i enjoyed her lectures, perhaps she lectures more effectively in her area of expertise. i strongly recommend this class, but only if you are taking a rather light courseload. i found the class to be the most intensive, most demanding class i've taken thus far. on the plus side, she is very concerned about connecting with students and is always available.
The last reviewer says that Prof. Shankar might be fun to hang out with, but I'd say that even that is overly generous-I'd even go so far as to call her a snob. While Shankar seems young and hip, assigns good texts (Foucault, Hebdige), and shows "Fight Club" in class, she is a very cold individual (she even invited a guest lecturer to make fun of politeness) and an extremly overly demanding professor. She expects way too much sophistication for an intro class, especially one in which many of the students are not anthropology majors. And while she expects sophistication from her students, anything she writes on the board is usually misspelled, and her lectures are much less than insightful. And, oh yeah, she takes attendance in a huge lecture class. In other words, this is not a fun easy Barnard class.
Although prof. Shankar seems like she'd be an interesting person to hang out with, she unfortunately doesn't lecture well. She reads her lectures from notes and basically sums up the articles we read for homework. She rarely takes questions and actively discourages us from asking more than two or three clarifications during a lecture. We don't discuss anything. She says it's due to class size, but I've had classes that size before with discussion. The midterm seemed easy but her grading was very picky. Taking over this class last minute couldn't have been easy, especially because the previous professor was rumored to be so excellent. Maybe prof. Shankar would handle a smaller class better, but I would not recommend taking a lecture-based class with her.