Jose Moya

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Dec 2020

took this course fall 2019. he keeps the class fun, but the tests are really high school-like. literally have to remember DETAILS upon DETAILS. I did not go too often but study EVERYTHING on those powerpoints.

Dec 2020

I took this class in Spring 2020, so this review is a little late, but I wanted to say it was one of the more interesting classes I've taken, partly just because we got to do a deep dive into one singular way of thinking. I do think that this course could've gone more in-depth, as we spend like an hour of class time mostly reviewing what we'd read, but I enjoyed the syllabus readings and it gave me a new perspective on anarchism. While he encourages inter-student support on each others' work, I think that connection can be hard when everyone is relatively new to the topic. There is a focus on the second half of the semester on the research project, and Prof. Moya is very supportive. I would take this course just for the subject matter -- it really gave me a new perspective on the State, and I think it's interesting to compare to Marxism and other political ideologies

May 2017

Dr. Moya is a funny engaging professor. His course is basically a lecture based course where he goes over the powerpoints until the class time runs out. During his lectures he will have tangents that exemplify Latin American politics, social structure, and mainly culture (UNESCO world heritage sites). His lectures can be dry at the details/years/history- as a pre-med I found economics portion to be difficult to understand. He is very well receiving in office hours and clarifies many doubts you may have in the course. That said, the TA I had Schwartz was hard. He does do his best to keep the discussions going but overall the TA was a very hard grader. So discussions are huge portion of this class (20%) and basically they go over readings for the week. Mind you that the readings are almost never tested on the exam- even if they are, they would be very broad concept to make sure you have done the reading. So, my only regret is that the discussion sections should have a review on the lectures covered that week/previous week. The TA grades the essays harsh- I mean literally the max he gave for the essays (25%) was an A- because he "doesn't believe in As." I don't know how he graded the discussion class in general but generally everyone did well in A-range. Now the elephant in the room. The multiple choice based midterm and final....... The midterm is (25%) and is 100 Multiple choice exam with a LOT of "not/except" questions. The multiple choice are designed such that you get most of them right upper 70s/100. However, you are under time crunch- and getting in the 80s needs a lot of preparation. The MC test a lot of general concepts and most are word-for-word from the powerpoint- in graphs/legends/bullet points. However, the "which of the following not/except" questions take time and they will determine your grade. The average was a 73. So he gave 7 pts to curve the midterm to 80. The final (30%) average was 80%. The final also had an essay as well - which he said 4/5 would be given and we write on one. But was generous enough to put all of the prompts and told us to write one. So he tends to make the average 80% for both midterm/final. The course average is curved I believe to a B. So getting an A is not difficult. You are not competing with your peers, because grades are predetermined - A (93%), A- (90%)... etc. But preparing for the multiple choice is really hard- I got an A- in the class and I memorized all the slides. Key details do get tested (not years but names of all revolutionary heroes etc) as well the tangents that are not in the powerpoint!! Overall the class is difficult and do NOT go into the class with the expectation I'm going to do the readings and not attend the lecture and get an A. I believe this is the reason why students get stuck in the B-range grades because the exams test material that he goes on tangents about. Bottom line come to class and take good notes! Lastly, he does offer extra credit and it is worth doing them because they are forum migration lectures from professors from renown universities. They are simply inspiring to say the least! Would I take this class again? Yes! The professor is phenomenal and the course will shake your predetermined suppositions about Latin America as a backward country!! Essay-(5-7 pages) (25%) Midterm (100 MC) (25%) Final (70 MC) (30%) Discussion Participation (20%)

Apr 2015

Professor Moya is the best! As previously mentioned, his powerpoint are super easy to follow and he also puts them on Courseworks. His exams are not easy, and you will need to work and go to the lecture (during which he gives many additional details). The extra credits I received from going to the Forum of Migration helped my grade a lot, which is useful since he doesn't curve the exams grades.. I definitely recommend taking his class, you will learn a lot and Prof. Moya is really funny!!

Jan 2014

I like Moya as a lecturer. He's hilarious and his power points are easy to follow. He posts them on CourseWorks, but GO TO CLASS because he has a lot of verbal additions to each power point and he's incredibly interesting so you should want to go his classes. He offers extra credit if you attend the Forum of Migration lectures. If you attend all in the semester, you can go up a full letter grade. I attended half and it DEFINITELY helped my grade a lot. There is no curve for any of the assignments. Readings are so-so, some are really interesting, some drag on, but overall I loved the material. I learned so much about humanity taking this class. Definitely recommend.

Dec 2013

I can't stress enough how fantastic Professor Moya is. He's incredibly engaging, funny, knowledgeable and a clear, concise lecturer. Reviews of this class had me terrified but to be honest, it wasn't too bad. Yes, the 2 midterms were 100 MCQs without a curve, which means you do need to know your stuff BUT he lectures so well and clearly that you know EXACTLY what you need to know. As long as you go to class and take notes on what he says and know his powerpoints (which he posts to Courseworks) you're golden. He gives extra credit if you attend his events and all you need to do is sign your name on a sheet to get the credit. It's simple AND it helps make up for the fact that he doesn't curve the exams. Reading was very very light and basically ceased towards the middle of the semester. You do however have to read a sizable chunk of his book, which is actually really interesting so it's not even too bad. There's also 1 5-page paper on any topic of your choice. Overall, I'd say take the class. It was really interesting and there wasn't a single moment where I wasn't completely focused on the material. Professor Moya is fabulous and hysterical. He's incredibly smart and interesting to talk to. Definitely go to office hours.

May 2012

started out as a good class - lots of history especially when we covered individual latin america countries' revolutionary wars. but after the first midterm, things went downhill. i expected, at the very least, for prof. moya to cover true history/politics of the last 40/50 years, and at the very least che, castro, and peron. at the very, very least. he didn't cover those, just barely mentioned them. 2nd half ended up being more demographics and statistics than history which was very disappointing.

Mar 2012

This is the first Culpa review I write and the following is going to be said because I think the reviews for this class are enormously misleading. For starters, yes, Moya is a very enderaing professor. He is humorous, kind, and always adds interesting anecdotes to his lectures. He is also very informed on the subject matter (as is attested through his book Cousins and Strangers). With that said however, I certainly would not consider him the best lecturer I have had. The class is essentially the professor reading/paraphrazing his lecture notes. When the lecture notes are so easily available online, it becomes difficult to concentrate in class and feel motivated to attend (though I have attended each class to date). A comment on the lecture notes: they are far too detailed. The notes focus on dates, names, and facts as opposed to larger concepts and ideas. This is the only class I have taken in college that has so greatly emphasized what I would consider trivial items. Finally, a comment on the midterm: it was 100 questions of multiple choice that basically asked you for these small details. For a person who has never taken a class on latin america I found it pretty difficult. I also felt all the time I spent studying (and I spent a whole lot of time studying) what I deemed as important concepts had gone to waste.Surprise: the class average was a 75. Most of the reviews on this page state this is an easy and relaxing class. I took this class with these expectations in mind. This will be the first class I pass/fail in all my time here. This was a big mistake.

Dec 2011

The previous reviews for this class (or what seems to have been a similar version to this class) remark on how Moya is an incredible professor but you shouldn't take the class because of another professor who co-taught it. Thankfully, that professor is no longer teaching this course with Moya, but I still can't say I enjoyed my time in this class. Moya himself is a wonderful, charming man with an interesting life story and a fondness for going off on tangents. I was at first in love with the class, but I realized it was only because I enjoyed hearing him speak so much. Also, because there was literally no homework. No readings, no textbook, all the PowerPoints online. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, not so much. Without readings and a textbook, the classes was incredibly unfocused. The lectures consisted of a series of statistics on immigration to Latin America. This country was the top destination for the Chinese. This country was the second-top destination for the Chinese. Or, there was a slave revolt in this year, and another one in this year. Seems like the kind of stuff that you usually avoid writing in your notes because it's not the big picture. Or if you do write it down, you don't write down every single number, just the main ideas (e.g. these three countries sent a lot of people to Brazil). Well, then the 100-question, multiple-choice midterm arrived, and I had no idea how to study. I reviewed my notes but was at a loss because most of them consisted of these statistics. I decided just to go for it having reread the lectures and committed the big concepts to memory. It turned out that at least 75% of the test were sentences or data from the PowerPoints rephrased as questions. Some of them stood out in my mind because we had dwelled on them for more than a minute. Others (like the meaning of an obscure Aztec word that I tossed off as a charming bit of irrelevant trivia) didn't. As a result, the midterm was curved heavily (I think my 82 became an 89). The rest of the semester proceeded in the same, somewhat dull fashion. On principle I hate cutting class, but as a non-morning person who lived quite far from the building, and knowing that literally everything I needed to know would be in the lectures online, I often slept through it. I don't feel like I really learned all that much about Latin American migration. I could tell you some very general things which I probably had also learned in high school history classes, and a handful of statistics that have stuck with me, but not much else. There were very few overarching connections that we made. We purchased two books for the class, one by Moya, and I'm pretty sure they were mentioned once. (Possible that it was a lecture I missed, but still, other than being potential essay topics on the final—see below—they were never relevant.) One of the books was basically an encyclopedia of statistics on Latinos in the U.S. The final was 100 multiple-choice questions again, plus one essay. He gave us three potential topics ahead of time, he put two on the test, you wrote one. On top of all that, you could (very generously) bring in two pages of data and outline. Of the three topics, one was on slavery (with hints telling us to go to the only assigned reading we had all semester for our evidence), another was on one chapter of his book, and the other asked us to discuss various statistics in all the charts and tables in the other book, which I simply wrote down on my outline and transcribed on the final. Most incredible part of the whole course: Moya ran six lectures across the semester as part of Barnard's Forum on Migration. If you went to four, your grade was bumped up by 1/3. They lasted an hour and they served food and wine. They were actually quite interesting, too. But no response paper, no discussion posting, nothing required—just sign your name on the mailing list.

Jun 2010

Why does Professor Moya not have a gold nugget yet? His class was one of the best I've taken at Columbia. If you want to get a good idea of what Professor Moya looks like/acts like, Google "The Most Interesting Man in the World - Dos Equis". It seems that the beer company studied Moya down to the last detail for inspiration: the beard, the exotic accent, the fantastic life story. According to his UCLA bio (he used to teach at UCLA before taking a full professorship at Barnard, although this class is technically a Columbia course), he was born in socialist Cuba, moved to Franco's Spain, then immigrated to the USA, where he worked as a truck driver and janitor before getting his PhD and becoming one of the foremost experts in his field. Moya's knowledge of Latin American history is extensive and his delivery impeccable. In writing the course book - Cousins and Strangers: Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires, 1850-1930, Moya conducted primary research on shipping manifolds, census records, and more creative sources like collections of Spanish plays and poems. This deep knowledge of his subject material is evident in his lectures, which are incredibly entertaining to boot. Last semester, Moya and Barnard College were also hosting the Forum on Migration, in which experts from universities across the globe came to speak and hold discussions with Moya and each other. I am not sure whether he was trying to motivate us to witness the entertaining and edifying discussions or whether he just wanted a good audience for the talks, but Prof. Moya gave us one extra credit point on our final grade for each lecture we attended. It was the most astounding display of extra credit I have ever witnessed - after attending four lectures my grade was raised from a borderline A to an A+. I don't know if extra credit like this is typical for Moya's classes, but I'll take whatever I can get...

May 2009

There is one positive aspect of World Migration, and one alone: Professor Moya, who is knowledgeable, engaging, and clear in his presentation of the material. The negatives: McKeown's incomprehensible lectures, the unhelpful TAs, and the horrific and impossible exams. Take anything you can with Prof Moya, but NOT this class. Even his superior teaching does not balance out the stress caused by the negatives. Previous reviews say that this course is an easy 'A,' which is completely beyond me. Most people I talked to took this class P/D/F, and STRUGGLED to pass! Studying for exams is difficult because McKeown's notes and lectures (which comprise about 1/2 of the material and therefore 1/2 of the exam questions) are pretty much useless. I remember sitting in his lectures, pen in hand, attempting to take some worthwhile notes down, and leaving class with a blank sheet. Bottom line: this class is completely overrated.

May 2009

It's obvious everyone takes this class because Moya teaches it. McKeown--his other half--is abosuletly by far THE worst lecturer i have ever had. he talks about extremely broad themes but never stays on point and is a complete bore. He doesn't seem very knowledgeable either. The TAs for this class are INCOMPETENT and the grading is HORRIFIC. Everyone Pass Fails the class after realizing what a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE mistake they made by taking it. The class average on a midterm should not a 70, especially when everyone is actually trying to do well and is studying. STAY AWAY STAY FAR FAR AWAY

May 2009

Moya made the classes interesting and exciting BUT not curving the class meant that students were slaving towards the end to get a decent grade. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS IF YOU ARE JUST INTERESTED IN FULFILLING HISTORY REQUIREMENT. The workload is light but "no curve policy" kills it all. The TAs for this class are useless and offer no "real" help.

Nov 2007

Moya is, flat out, the best Professor in Morningside Heights. World Migrations is an awesome class that gives you a way to think about how humans have come to live in the places they do and why. Offered a very unique way to look at history through scientific, economic, and social lens. DO NOT GRADUATE WITHOUT TAKING A CLASS WITH THIS GUY

Jun 2007

I love Moya. He has to be one of the best and funniest professors. He is able to get you excited about the subject by not only telling you things you need to know, but also recounting little anecdotes about historical figures. I thought his lectures were really well organized and he presented in the same manner. I really recommend this class because it is NOT stressful, and it is very interesting. All you have to do is take good notes. You DO NOT have to do the reading. I would even advise against it because you might begin to think you need to know things that you really do not.

Jan 2007

Jose Moya co-taught World Migration with Adam McKeown this semester, but Moya was definitely the more interesting part of the duo. He does have this life force around him, and his Cuban accent makes him that much more endearing. Its clear that he truly loves teaching, and the kind of things he teaches you leave me sort of awed. So many little interesting facts - the kind of facts you can bring up at dinner with family or that will make you good at jeopardy. Almost like the DaVinci Code, but intelligent. Very great professor, comes highly recommended. Class itself was very light workload. Multiple choice midterm and final, and easy research paper about a migration. The easiest A.

Mar 2006

This guy not only knows his stuff but has a certain awkwardness about him that is quite endearing. Able to elaborate on specific little topics of human history and the migration of all the major peoples. Doesn't take roll, but you'll find yourself attending - even when it's a 9am class. Students love him - I was skeptical at first upon hearing his thick accent, but my stereotype was shattered the moment I listened to the brilliant articulation of his words. As soon as you get used to his accent, you'll really love this guy, not only for the interesting material but also for his giddy personality. Definitely someone you can talk to on a personal level, and never shuts down anyone, even when asked the most inane questions. By all means, take him if you can.

Nov 2005

From day one, our class knew we were in for a ride. Prof Moya started out the first lecture guzzling water from a student's Nalgene bottle, joking about spanish cartoons and a trying to draw maps of south america on the board that didn't really resemble, well, anything. So... he's new, he's quality and he's AWESOME! I promise you, you will never look at history quite the same way after his class. What used to be considered a dull, dry subject comes alive with his jokes, bizzare but hilarious comments, quirks (i.e. his personal obsession with UNESCO world heritage sites) and occasional yet endearing english slip-ups, i.e. "adding salt to injury" instead of "insult to injury", "de-bat" instead of "dee-bate" etc. Only a minor detail though, his english is phenomenal and he has no impeding accent, probably because of the 500 pg book he authored about immigration in argentina. He takes questions in class, ranging from nit-picking pre-law students looking to fufill there "outside their concentration" history class requirement to recommendations about surfing in Puerto Rico (no, seriously). but the class is structured pretty well, so it's pretty much a straightforward lecture. Its so good that most people actually come to every lecture, even though it's a 9am class. my advice is take it, take it, take it!

Nov 2005

By far the most wonderful professor I've had in my entire 4 years here at Columbia (actually, 3.5 years). I plan to take BOTH of his classes next semester...even if it means waking up at 9am to do. He's worth it. For a native Spanish speaker, his command of the English language is UNBELIEVABLE. He speaks English better than anyone I know. TAKE HIS CLASS IF YOU CAN!!! We're so lucky to have stolen him from UCLA. Apparently, he's famous there, so make his trip to the east coast worthwhile. Show him how grateful we are to have him by taking his class. You won't be sorry.