professor
Serhiy Bilenky

Dec 2010

This was absolutely one of the worst classes I've ever taken at Columbia. The professor was really difficult to understand, and I spent the first few weeks deciphering what he was trying to say, unable to even understand what was actually going on. The class was divided by major cities in Eastern Europe and had them represent different urban issues. This was an awful division. Not only did everything over lap, the history and time periods were scattered and jumbled, making it impossible to create a coherent historical time period. The class was subtitled "cholera and streetcars," and we never talked about cholera. I feel like the class had a lot of potential, and sounded great to begin with, but it was painfully boring. Serhiy Bilenky really knows his stuff; he is well read and is truly an intelligent man. He's really approachable and an overall nice guy, however, his teaching style still did not make this class worth it. He's super laid back, in almost an indifferent way, and didn't really challenge us as a class. The readings were rarely posted on time and the books were never made available for purchase at BookCulture like he said they would be (obviously there were other places to obtain the books). He seemed to not really care about the class and this definitely translated in his reception from the class. There are better history courses out there. This is an easy A, but don't waste your time.