Jonathan Abel

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Feb 2006

I agree w/ previous posts-- he is dedicated to his students and allowed us to explore many of the themes that we touched upon in class in ways that interested us. Overall I was most impressed with the insights he brought to teh texts. He chose a very strange selection of books-- Chinese porn, Rushdie, Russian war lit, Americana (the ugly american), etc-- which makes sense, given that this is a comparative lit and also a course on BANNED books. But a less talented professor wouldn't have chosen that wide a variety of texts without the ability to tie it all together in some coherent manner. He divided the texts into different categories (Sexual bans, political bans, and one other I forgot) and these themes helped unify the readings. I was able to draw similarities between books I had never thought were alike at all because of this book. I value the way this course made you think "outside the box" and relate literature of different contexts. I have never had a course that trained me to think in that way. For a course that Abel put together for the first time, I felt it was quite successful.

Dec 2005

The class delicately balanced the historical background, political contexts, and close literary analysis for each banned work. This seems a formidable task, but Professor Abel not only organized each lecture to cover the three issues, he also posed intriguing and at times controversial questions. He's dedicated to his students and work; he offered an additional section for one of the class meeting days so half the not-so-morning folks were cut some slack, and writing workshops in preparation for essay work. Professor Abel is very amicable and extremely patient. It's rare to find a professor of his intellectual caliber who is willing to work alongside the students and so generous with his time.

Dec 2005

Professor Abel will expose you to books in a nuanced and exceptionally engaging manner. He has so much knowledge about censorship and the historical contexts surrounding each work. He will draw connections across times, themes, and places that will suprise you. He really cares about his students, "forcing" everyone to attend office hours. He wanted to encourage discussion so much so that he devoted an additional hour for this express purpose. Great selection of works, from the very well known to stories that you have been glad to be introduced to!!! He is also very fond of multimedia, incorporating powerpoint presentations, film, music, and textual analysis during class. He is a decent lecturer but better in small conversation groups.