Professors To Take Before They . . . Retire
Ah, class registration time. If you haven’t filled up your schedule by now with requirements, congratulations on not being a STEM major! Here are some suggestions for classes taught by professors who’ve been around forever and really know their stuff, brought to you by the Bwog staff.
- PoliSci / Human Rights: Andrew Nathan
- “He’s very critical of the human rights concept which I think gives you a good outlook for the major. He has not just worked as an academic but also has been involved in several human rights organizations, usually having to do with China. Also, he brings in real human rights advocates for his intro course which is really cool.”
- History: Kenneth Jackson
- “He’s like the number one expert on NYC history, and his class involves a lot of really cool stuff out of the classroom, like a bike tour.”
- Art History: Anne Higonnet
- “She’s a really interesting person and is honestly one of those most revered art history professors in the States. She lowkey gives off highly manic energy, but honestly, she really wakes you up at 10:10”
- English: Bruce Robbins
- “I’ve taken both a lecture and a seminar with Professor Robbins (Literary History of Atrocity and The Big Ambitious Novel) this past year and he’s one of the best professors I’ve had thus far. He really thinks about his material and works to create a diverse syllabus no matter what comparative angle he’s taking in his class. The ways he puts literature into comparison is fascinating and, in my opinion, he really takes into account his student’s readings and opinions on the text and he’s not afraid to admit when he’s unsure or wrong about something. He’s also super flexible and understanding about student’s lives outside the classroom and will really work with you if needed. He has strong opinions and you figure out pretty quickly whether or not his style works for you, but I really don’t think you should pass up the opportunity to take a class with him.”
- Biology: Paul Hertz
- “Most Barnard bio students/pre-meds know him because he teaches 1/2 of the intro bio sequence, but you should also consider his upper-level classes, especially Ecology Lab, which is by far the chillest upper-level lab offered at Barnard. Listen to Hertz tell his lizard stories before he disappears into Vermont with his husband!!!”
- Mystifications of Social Reality: Robert Paul Wolff
- “While Todd Gitlin, the co-teacher of the class, is 76 years old, Wolff fondly refers to him as a young whippersnapper far from retirement. So I will just focus on Wolff for now.
- Wolff is one of the greatest living thinkers of Karl Marx and Immanuel Kant; he runs a famous blog called The Philosopher’s Stone where he breaks down philosophy for millions of readers; he left Columbia after the ‘68 protests and helped begin the Ph.D. program in Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
- Every Tuesday, Professor Wolff will take a flight from North Carolina to Columbia to teach you. He will sprint out of the airport if you’ve asked him to meet for office hours before class. The class is about finding simplicity in a world of artificially produced chaos. It is a tremendous task for any sociologist or philosopher, but all you need to do is listen to his stories. He is living proof that one can make 85 years of life worthwhile as an academic.
- He remembers every single student he has ever taught. He will remember you.
Leave more suggestions in the comments!
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