professor
Ja Hyun Haboush

Jan 2009

i took this class and frankly it sucked. Worst history class ever. She tried to make up for her horrible lectures by assigning obscene amounts of reading which she would never go over in class. Her lectures consisted of very terse and general statements and even failed to fill up a page of notes. I'm a history major and most of my classes even the introductory ones fill up at least 2-3 pages every lecture. I don't think her lectures ever got me to think about anything meaningful in class. I'm korean and i'm embarassed that this women is representing the Korean history deparment at a school like Columbia University. I pretty much agree with the first comments. Her english is pretty bad and she often uses hand gestures or more primitive signs to deliver the message and i mean this is a history class that has abstract ideas. There's only so much hands and facial expressions can deliver. About the readings, the course packet was thick. It was about twice the size of my other history classes and cost 125 dollars. 125 dollars! enough to buy 3 coursepackets for other classes. Guess where most of the copyright fees went to? Her! She wrote like 4-5 out of the 20-40 articles on there. It's a lot of reading for each class and mostly useless since she never discusses them in a fruitful fashion. Also she has this view that a lot of the students don't study and try to get away with "gentlemen Cs" and in class over numerous occasions emphasized this. I will give her credit that she writes good articles all to the point. But she has no people skills to translate that into words and ends up treating you like a high schooler even though that may not be intended. To make things even worse, at the end the semester, she got pissed off people were not responding to her questions on the readings. Like two weeks or maybe even a week before finals, she said she was going to put an id question on the final. For the question you would be given a passage from any reading after the finals (like 24 articles) and you would have to write an whole essay on that. That was infuriating since a lot of people already had so many papers and exams. In conclusion, I will summarized her in two words, "she sucks." Never take her classes. I've never felt strongly against a professor before, but I sure as hell feel strongly opposed to her. By the way, I got an A- in this class so my concerns are pretty legitimate.

Dec 2008

Professor Haboush's classes are definitely demanding. That being said, it was the first time in an undergraduate history class I felt the professor made an effort to introduce a scholarly voice and debate into the lectures instead of mindlessly spewing dates and names ad nauseam. The readings were tough, but mostly relevant and she presents diverse and fairly objective POVs. I disagree with the reviewer of Haboush's Intro to East Asian Civ class (the review from Sept 5, 2008) on a few points - especially about her English being hard to understand - I've had the same problems with any number of teachers at Columbia. Her pronunciation has nothing to do with her lucidity and command of English and after a few classes it wasn't much of an issue. As for her getting mad - it was actually pretty clear what she didn't like. People not doing the readings and answering her questions with blank looks. She is somewhat particular to her own articles but then again, most professors are. So if you at least skim over the articles before class and give a few additional minutes to her articles, you shouldn't have a problem with this. Sure, this class is not for you if you want to boost your GPA with a minimum of work. But if you are an undergraduate student who is seriously considering further studies in the humanities or East Asian studies, it'll be a valuable introductory insight into what kind of readings and work you'll be expected to do later on.

Sep 2008

Well she is Korean first of all so I guess you are getting a genuine Korean-taught Korean civilization education, except that you really are not. Her lecture is focused so much on the literature of Korean civilization that you will hardly learn anything factual. She will go onto wild tangents about how some of the important people were described in Korean literature, which is understandable given that she is a pretty famous scholar on Korean literature and have written many books that you will be forced to read. Second, her English is kinda hard to understand. If you are Korean you will have no problem, but I wonder how other students will perceive her way of describing things. She often employs various gestures to make up for her being unable to quickly come up with descriptions and with her skeleton-thin (she looks like the undead race in the World of Warcraft honestly speaking) physique everything looks exaggerated. She is also kind of short on temper, she got really mad couple of times through the semester, both times which students could not understand what she was mad at. Her not having a good TA to clean up the mess is another problem. Given that, class is seemingly easy, but be aware if you expected to get an A in this class, as majority of the class failed to get even A-. There is no curve and everything is counted numerically. FYI sucking up on her will not work either, she went on a vacation about two days before final and she will not answer your e-mails whatsoever. Try to avoid this class if you can unless you are immensely attracted by Korean literature, this class will not boost your GPA.