professor
Nanor Kenderian

May 2012

Do not ever take this woman's class. This is a solemn warning. If you are a masochist then you will definitely enjoy her lectures because all she brings is pain - mind destroying pain. Your Lit Hum experience will be ruined and your self confidence along with it. Every student in this class was psychologically scarred after one semester, except of course for those one or two sycophantic teacher's pets. She has not only yelled at people in class but also "anonymously" ridiculed every member of the class by reading parts of their first essay in front of all of the students. Wait, there's more! She then proceeded to ask the students to criticize the essays that were written by their peers. Save yourself.

Apr 2011

If you want an easy A, do not take this course with Nanor. She's just as harsh as everyone else says she is here: not only does she give low scores, she also has very high grade boundaries. She doesn't curve. In fact, after she'd finished grading the first paper of the first semester she spent forty minutes giving us a grammar / punctuation lesson, telling us that we were writing as if English were our second language. So be warned -- she's one tough (and rather terrifying) lady. I cannot stress that enough because so much of the Columbia population is grade-centric. One last comment on this subject is that we had around 20 people in the beginning, around 18 by the end of the first semester, and we went through the second semester with six people who were there from the beginning, and three new kids (she let us around half an hour early after that). For those of us who care more about what we learn than our GPAs, I would advise you to try out her class for a while. The workload honestly isn't that much, our exams (midterm counts for 5% of the grade, final for 10%) are just formalities and I learned a lot from this year. I talked to a few kids who switched to other sections in the second semester, and the general consensus is that although other professors are much more lenient, their discussions aren't nearly as interesting.

Mar 2011

I can't express how much I love Nanor's Lit Hum class. I will admit, however, that it took some time for me to get used to her (first semester was pretty rough) and I thought about switching sections for second semester. I'm glad I didn't. She is absolutely brilliant, probably one of the most brilliant teachers I've had in my entire life. She never fails to reveal some exciting and insightful facet of whatever text we're reading. She's also helped my literary analysis improve dramatically. With all this praise, however, I also have to point out the negative aspects. Like I said, it takes some time getting used to her as she can be quite intimidating. If you come to class with some weak, BS interpretation about Homer or Dante, she'll call you out on it and make you look like a dumb ass in front of everyone. She has extremely high expectations for her students, so if you want to cruise by in Lit Hum, this class probably isn't for you. In my opinion, it's a wonderful class, and if you want to get something out of it, then you should definitely sign up for Nanor's section.

Jan 2011

When I sat down the first day of Lit Hum, I was super nervous because of what CULPA had to say, but I left at the end of the year feeling like I had a rewarding experience. Yes, Professor Kebranian/Kenderian (for some reason both get used, I think she prefers the former) has a somewhat severe look about her, and I'm sure if a class started to give her too much shit she'd shut it down hard. But the Nanor that we had in our Lit Hum was just as likely to make a joke as she was to chastise you...actually probably more so. To be fair, a lot of people participated in class, which kept the discussion going, which is the way she likes to run things...she probably gets a little more testy when greeted with nothing but silence. I actually thought she was a great Lit Hum teacher, definitely above average. Don't try and get out of it just because of what you read here...give her a shot. Her style's not for everyone, but we had quite diverse personalities in our room and most people seemed to get along just fine.

Nov 2009

Do not take her class if you want an easy A. The discussions in class can go in any direction- you as students influence the direction of the discussions. She praises whacky, abstract, out there ideas. Each student needs to do a presentation of a book for 1 hr. She awards a lot of Bs (B-, B, B+). Very hard to get an A. She likes original ideas. She does not grade mathematically (as in she will not take your marks and divide it by 2 to get your average). You can get an F on your first paper and then get an A+ on the next, and she will see this progress as good work ethic and then give you an A in the end. That said, she never awards good marks, so either way, you will get a B or B+. She is not organized. She likes to focus on the 'philosophical' ideas related to the texts, rather than the text itself. She is very good at this and can make you interested in philosophical thematic ideas. She doesn't go over papers or midterms. She doesn't seem to care about the students. You can send her drafts of your papers, but she takes forever to reply, therefore there is not much time to make corrections before the deadline. She is extremely intense. The classes are not for the faint hearted. More than 2 absences are not permitted. If you don't like to talk in class, you will be disadvantaged. Don't take her class! Save yourself! If you do, transfer to SEAS and wait to take Lit Hum with the freshmen next year! Her grading scale is ridiculous: A+ : 99-100 A: 97-98 A-: 94-96 B+: 90-93 B: 85-89 B-: 80-84

May 2009

Absolutely terrible. As stated in other reviews, Nanor had zero knowledge of the subject matter, and couldn't be bothered to do any research before class. She simply led us through a wild goose chase of wordplay that would have strained even the most generous of English majors, and dumped post-colonialist, Freudian BS in our laps for two hours every week. Add that to a self-important air and an unwillingness to return emails or meet outside of class, and you have yourself a real winner. Avoid at all costs.

May 2009

It's a shame that this class turned out as badly as it did. I took the other AHUM (China/Korea/Japan) and it was a pleasure. The professor knew her stuff and the students got some lively debates going that never got obnoxious the way they always did in Lit Hum. Kenderian is not a fan of the discussion. Each week we were treated to 2 hours of her Q&A sessions: she asks question, a student answers. She asks new question. Student answers. Questions along the line of "how is the Sun like eyes?" which she seemed to think warranted a thirty minute discussion that culminated in her triumphant, "The reason we discussed that was to prove that this text isn't as contradictory as you thought!" This wouldn't even be a good point to make if anybody had been making this claim. Nobody signed up for this class so they could have the value of the texts proven to them, especially in such an inane manner. It was frustrating to be treated like the enemy by our own professor. If she had looked at us as willing, fairly intelligent individuals happy to discuss the texts, maybe she would have at least given us an inch. Instead, the majority of the questions were along the lines of, "How would you describe this?" which meant, "What touchy-feely word am I thinking of that describes this?" The woman might as well hold a playing card up backwards and have us guess it; at least we have a 1/52 chance and it's an admitted waste of time. On the other hand, by the end of the semester, we had figured out that it was probably going to be phallus, reproduction, or memory. So I guess that narrowed the odds. She cut the Middle Eastern texts from the syllabus so we could go more "in depth" with the Indian texts. 30 minute sun-eye comparisons are apparently college-level in depth discussions. (Of course then she dumped Muslim texts on us at the end of the semester without any lead-up readings which of course infantalized the discussions once again to AP English imagery, imagery that could be valid and interesting topics if she bothered to contextualize beyond reading aloud an awkward translation of a Rumi poem.) If Kenderian has done any sort of supplemental or secondary reading on the material, she doesn't bring it up in class. In fact, she gives the impression that she has never looked at these texts until three days before class, when she decided to let us know what pages to read-- no getting your work done ahead of time in this class-- and this fact of unfamiliarity plus her status as professor were still not enough to encourage her to do a little research. The TA, who knew this stuff, spent the whole time looking resigned to her fate. Anybody who tried to raise a point, complication, argument, or ask a question was ignored. God forbid anyone try to argue against Nanor's old standby: reproduction and women and stuff. Or something. As with any class, these are complicated, interesting texts that Nanor reduced to discussions of women, phallic symbols, and reproduction. Sure, sometimes these are valid points but these aren't the only valid points. I hate to imagine that we spent two hours a week letting Nanor take out the ticking of her biological clock on us. She is obviously a very smart person and the texts were great but she is a disaster in a seminar; I can imagine she would give a good, if reductive, lecture on something, but that wasn't why we were here. This class has a good format and could have been great but not if she's anywhere near it. I took this class out of personal interest and was really disappointed, so I feel really bad for the kids who had to take it for credit or departmental requirements.

Mar 2009

This class is a travesty of Columbia Education. First and foremost, Nanor has no idea what the heck she's talking about. I have taken two classes about India, and I know more than she does about the texts. For some reason, she decided to only teach Indian texts (despite the title of the course) and she clearly doesn't know them. She doesn't know Sanskrit or the history of the period, so she can't make any intelligent claims about the context of the works. Not only that, but she picks the most sickening translations of the works I have ever seen. She tries to pick plot-based translations of beautiful epics, and completely ruins them. Its the biggest waste of two hours a week I've ever seen. She tries to get us to come to her random conclusions by asking open ended leads that make no sense to anyone, so we all just stare blankly - sometimes the answer will be an obvious statement that she just wanted restated, sometimes its some literary bullshit no one would have been able to get from her question. DONT TAKE THIS CLASS WITH NANOR IF YOU VALUE YOUR TIME. I hope she never teaches a class on India again.

Jan 2009

Nanor is one of the newest hires from MEALAC, which might be trying to bring in some new blood following their previous controversies. That might sound like a negative, but Nanor's Armenian blood flows strong in this what often seemed like an intense Lit Hum version of the ME. I was unsure of the class, especially after her strong and extremely intelligent opening remarks in the 10 person class, but I realized that she opened up my eyes to each text every week. She would help steer one of the most intellectual conversations probably at the university each week, and made this class often exhilarating. Apparently she graded the first paper roughly, but I did well on it and then only continued to improve throughout the class. Stick with her for a couple weeks if you are unsure—and then judge if you like the class.