Gustav Peebles

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

May 2006

Prof. Peebles is great. He's interested in the material and his students, and that's an exceedingly rare quality at Columbia. I think for some students, he's probably a life-changing professor. The class was good; you don't have to go every week to do well (my A is proof of that). On the other hand, I wish I had gone more often, because Prof. Peebles is a great lecturer and keeps discussions engaging. If you need an anthro class, take this one.

May 2005

Agreed with the other two reviewers that Gustav is incredibly smart, fits the "professorial" mould, and--although a work in progress--is an incredibly exciting work in progress. Above all (and to avoid overlap with the other reviews), Gustav is here to teach and communicate. This is not just a salaried job for him, this is not just an arcane precommitment to stand in front of a class and lecture. No, he wants very much to communicate and that is (IMHO), sometime lacking at Columbia. Gustav experimented by converting a weekly "lecture" slot into smaller dicussion sections which he (or his TAs) ran. The idea was to engage the invidiual; while this meant that you can't really just sit in, not read and incessantly fudge, it also meant that you tend to get much more out of class. Also, he responded to emails reasonably well, given his self-stated lack of comfort with digitalia; he even gave out his home phone so that we could reach him if needed! Research-wise, didn't really know too much. Digital Tools (online) project was mentioned but in class, he didn't dwell too much on his (or any) particular project but was always keen to convey (as mentioned) a critical and contextualized understanding of theories and developments in Anthro. For reasons best known to Columbia, it seems that Gustav won't be here much longer at CU. It is a waste, a downright shame. I, for one, shall sadly lament this; when Gustav becomes the superstar professor he deserves to be, CU will wonder why it missed out.

May 2005

Professor Peebles was one of the smartest professors I've had here. The guy was a freakin' book who could speak intelligently and knowledgeably about virtually any topic that was brought up. Plus, no pretension, no use of big words for their own sake, total understanding of anything he'd allude to. Again, ridiculously intelligent. He never completely bought into any of the theorists we read without also critiquing them, though he always did his best to make the argument work. Oh, and he was so personable too. Very available outside of class. I really liked him. Easily one of my top three professors. I wish I could have taken more courses with him!

May 2005

This class is basically a more souped up version of Intepretation of Culture. If you are a major take it, if you are not a major but want to have a more in depth look at anthro take it instead of Interpretation of cultures They just made it part of the requirement for the major. I was moaning and groaning about having to take it when there were other cool seminars at the same time. However, it was better than I expected. There is also a digital tools section where you read some field notes about Nepal from a famous anthropologist from a website. Besides being so hard to read, the notes were interesting to view the process of the production of anthropological scholarship. He is new a professor, just got his PHD a couple of years ago, so he is still working things out. Often times his lectures are disorganized and he ends up just listing names of books that are related instead of explaining the concepts behind them. However, Bourdieu ,Derrida and other members of the ilustrious French gang are damn confusing, especially to teach to undergrads who for the most part don't know their diachrony / synchrony (and I am still not entirely sure what they mean OR how to spell them) . Often, Peebles just quotes them and shows how ridiculous they can be underneath all the theorhetical gymnastics. Sometimes this class feels like a big vocab lesson, in a good way. I think in 10 years he will be a really great professor, he is excited about teaching and his research which always makes for a better prof. When he talks about his own work with relates to economics and markets, I felt myself perk up wih interest. Usually you can gear him in that direction if you don't want to talk about one of the more boring readings. Top readings are Aramis, A Sahlins piece, and Benedict and Geertz. Oh and he is easy on the eyes and likes to dress up like a stereotypical professor with cordouroy etc. A good class to have cocktail party bits shoot out of your mouth. Have impressed a few cute grad students with drunken comments derived from this class, but once they press I have to admit that I haven't actually READ Weber's discussion on Charisma. I wish we had small excerpts from the readings he mentioned in class so I might actually know what is going on deeper in the theory instead of knowing the surface sparkle. But I guess that is what this class is, a tip of the anthro ice berg, peep in the peepshow...If you want to know more you have to take more anthro classes.