of Pupin just to have class for 50 minutes a day - and it was worth it! look for him - he's definitely worth it
This man must be the benevolent god every first year Spanish student searches for. He maintains a very high standard for what he wants you to learn; yet grades you easily and appreciates any effort you put forth. very easy on attendance, but his classes are so painless it would be a pity to skip them. emphasizes oral communication and comprehension over the nitty gritty grammatical aspects of the language, which is really what I personally wanted from the language (I'm no Cervantes). Plus, every Friday he brings in an amusing song from his collection of 80's Spanish music.