Katja Vogt

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Dec 2020

I LOVED this class. I thought I was sick of ancient greek philosophy after lithum and cc but this course offered a much deeper, more precise lens to view some of the same texts and others. this was a really well-structured course (handouts, recorded mini-lectures, and synchronous discussion) and katja vogt is AMAZING. she's so sweet and encouraging and engaging. definitely one of my favorite philosophy professors I've had. go to her office hours and chat!

Dec 2017

This was my first philosophy course at Columbia, and I have absolutely no regrets. Professor Vogt (indirectly) confirmed my desire to concentrate in philosophy and reassured me that I can excel in the field. Professor Vogt is super sweet and an engaging lecturer. It is important to go to her class because she so clearly outlines exam and paper material. I wish she were teaching History of Philosophy II so I could be her student again.

Apr 2017

i'll keep it short - take this class! This was my first philosophy class and I'm so glad I took it. Her syllabus is carefully composed with tons of interesting material, great for those who haven't taken many philosophy classes. Professor Vogt also expertly leads the class, raising intriguing discussions and questions. It's a fascinating, easy, and educative class. Take it if it's offered!

Aug 2015

Katja is an amazing professor. She tries hard to engage everyone and is so interested in your opinion, even in a class size of over 100. Yes, at times it gets boring and I spent many a lecture reading the news, but when I focused on her lectures they were fantastic. TA was the great Thimo. Team Thimo all the way! Always willing to meet and discuss assignments and ideas. So smart but also a fantastic teacher who makes your opinions feel valued. In all, an amazing introduction to philosophy for a lowly freshman.

Apr 2015

Vogt is a really caring professor who explains all the material succinctly and encourages class participation in lectures, which is rare and awesome. She's also quite witty, so anyone who appreciates jokes about ancient philosophers will definitely enjoy this class. The only complaint I had about the class was that her class notes were a bit difficult to understand and required further clarification.

Dec 2013

Professor Vogt is really, really a fantastic teacher for philosophy. We read texts (not long ones, typically easily manageable) that were complex and encompassed huge ideas, but once we discussed them in class, I think more or less everyone had a good understanding of the subject matter. Even more than that, though, we all developed our views on a topic and asked questions or criticized parts of a philosopher's theory, and Professor Vogt really encouraged that. I feel like the class has changed the way that I think, even, in that we were pushed to be very, very precise in the way we thought and spoke about topics. Obviously, in a class that revolves primarily around the meaning and usage of words like "good" versus "the good" versus "goodness," that kind of thinking is key. Don't ever think that philosophy classes are just easy! Ethics is really accessible in that it deals with ideas that permeate our everyday existence, but it was challenging in the best way in that it helped me grow. Christine was my TA, and her recitations were great and really illuminating. Same goes for her comments on assignments. She's really sweet and makes an effort to get involved with students to answer questions and to clarify points. She was also happy to meet one-on-one to talk about how to approach a paper topic. I really recommend this class to anyone, not just philosophy majors. I find it hard to imagine that anyone would be wholly uninterested in thinking about morality, and Professor Vogt really knows how to teach it.

Apr 2012

The class was awesome. Professor Vogt is a great lecturer and passionate about her subject matter. We barely got through her daily class outlines, but she posted them and I appreciated her desire for dialogue instead of straight up lecture. And 10 outlines instead of a final? Sign me up! Christine, my T.A., was really sweet and always happy to help out. The recitations were helpful for understanding the class material (although it's not such dense material to begin with).

May 2011

I love reviews like the one below this because they remind you how useful the 'Disagree' button is in CULPA. Professor Vogt was an amazing professor: sweet, funny, smart, accessible, and (in this reviewer's opinion) pretty attractive for a classicist not interested in beauty as existing in the realm of sensible things. Honestly, this is one of my favorite classes I've taken here yet. The first few days I was at a loss for what was going on, excited that I was clueless but still worried for my prospects in the class. Vogt asked the kinds of questions that you really have to think about before answering, and didn't shy away from making the class participate on her terms — through substantive analysis and thoughtful consideration of the texts. She wanted us to read Plato on his terms, so the smart-ass philosophy majors who feel better for knocking the tangential details about classical philosophy were left speechless almost every time they tried to use 18th century rebuttals against the Man, the Legend. She did a great job of guiding discussion and of engaging the large classroom so that it felt cozy. The reviewer below was correct in saying that some of the students in the class stopped participating toward the end, but the one time I came late and had to sit in the back I saw why: I was surrounded by Angry Birds and Facebook profiles — if you're only willing to look up and pay attention between page-loads, you're bound to end up dazed and confused toward the end of a 3000-level course. Her assignments were clear and the she usually did well to pick topics for the one-page assignments that weren't overwhelming while picking topics for the longer papers that invited in-depth analysis. Several of the papers I wrote went against her approach to the dialogues; not only was I not penalized for having an opposing opinion, but I honestly feel I was graded more generously for being willing to think beyond class discussion in my essays. Also, a note about my TA for Plato, Andreas Avgousti. This man is brilliant and affable. He was always available for office hours and before and after class — I saw him stay with a student for half an hour after class once and go over her paper in detail to show her were she did well and where she could use work. He was always willing to walk with me and discuss things tangentially relevant to the text and he gave detailed reviews that explained exactly why I earned the grade he gave me — no higher, no lower. Having him as my TA felt like I had been given my own personal professor and I never felt at a loss when going to him for clarification instead of Professor Vogt.

Apr 2011

Professor Vogt is a truly intelligent instructor who clearly commits a great deal of her time and energy to teaching undergraduates. That said, one should be prepared for a very tedious work load, and a teaching style that can frequently be infuriating especially at the end of a semester. Having had a year of professor Vogt (I took Ethics, which is called moral philosophy here, in the fall of 2010 and Plato in 2011), I will break down my experience based on class because I am of the opinion that her Ethics class is a lot better than the Plato class. Ethics: This class was a great way to get a good introduction to the major ethical systems which have influenced the Western world to date. You survey Mill's Utilitarianism, Kant's Groundwork, and Aristotle's Ethics. You also (and this is really a nice touch that I feel like many would not get if taking this class at another school or with another professor) read contemporary philosophers and get their thoughts about these three ethical systems. This all happens in the first half of the course and culminates in a midterm where you have to explain a certain number of passages from these philosophers and the contemporaries who comment on them. The second half of the semester is all focused on examining current ethicists in a field which professor Vogt calls meta-ethics (a topic I feel is very poorly defined). This is where the class became more frustrating because she began to solicit more student participation. When explaining an argument or an idea, Professor Vogt is great. She has a great way of distilling complex sentences and passages into understandable arguments both in class and on her outlines (which she posts right before each class). However, Professor Vogt is also obsessed with soliciting student participation. This would be fine if she was good at leading discussion and guiding the class towards the right answer, but she's not. Any time professor Vogt poses a question to the class, the discussion immediately grows unfocused to the point where I, at least, had a difficult time understanding what I was supposed to take from the discussion. Professor Vogt never concludes these discussions with any sort of thought but rather just proceeds to the next point, leave me puzzled and frustrated. The frequency of the discussion at the end of the semester made her classes literally worthless. As the difficulty of the texts we read went up (modern philosophy is a lot harder than it looks), the time professor Vogt spent on explaining them went down! Soliciting student particiaption is good and all, but I signed up for this class to learn the thoughts of other, smarter people, not just throw ideas out at the professor and see what sticks. So, while the class frequently became frustrating, the workload similarly was irksome. In addition to the midterm described above, there were two 6-8 page papers on topics that we had to come up with ourselves (a nice change from most philosophy papers) and 10, 1-page outlines that we had to do over the course of the semester. The papers were fine, but the outlines were frustrating because they forced you to do professor Vogt's job for her. If you could successfully outline a philosopher's argument and get a 100 on the outline, there was no point to going to class that day since you already understood the text. The idea of outlines is great, knowing how to do one is essential to one's success as a philosopher, but to grade them on a 1-100 scale I think misses the point of such an assignment. That said, the class was incredibly easy, 50% of the students got either A's or A-'s (as confirmed by my transcript) so don't freak out about this class being to difficult for you because it's not. Plato: Again, the first half of the course is a good rundown of the major Platonic texts that you would get in almost any other survey. During this first half, again, professor Vogt does a good job staying on topic, explaining important arguments, and really explicating these texts. The first half of the semester culminates in a midterm much like the ethics midterm. The second half, just like Ethics, contains much more challenging material, but also contained just as much frustrating and useless discussion. I learned nothing because professor Vogt refused to teach and instead asked us questions to which she never gave any guidance. It is important to say here that, in both classes, there are about 10-15 people who pack the front rows and manage to stay engaged throughout the entire semester despite the lack of concrete solutions or explanations of the texts. They will surely object to this review. I encourage them to look behind them and see how many people are no longer paying attention (or just not in class) because professor Vogt cannot keep the class organized enough to make any compelling or interesting points.

Dec 2010

If I had to describe Katja Vogt in one word, that word would be pleasant. This class is difficult, but as a 3000 level ethics course, that should be expected. Though the reading can be challenging, Professor Vogt prepares notes over every reading and puts them on courseworks before class, which makes things much easier. Class time is divided between clarifying texts and discussing their implications, with more emphasis on the latter. Professor Vogt is excellent at answering questions and addressing comments, which really encourages participation. She has the very rare ability to make a large lecture at times fell like a discussion.

Mar 2010

I honestly have nothing but praise to give her. At the beginning - I guess some of the previous culpa reviews had made me biased - I was very skeptical, and there were moments were I was a bit put off by her abruptness, but in retrospect, that was all so that she could go through as much of the assigned material as clearly as she can, so that we really can understand and therefore appreciate it all. What's great about Vogt is that she makes lecture notes for class - with that said, you always do get more out of the lectures by attending as well - but that means that there's nothing left uncovered. If we can't discuss it in class, the main points she would have wanted to highlight would be on the lecture notes on courseworks, and those are really helpful when studying for the exams as well. She's very approachable and open to questions - if she ever cuts you off, it's only in interest of time, which is understandable, but you can tell that, if she were given the choice, she could go on and on about arguments because she just loves philosophy so much. Not to mention, she does help a great deal in making difficult concepts very (to use Descartes' term) clear and distinct. I definitely recommend her. She's teaching Moral Philosophy next semester and I can't wait to take it with her!

Mar 2009

Professor Vogt is great. She is extremely prepared for class and always prepares an outline beforehand which you can print out and use as she lectures. She is extremely good at explaining all the concepts presented, and she prepares you very well for the exams. I have nothing at all bad to say about her, and I would highly recommend this class.

Jan 2007

I'm pretty sure the reviewer before me must have been one of the quieter ones in class, because I clearly did not witness Prof. Vogt shooting down any points directly - in fact, her moving on from those points was essentially a polite manner of not embarrassing you by telling you how far off from the mark you were. Alot of my points were certainly glossed over in discussion which just prompted me to think about saying something that might catch her attention. She was a refreshing breath of air in the Core classes I've taken so far in her expert ability to TEACH. She knows the texts at the back of her hand and TELLS you where the key points to understanding the work are. This already makes the course easy, as opposed to other instructors (believe me, there are many) who would conduct a free flow discussion with ideas that may not end up with any substantial conclusion. Yes - CC is about teaching us how to interpret and apply the concepts that have shaped the Western world, but it should not be about a debate of, "oh what do you think Augustine said?" Rather, it should be "do you think what Augustine said was important?" And Prof. Vogt clearly teaches you about the second question. About attendance, when I read the general review that said Prof. Vogt missed class alot, I was astonished. It gave me the impression that she wasn't in class half the time. Truthfully, she rescheduled 2 lessons in the entire semester, that unfortunately due to the collective schedule of the class had to be made up on Fridays. Even for those who could not make it for the make-ups, she held SECOND make-up sessions so that those who missed it wouldn't fall behind. Plus, she was at so much pains to make sure that the make up could be attended by as many students as possible. Approachability: I'm not a big fan of office hours, but I did visit once after the midterms to review my performance and Prof. Vogt really didn't have much time to give me the aid I needed. Still, she's always reachable by email, especially in the earlier part of the semester. If you're in this section - LUCKY.

Dec 2006

Okay, this is only a negative review in the sense that I don't think of Prof. Vogt nearly as highly as the rest of the reviewers. The trick to this class is to stop reading CULPA right now, because the reviews below will give you incredibly high expectations -- and really, the teaching is maybe a little better than adequate. No doubt, she knows the material (and read it in the Ancient Greek), but the class actually ends up being pretty dumbed-down, and your answers in discussion are pretty much ignored if she doesn't agree with them, which is very frustrating. I didn't even have good answers, but people coming up with slick, original thoughts would get shot down without much justification, which was lame. That said, she's a very nice person, clearly knowledgable, and pretty tolerable as a lecturer. You should still take the class, because she's definitely in the top couple of fifths of CC professors. I just wouldn't be handing out nuggets yet.

Nov 2006

Katja Vogt is extremely bright, very friendly, and clearly cares whether her students learn the material, whether she's teaching an introductory or a more advanced subject. Those are the good points. The one bad point, and it really is one, is that her own attendance in class and at her office hours is not stellar. Of course, professors go to conferences and give papers, and that's understandable. But even when she's not away, it can be awfully hard to locate her if you show up at her office according to the schedule she posted on the Philosophy web site. The bottom line: a good professor well worth taking courses from. But be aware that if you think you'll need any extra help, you need to plan ahead of time and coordinate with her carefully.

May 2005

If Katya doesn't have a gold nugget yet, I don't know what culpa is waiting for. This woman is a goddess. Her students worship the ground she walks. If you have her for LitHum, you are incredibly lucky. She speaks nearly every language that the texts have been written in originally, she is the sweetest and most insightful little woman, and really loves her students. I'm honestly jealous of anyone who has her classes in the future, and am so upset that she doesn't teach anything else right now because I'd be first in line to take every subsequent class that she offers.

Jan 2005

As most of the other reviewers have said, Professor Vogt is amazingly intelligent. She does, I think, an incredible job explaining really difficult philosophical texts. She does so well, in fact, that her lectures can seem too straightforward and dull when in actuality she is highlighting nuances and intricacies that the vast majority of the class glossed over when they read them. True, she answers too many questions, but it's the students' fault for asking so many stupid questions that really could be answered by reading the texts. The best part about the class in my opinion was Professor Vogt's accent. She's originally from Germany and she says the following words in such an adorable manner: vague, bodies, void, though, envisage, motivation, advantageous, inquiry, err, hypothesis, pursuit, doctrine... actually, pretty much everything she says. The v's and w's get switched at random and her stresses in multisyllabic words are great. In any case, a great way to get into philosophy.

Dec 2004

Professor Vogt is a great teacher. She really explains these complex texts very well, and makes them accessible to all. She offers many paper topic options and makes them all very fair. She has a very good manner with the students as well. I can't recommend her highly enough.

Dec 2004

Katja Vogt, like so many of the other reviewers have already said, is a FANTASTIC teacher. She is the sweetest woman, she never makes anyone feel inferior or stupid in any way what-so-ever, she is easygoing, and appreciates any kind of student contribution or participation at any time -- in the middle of her sentences, during breaks, after class, by email, whenever. Her grading is not difficult at all -- there is no reason why anyone should get less than a B+ in her class -- even if they don't read and don't have a great background in literature. That being said, it isn't difficult to get an A. Katja is always engaged in the material, and she brings really interesting points to light, especially regarding greek literature as she speaks greek. Her class is always interesting, especially if you have a good group of students in your class. She also has a really cool accent, which merits total brownie points.

Dec 2004

It takes a couple weeks to realize just how intelligent and knowledgeable this woman is, but once you've begun to appreciate her you will love going to class. Granted there were a few classes in the Plato section that did not hold my interest--how excited can you get about the question, "What is piety"--but aside from that the content was fascinating and anyone who claims to be interested in philosophy and thought this class was boring was probably not paying enough attention. Prof. Vogt is incredibly passionate about her subject and rather than give a broad overview, from which one learns nothing, she chooses to delve into specific arguments in great detail. The virtue of this is that you get a real understanding of the kind of questions that philosophers, and scholars of philosophy, obsess over. You will also walk away with knowledge that will last. I don't even know Aristotle's dates but I know what he thinks the purpose of human life is, and to me that seems much more important. Prof. Vogt's lectures were, for the most part, very clear and organized, and when she did go off on a tangent it was usually interesting. She also does a good job with questions, giving thorough answers to good ones and this cute "what the *!@# are you talking about" look to the stupid ones. When there are certain points that she wants everyone to get she will repeat herself, and it may seem like she is just being repetitive, but if you really pay attention you will find that each time she explains it she is adding some nuance. Her lectures contain a wealth of knowledge for those that are truly interested. Prof. Vogt is timid and sweet and approachable, and at the same time smart and intellectually acute. Overall this class was great and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in ancient philosophy.

Dec 2004

Boring.zzzzzzzzzzzz. I went into this class with a genuine love for ancient philosophy, and I routinely had difficulty forcing myself to pay attention. Prof Vogt has a very firm grasp of this material, but she doesn't do much to make it fresh or compelling. Her lectures were dry and a bit unstructured. Also, English is not her first language, so she can sometimes be hard to understand. This course will give you a pretty thorough yet standard survey of ancient philosophy, but don't expect much more out of it than you got from CC. If you're just looking for an inspiring philosophy course, avoid this one. If you have to take it because you're a philosophy major, it will be like broccoli: bland but nutritious. Eat up!

Dec 2004

Everyone in my class agreed that Katja Vogt was an amazing professor. The more that you put into her class, the more that you get out of it. If you are a student only motivated by the fear of doing poorly, then she is not the teacher for you as she grades very easily and you should have no problem getting an A- if you do the reading. Many students are receiving A's and none are getting below a B (even those that don't read). The more that I got into the books, the better of a professor she seemed to be. Her class is all about group discussions which she actively leads, but always chooses to defer to a student even mid sentence. If a student nails a question, she gets very excited and never tells a student that he/she is wrong. Sometimes she says, "Well, I've never heard that before, but let's see what (place name here) thinks about it." It is an amazing class. There can not be a better lit hum teacher. If you love knowledge, then you want Katja as your proffesor as she has a ton. Trust me on this.

Dec 2004

Professor Vogt was great. She is very kind, quiet, and at times awkward but pleasant and high-spirited. She warms up to the class as the semester moves on. She really knows her stuff and can get enthusiastic about it. She listens to what everyone has to say and then gives her opinion of what we need to know. The class is really not hard at all. She is a fair grader and not very harsh. She is a pretty good lecturer but sometimes it can drag a little if the class hasn't done the reading, and a lot of the time you really don't have to do the reading. She is also very approachable in e-mail or even in a break during class if you have a question or a problem. One thing that will definately put you in her good graces is PARTICIPATION IN CLASS.

Aug 2004

Seems like I may be the minority when I say avoid Professor Vogt for Lit Hum I and II. I will admit that she is very smart and is ALWAYS prepared and leads good discussions. HOWEVER, I found her grading to be very arbitrary and unfair. I worked very hard in her class, I did all the reading, actively participated in class, and wrote (what I considered) excellent essays, but felt as though I was always borderline no matter how hard I tried. It seems like kids with philosophical backgrounds that could earn brownie points in discussions and essays by incorporating far fetched connections to some loosely connected philosophical works prospered in her class. For those of you who don't fit that category, but work hard and expect results from the hard work that you put in then I would recommend you take a different section.

May 2004

Katja Vogt is a goddess. I think the previous review, with all due respects, provides a simplified view of this professor. While it is true that she is an easy grader and that she has no interest to instigate dynamic discussion, she is above all an extremely passionate thinker with a true commitment to teaching the books. She is rather young in her deparment and hence she questions a lot of established ideas that have formed around the books. Essentially, she gives what she receives.. In days when the class had obviously read the material she was passionate and brilliantly elucidated the texts, during some lessons when nobody had done the reading she tried to focus on what everybody read to avoid embarassing us. She is very shy, but also very approachable through e-mail and office hours. Basically - a very profound professor. If you set aside your need to be "entertained" she will provide a great lit hum experience

Apr 2004

Yes, Professor Vogt is very nice. Yes, she's a pleasure to listen to. But if you're actually interested in Lit Hum (like I am - yes, yes, dork, I know...) you might want to look for someone who will challenge you a little more. Her class was a breeze, because she's only interested in the first page/chapter of everything we read. Of course, I'd take a class with her again (I'd love to have had her for CC), but I wouldn't expect to get very stressed out.

Jan 2004

Professor Vogt is, to put it bluntly, fantastic. She is great with the class, a bit awkward, but always nice and cheerful. Those two qualities are so important in a small lecture class like Lit Hum, and a teacher who's grumpy or an ass can really mess the whole experience up, but Professor Vogt is awesome. She's also insanely nice about the workload and about grading. You'd be crazy to leave her Lit Hum section.

Jan 2004

Prof. Vogt is a really good lecturer. Plus she's nice and a fair grader. She is also unpretentious. I would definitely recommend this class to others. I thought the material had the potential to be boring but she made it really interesting. However, she does answer too many questions. Students apparently feel the need to impress her with the longest questions they can think of and it disrupts the lectures. If you have any interest in early philosophy, take this class!

Dec 2003

An all-around good teacher. She comes prepared, teaches the concepts lucidly, and grades quite fairly. One knows what to expect for the midterm and final and, while the material may seem like quite a bit of basic explication of argument, that is precisely what (I think) an introductory philosophy course should be all about. If you need to wrap your head around the methodology of philosophy, this is a great way to start. I can't say that the subject matter is very interesting, though.

Dec 2003

Professor Vogt is simply amazing. Before her class, I had always thought that the history of philosophy was worthless. Honestly, I still do. Yet still her lectures will simply thrilling. I hung on every word of her eloquent soliloquies as I would hang on to every word of a brilliant novel. For some reason, and I'm not sure exactly why, I always wanted to hear every detail and anecdote she offerred. The one shortcoming of the class is that she seemed to take as many questions as we could throw at her and would never cut a student off regardless of how inconsequentlal or lengthy his tirade was. Some might think this a good thing; however, pausing in her lecture to hear students babble is like pausing the Nightly News Hour to watch the O'Reilly factor: always jarring and often unpleasant.

Nov 2003

I had Lit Hum with Professor Vogt last year. She is incredibly nice. Even when the class clearly had not done the reading, she never got mad, but tried to summarize some of the work herself, and to ask different kinds of questions. She is an extremely fair grader, and is a very nice person. If you have her as your Lit Hum teacher, you will be very lucky.

Nov 2003

Simply put, Katja Vogt is a wonderful teacher. She's young and enthusiastic about what she teaches, and she's VERY knowledgeable about the things you will study. She is German and has a slight accent, which you'll love. She's not a tough grader at all. She's not boring like other Lit Hum professors and she's not overbearing or very rigid about the view from which you examine texts. Take her class.

Nov 2003

I had Katja the first year she taught here and I must say I really enjoyed getting to know her (even if my friends think she's a crazy German lady) The class was incredibly easy but somehow she actually managed to teach us things. Her background in Greek and Latin made class interesting, but her philosophy specialty should really have her teaching C.C.

May 2003

She is an excellent teacher. Very knowledgeable and nice. The class is a lot of reading obviously but she is very nice about going over all the books. Very fair grader as well, and a genuinely nice person.

Apr 2003

To all the faculty in the Philosophy Department who read these reviews (and we know most of you do), I have but two things to say: TENURE THIS WOMEN! Put simply, she is quite smart and unpretentious, a dyad one rarely finds in this department.

Apr 2003

Quite simply, Katja Vogt is a good professor. She always comes extremely well prepared for class. She is young and obviously does not share the jaded perspectives towards classroom time like most of her collegues. She has a fine grasp on the material, but is willing to genuinely listen to the opinions of students. The class material is presented in an excellent outline fashion, so it's free of tangents, concise, complete, and easy to follow, even on those sleepy days. Personally, I find it hard to rate her grading. I've heard others say she is difficult; however, I found her to be very fair. As moral philosophy really isn't my thing, I can't say I'd openly endorse the class; however, if you have to take it, by all means skip Sidorsky and Gaifman. Get the perspective of a professor who isn't 10 years past her expiration date!