Robert Barnett

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Jan 2014

Prof. Barnett is probably one of the best professors I've had at Columbia. His class was tiny, and his soft voice can sometimes be a bit soothing to nod off to, but the stuff he says is so fascinating, his analysis so sharp, and his passion so deep that it's hard to fall asleep in his class at all. Readings were average for a grad-level course, as was the workload, but he does expect his students to do very good research. I think he's a bit more lenient on the grading, since I pulled off an A, although I did all the work and went to every class. He also takes advantage of all the cultural opportunities in New York concerning Tibet, which was really cool. He hosts talks with high-level lamas, we went to movie screenings, dance performances, etc. It's amazing to be in such close contact with a scholar of his caliber. Oh, also, he's THE scholar of Tibet in the US. Started the Tibet program at Columbia, and made the first PhD in Tibetan Studies happen. If you're at all interested in Tibet, you need to take a course with Robbie. Finally: he only has a BA, and is a very good stilt walker, clown, circus performer, and puppeteer. Ask him about that, it's fascinating. Robbie is also the most caring professor I've had, and goes way out of his way to meet with, discuss things at length with, and just hang out with his students.

May 2011

Most dedicated instructor I have had the pleasure of taking a class with. Prof. Barnett is an world-renowned expert in his field and, in my opinion, one of the best kept secrets at Columbia. I am shocked that he manages to have classes that are so small and students aren't flocking to his classes. Seriously, he is not only extremely knowledgeable about what he teaches, but he truly wants his students to grow and if you want more information about certain topics, he will do all he can to help you. Do NOT, however, expect to get an A. He sent us a document that said students would receive an A only if their papers were of a publishable quality. Overall though, totally worth it. Best class and best prof. I have had (and I'm not even an EALAC major!)

Jan 2008

Prof. Barnett is one of the most interesting and caring instructors I have had at Columbia. He is not only extremely knowledgable about Tibet and the modern issues surrounding it, but has extensive experience in fields outside of academia that give him a broad perspective. He is very willing to spend time one-on-one with students, and will help you with any academic problem when you need it. He is also funny and caring, a real pleasure to learn from. I deeply appreciated the time he took with us, and the energy and creativity he put into his teaching. If you have any interest in the subjects he teaches, I strongly recommend taking a class with Prof. Barnett.