Rachel Chung

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Apr 2020

Do not take this class. Currently sitting in class, five minutes over when we should have gotten out. We have been talking about authenticity in life for the past hour and a half. This was supposed to be a class about modern Asian music. Instead, the topics have ranged from discussion tokenism in baseball and the abstract, almost philosophical difference between agency, identity, and authenticity. Last class, instead of discussing Japanese performance history and/or music, we discussed issues of gender in America for an hour. This class is NOT a music class. This class is NOT an Asian class. It is a class about identity and gender. It was easily the worst class of my Columbia experience. She goes on these meaningless tirades and ironically asks at the end "does this make sense?" It never does. It never does.

Jan 2020

I'll keep it short. Is she the best, most insightful, most eloquent, most inspiring, most phenomenal, most brilliant, most inclusive, most personable professor in the history of professors? Absolutely. The basic music history you will learn in this class is due to the course, but the intricacies, the most engaging discussions, the stories, the perspectives, your newfound love of music, and memorable moments of wisdom you didn't think you could possibly get out of a music hum class is 100% due to Professor Chung. If you don't take this class or any class with her, you are doing yourself dirty. This class is incredibly easy, not because she inflates grades, but because for the first time in your life you actually will want to fully immerse yourself in the class. JUST TAKE IT ALREADY

Dec 2019

By far the best professor I've ever had- incredibly smart, eloquent, and passionate overall about the subject matter. Love her SO much and will continue to recommend her until the end of my days.

Feb 2015

If you're ready to take Lit Hum all over again, take Colloquium with Professor Chung. The class is very discussion based, and because you only meet once a week (and only spend one week on each text), you get to dive into the text very quickly. Professor Chung has a few points that she tried to get to for each work, but the discussion is often led by students in the class. Each week began with Professor Chung asking students what they thought of the texts, and the class discussion often continued from these thoughts on one tangent or another for the majority of the course. The amount of reading really varied, with some weeks requiring only 20-40 pages of dense philosophy and others entire novels that you can skim fairly quickly. The amount of work was definitely manageable. For the first eight weeks of the semester Professor Chung required a one page reading response due at the beginning of class, but by the midpoint in the semester she decided that they were "optional." The two papers were also fairly straight-forward. Meet with her a week or two in advance and she'll give you some great guidance in choosing your topics and formulating your arguments, but you can literally wrote on anything you want. The best part of the course by far were Professor Chung's insights. She really knows her stuff, and while she's not a Titan in the field like De Bary or Schirokauer, she actually *teaches*, and everyone in my section seemed to really enjoy the times when she actually spend 20-30 mins giving background or her interpretation. Can't speak to everyone's grades, but I participated a fair amount, went to OHs a few times, wrote two fairly good papers and got an A. I'm guessing most people who expected to get an A/A- were successful. A very enjoyable course overall.

Jan 2015

Professor Chung is an amazing professor. She has the ability to make even the most tedious and cerebral readings digestible and insightful. Sometimes class discussion was quiet, but she was good at bringing up different points to think about and discuss. If you can make her office visits definitely go! You can tell she really cares about her students and really takes the time to help you flesh out a paper topic.

Dec 2012

For someone who had only a passing knowledge of East Asian culture, Professor Chung was the perfect way to be introduced to it. Every week we read a classic piece of literature from East Asia that at least for me was brand new, but Professor Chung situated each work in the historical context within which it was created and how it influenced subsequent generations. She did a fantastic job leading discussion despite how quiet our class was, which obviously made it very difficult. Her honesty when advising us on our possible essay topics was much appreciated. If you are looking for a class to fulfill your Global Core requirement, I absolutely recommend this one.

Feb 2008

Professor Chung is the best professor I have ever had. THE BEST. If you have a chance to take her class, take it. The things that you learn from her class will continue to impact your life long after you graduate. At least they have, for me. Some people say that she assigns a lot of work, but I enjoyed her class so much that most of the work didn't feel like work at all. Trust me, even if you're not interested in the topic just take any class she's teaching.

Nov 2007

I am obsessed with Rachel Chung. She is by far the best professor I have had yet at Columbia, and I'm a senior. She is passionate, caring, highly intelligent, name it. She is so interesting that it is easy to pay attention in class and easy to keep up with the reading. If you get the chance, take her class!!! Any class with her is the kind of experience we all come to Columbia to have.

Jul 2006

Rachel is a real character and someone I would definitely call "easily approachable." She's usualy very bubbly and likes to turn lectures into more of an informal seminar. She spends about 80% of class time sitting against a table riffing on the topic at hand and the rest of the time either demonstrating concepts on the piano or singing (yes, singing!) She likes to engage the class in discussion quite a bit and I found that her questions were really well formed and easy to answer so long as one actually read the material. Although no knowledge of music thoery is required for this class, she does nonetheless explain various modes and compositional aspects of the musics covered. If you get lost during these sections, fear not. This course is not so much a course in East Asian music as it is a general East Asian Hum class with a slant toward music. Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Shintoism, Animism -- all these subjects are covered (and much, much more) from their spiritual conceptualization down to their distinct musical expression. Various forms of East Asian theater are also covered such as Peking Opera, Kabuki, etc. If you have a real interest in East Asian culture, this class will blow you away. If you want something really focused on music, this class may be too broad for you.

Apr 2006

An incredibly intellectual course, and the perfect instructor for it. Rachel is one of those professors that truly engages herself and her students in the texts. She is genuinely enthusiastic about the topic, and she makes the 110 minute class rather enjoyable. While the texts are incredibly complex, don't stress about it--It's Daoism etc., the essence of which is that you can never fully understand the content.

Sep 2005

Amazing professor! Great class, great insights! At first, it's a little hard-- a lot of reading and she doesn't hand out A's on the fly, but def. worth taking. You'll learn a lot and she really does care about you. On top, she's a brilliant artist...a very passionate person and teacher. A must.

May 2005

Prof. Chung puts great effort into the class. She makes herself readily available to talk on the phone for help outside of class and tries to explain difficult concepts of the often unfamiliar east asian cultures. Shes very sweet but a little intimidating because she isnt very, sall we say, down-to-earth and approachable. But if you ask her for help, she'll always be willing. She tries very hard to strike up discussion in class, which sometimes doesnt steer the class in the right direction. Theres too much reading material to cover in class and the text is HORRIBLY not concise and easy (or enjoyable) to read. The in-class presentations kinda sucked because some students didnt present well and so you wind uo sitting there for an hour listening to not the most important info. The paper was fun to write since it was a tpic you choose yoruself. Ther class is great (but you gotta work hard) if you are takign MAJOR CULTURES or for your own knowledge of fascinating East Asian philosophy , culture, and history. Great class overall--highly recommended teacher.

Jan 2005

Professor Chung is amazing. I enjoyed her class a lot because she is an interesting lecturer with a wonderful knowledge of Asian history. She makes students work hard and asks many insightful questions. The best part of the class were her lectures and class discussions. She is passionate about the material though she is very challenging. Though there is a ton of reading, having her as a teacher and learning about the material are worth it!

Oct 2004

Rachel is a darling and a talented musician. Her knowledge on the subject is also stellar. The class will involve lots of lectures though and very little music. Additionally, you will be at a disadvantage without serious knowledge of Asian culture i.e. confucius, tao te ching, i ching etc.. On the flip side, you will learn a ton. Exam's are excrutiating, make no mistake. I can't believe I did well in this class because of the amount of stuff I was just unable to memorize - then again, it's how much time you have to read. Don't take this class to fullfill the req if you reg. too late and couldn't get into Western Music (which I hear is like community college level), take Asian Hum if you can handle it.

Jul 2004

If you have not taken Western Music Hum. and have no previous training in music, be careful taking this class. Prof. Chung is a nice, passionate, and engaging woman, but she mostly wants to engage with people who already know what she's talking about. And another thing, there was an ENORMOUS amount of reading for this class, more than some Lit. classes I have taken, and the connection between the music you hear and the reading is often a little weak. Be prepared to do a lot of outside work and to work hard for your grade.