professor
Josef Sorett

Apr 2021

I'm here for Elleza. Sorett was decent though... Elleza was such a good TA. Honestly, she (or Rhonesha) should have been the head TA and not Alex (no disrespect to him). Where is her golden nugget? Elleza made this class bearable. For discussion sections, she often included presentations and other materials to help us to contextualize the week's assigned readings in a historical, social, cultural, and political context. I felt very equipped to tackle the class material. She was also super helpful in clarifying the readings and facilitated invigorating discussion around the reading. Discussion sections with Elleza were the highlight of my day. Moreover, she provided useful feedback and comments on our essays and even met with me to help me plan how to write the final exam, as I found the assignment somewhat challenging. Not only is she an effective instructor discussion facilitator, but she also is incredibly caring. She expressed concern for our general wellbeing and mental health and advocated for us to have trigger warnings for readings with explicit content. She was also somewhat flexible with the deadlines for response papers. She fostered an environment in which students felt supported and motivated to engage with the course material. If you can take a course with Elleza, please do. It will probably be the highlight of your undergraduate studies. I get sad thinking about how happy I was takin

May 2020

This class had so much potential to be great and extremely enlightening, but honestly if you look up "religion and hip hop" online, you will learn the same amount that I did in this course. Lectures were either essential (meaning that you learned everything about hip hop music in the '70s, for example), completely pointless rehashings of material covered in said essential lectures, or "listening parties" where students bring in a song from a certain decade that has religious themes. The only reason I went to lectures was the mandatory attendance form that needed to be completed to prove you were in class that day. I really didn't learn anything in this course, I only found some new songs to listen to. Sorett is a pretty entertaining lecturer, but because we kind of went over the same content every day and learned very little about religion's interaction with hip hop (besides the fact that a lot of rappers are Christians, or 5%ers, or Muslims), lectures themselves weren't that great. I did like him as a professor though; he was super kind and understanding about students' varying circumstances at home. I just don't recommend this course whatsoever.

Dec 2017

Really really enjoyed this class. Sorrett is a great lecturer and the readings are really easy and interesting. The class overall is a great way to learn more about African American studies and get the global core requirement in. Definitely one of the best global cores you can take. hour and 15 min lecture twice a week plus mandatory 50 minute recitation that helps you get a grasp on the main themes of the course

Dec 2010

I took Religion in Black America in Fall 2009. The class was incredibly interesting and diverse in the material it covered. Sorett took a genuine interest in the students, was very personable, and tried to have a meaningful discussion focusing mostly on students' input each class. At the end of the semester, he sponsored a voluntary, informal lunch which was very fun. Sorett was always prepared for class and on time. We had weekly one-page response papers which he always read and sometimes brought up in class. He usually used the first part of class for lecture/powerpoints/songs/videos and then led a discussion. The readings were generally about one book per week but were usually very interesting. Not a hard class if you are interested in the material. This class was one of my favorites at Columbia, and Sorett is awesome.