WOW. I am deeply obsessed with Ellen Morris. Her enthusiastic attitude guiding a seminar was an amazing learning experience. Take a class with her, no matter your department (I did this for Barnard tech req). She is always available for office hours and SO MUCH FUN! She is not a fan of grades so genuinely I do not know mine but she loves the class as a whole so I assume we are doing well.
BEST CLASS I HAVE EVER TAKEN!!! The material covered in readings and discussions is always fascinating, the readings are a bit long and dense though. But totally worth the amazing class discussions. Essentially this class felt like the equivalent of watching a mind blowing movie or Black Mirror episode and then getting to discuss it and go off on super interesting tangents with an entire group of smart and interesting people, every single class. Sometimes this actually means watching movies like Inception and The Matrix. My only criticism is that I don't think Professor Morris' feedback on essays was helpful at all. I really enjoyed writing my first draft every time because the material was really cool to write about, however always dreaded the revision in which you have to make edits according to her arbitrary preferences. By the end of this class you have a ton of knowledge on alternate states of consciousness and if you're into questioning reality and all that cool stuff you will have endless questions and thoughts and love this. Also a super cool thing that happened was that I would start having vivid dreams that relating to dreaming patterns we had learned about. People constantly brought up visions, religious experiences, psychotic experiences, drug trips etc that related and it was all mind-blowing.
Professor Morris is one of the most understanding professors I have had the opportunity to meet. The class is pretty straight forward and organized too. She uploads all of the reading material to Courseworks (yay no book) under folders with labeled due dates. Keep in mind they're suggested reading for the lecture. Her teaching style is very seminar/lecture -esque. Questions are always welcome, but she speaks the entire time with an accompanying powerpoint. She speaks fast, and about key points that are not on her powerpoint. Either write quickly or remember everything. The midterm and final are both essay based. They're super easy if you prep and attend class. She gives 5-6 prompts a week before, and 3-4 of the questions are word for word. There are also extra credit opportunities, so you have to really try to fail her class. Midterm, final and class project are the only things that are actually graded (besides the recitation grade) This class is the only one this semester that I genuinely looked forward to going to. I got there early and I sat in the front - two things I almost never do.
Ellen is one of the most wonderful professors I have met so far at Barnard. Taking this class during my first semester of college was a fantastic decision to make, since Ellen is incredibly encouraging, so participating in class discussions was never daunting (unlike some of the other classes I have since taken). She sometimes directs the conversation to certain people if they haven't said anything yet but is never too pushy, and also told us at the beginning of the semester that if we found it difficult to speak in class to talk to her privately so that she can work with us individually and perhaps make some accommodations for our participation grade. Additionally, her anecdotes can be really funny, and she brings a really positive vibe to the classroom. Some readings can be incredibly long and heavy, as another review mentioned, but as long as you read enough of it to make some insightful comments in class and pay attention to the discussion, you should be fine. During one-on-one meetings, Ellen was always very helpful and made very specific suggested improvements, which certainly helped me to improve the quality of my papers and writing in general. I highly recommend this class!
I absolutely loved this class! Ellen is so kind and knowledgeable, and she has a genuine interest in the subject matter. She does a great job of choosing a variety of materials in order to engage everyone in the class. The topics covered span from psychology and neuroscience to literature and film, so the class was able to touch on everyone's strengths. Ellen is a very fair grader and always gives great, straightforward feedback. She facilitates interesting discussions in class, and people were eager to participate. Attending this class was an absolute joy. Ellen also really cares about her students and their lives outside of class, and gave a couple of paper extensions during stressful parts of the semester. She is a fantastic woman. Long story short: take this class!! It has been my favorite class here so far! Highlights from the course: discussing Inception, psychoanalysis à la Freud, looking at a dream bank containing written accounts of real people's dreams, a trip to see a dream-related art exhibit at the Whitney.
I found this course pretty manageable even though I did have two stem classes: calc III and physics I at the same time. It is probably recommended that you have some interest in psychology focusing on dreams of course, to get you through the class as some of the readings are very very long and dry. I will say though, that there are a few hidden gems in the assigned readings that really inspired me and had me researching topics we discussed in class on my own time. My impression of the class's general attitude by the end was that there were a few people who thought the professor had favorites and felt they were being viewed negatively, while another few kids got positive attention in class and were encouraged to speak up more. That was one thing that seemed odd to me. Anyways, I got a lot out of this course and it truly built up my confidence in sharing my own ideas, as there are few wrong "ideas" you can share in this class. It rarely felt like just a writing class. It felt like an exploration of one's own philosophy and the "what is life" question was brought up many times.
I took Professor Morris' Dreams and Nightmares class and while Professor Morris is very sweet and her class is filled with discussion, it is still really difficult to stay engaged in the topic. The readings are very boring and long and her nightly blog posts are the death of me. I recommend you only take this course if you are planning on majoring in something neurologically related such as psych or are pre-med.
Professor Morris is pretty down to earth, very approachable and welcoming when you visit her in office hours. She brought chocolate which she passed around during the midterm and final. The readings were light and consistent for this course, not too bad. I have to admit though that this was one of the driest courses I have ever taken. The lectures consist of you going from site to site, talking about what has been unearthed there and a few ideas concerning its use at the time. I had a friend who was going to visit Egypt so he was doing research of his own on places to visit and he would ask me about them to see what I had learned from class and almost always they were places we had not discussed in lecture. This is not a course for the academic tourist, rather its seems to be geared towards those students who are really very interested in archaeology and getting into the details of the lives of the people instead of large impressive monuments. I really wanted to learn more about the pyramids which are so unbelievable in the manner in which they were constructed that I was hoping to spend quite a bit of time on that but, alas, we breezed through them in half a class during the first few weeks. At the end of the day I don't really feel like I learned much from this course which will be useful going forward, I do feel like I learned a lot of things that would be useful if I were going into the field of Egyptian Archeology, however. I recommend going to the first two weeks of this class, if you like the pace and material of those first two weeks, the rest of the semester stays pretty much the same.
Professor Morris is a fantastic human being. Her course was great too! Essentially, this class covers Egyptian history from the Late Period to Late Antiquity. This course has a great deal of depth despite the broad scope. We discussed social, political, religious, and identity issues that the Egyptians faced throughout history under the power of the Assyrians, Nubian Kushites, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Professor Morris also has an extensive knowledge of Egyptian archaeology and knows the Ancient Egyptian language as well. As her main area of interest is the New and Middle Kingdom of Egypt, there were definitely lapses in her knowledge in some areas. She also didn't have knowledge of Latin or Greek, but that is because she's really an Egyptologist, not really a Classicist. I was still impressed by the amount of scholarship and primary sources we read, so she had clearly learned much about the subject. She is incredibly nice and often extended my final paper deadlines, which was great. She also wanted all students to be on a first name basis with her. This was truly a wonderful and informative class.
I took Professor Morris's Identity and Society in Ancient Egypt class and it was a wonderful experience! I highly recommend the class based not only on the material (which was fascinating), but also because Professor Morris is one of those terrific teachers who truly love teaching their subject. She is an absolute delight to learn from and presents the material is a very organized and thorough manner. I had never taken an Egyptology course before this class, but it didn't negatively affect me because Professor Morris presents a well-rounded history of ancient Egypt that explained both basic historical events and wider reaching societal customs including important cultural moments and ideas. I would absolutely recommend this class to anyone, whether interested specifically in Egyptian history or not, as it is a well taught class about an incredibly interesting subject.