Class Act II: Course Recommendations for Spring 2015

Spring semester is coming. What does your schedule look like?

Preliminary program filing has returned once again. Are you frantically trying to find one last class to fill out your course schedule for next semester? Or are you looking to try something new and exciting? The Nine Ways staff has you covered! Here are some of our writers’ course recommendations for next spring! And if they’re already full now, bookmark this page for the spring when program filing re-opens.

Course: Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective (Barnard) 
Professor: Lila Abu-Lughod 
Time: M 2:10-4:00PM 
Credit: 4 
Prerequisites: Critical Approaches or permission of the instructor.
Although I was skeptical of this class at first, I have really grown to love it because it brings in the intersectionality that is lacking in many classes on gender. The course is different each semester, with this semester focusing on the Middle East and the role that gender plays in the so-called “Muslim question”. Yet, the professor who is teaching it next semester (Lila Abu-Lughod) has written many books on the topic of women and gender in cultures outside of the United States so it is sure to be an interesting class and one that will make you re-think many of your previously held assumptions about women, especially those living in third-world countries.

Course: Abnormal Psychology (Barnard) 
Professor: Sumati Gupta 
Time: MW 10:10-11:25AM 
Credit: 3 
Prerequisites: BC1001 or permission of the instructor.
The psychology buff in me may be biased but this class was my favorite this semester. It offers a great introduction to various psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and others. This is a great course to take if you’re interested in pursuing clinical psychology, and is a prerequisite for Professor Gupta’s course on Intro to Clinical Psychology. Professor Gupta also runs a private practice in the city when she’s not teaching, which is very, very cool.

Course: Supervised Projects in Photography (Barnard) 
Professor: John Miller 
Time: M 11:00AM-12:50PM 
Credit: 3 
Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 15 students. Must attend first day of class. Instructor permission required.
If you love photography, seriously consider taking this course. This class was really enjoyable – class meetings essentially consisted of students presenting their work and our homework was simply to go out and take photos of whatever interested us, building a project portfolio throughout the semester. You are required to take a course at the International Center of Photography – but that’s amazing when Barnard covers the cost and the course prices at the ICP normally run into the hundreds. Any level of expertise is welcomed in this class, and you can shoot in film or digital with any camera of your choice.

Course: Introduction to American Government and Politics (Columbia) 
Professor: Judith Russell 
Time: MW 11:40AM-12:55PM 
Credit: 3 
Prerequisites: L-course sign up (spaces still free at time of writing!).
Whether you intend to be a Political Science major or are just interested in gaining a better understanding of American politics, it’s much better to take this class in the spring when Professor Russell is teaching it. She has worked for candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and is unabashedly liberal during lectures. She’ll offer to help you find an internship on the first day of class, and she manages to fit in a tremendous amount of information and humor into an hour and fifteen minutes. Work load is very manageable (midterm/final paper/final exam) with weekly discussion groups mandatory.

Course: Contemporary Issues in Education (Barnard) 
Professor: Linda Cole-Taylor 
Time: M 2:10-4:00PM or Tu 11:00AM-12:50PM 
Credit: 4 
Prerequisites: Open to all students however instructor permission required.
People who know me might be wondering why I recommended a class that has caused me the most pain this semester but the initial confusion and (ongoing) frustration over this class, to me, are worth it. I came in to this class with practically a blank slate, and when I was looking at the syllabus I was worried, since I couldn’t connect most of the topics to what I already know. As the course progressed, however, the reading and the weekly discussions illuminated a lot of perspectives I would never have even considered. Work load consists of weekly long readings, several 2-5 page response papers, one group project, and a final individual project. As it is a seminar, the professor expects you to talk.

Course: The American Congress (Columbia) 
Professor: Irwin Gertzog 
Time: MW 1:10-2:25PM 
Credit: 3 
Prerequisites: POLS W1201 or the equivalent, or instructor’s permission.
Congress is an interesting (and often frustrating) branch of the federal government, and the results of the 2014 midterms prove that it will continue to be the focus of politics for the next two years. Professor Gertzog is a total teddy bear who’s incredibly knowledgeable and invested in his students. He also includes a discussion of current events to keep his lectures timely, and I imagine it will be an interesting semester when the 114th Congress convenes next year. Work load is very manageable (take-home midterm and final, research paper) with no weekly discussion groups.

Course: International Law and the United Nations in Practice (Barnard) 
Professor: Shelley C. Inglis 
Time: W 6:10-8:00PM 
Credit: 4 
Prerequisites: Enrollment in the course is open to 18 undergraduates who have completed at least one core course in human rights and /or international law. Admission by permission from Dr. J.Paul Martin, Director, Human Rights Studies, e-mail: jmartin@barnard.edu.
Anyone with an interest in human rights should try this out. This class is taught by Shelley Inglis, who currently works at the United Nations Development Program and has worked in various UN and international organizations, and she means business. She expects you to understand the readings and has an irreverent, condescending way of talking. However, she gives good advice, and the content you learn is really interesting- though, like a lot of international law relating to human rights, it can get pretty depressing. Political Science majors, this does NOT fulfill your colloquium requirement! Workload consists of heavy reading, one midterm paper (6-8 pages), one final research paper (around 25 pages) – in short, a colloquium under a different name.

Course: Introduction to Art History II (Barnard) 
Professor: Anne Higonnet 
Time: MW 2:40-3:55PM 
Credit: 4 
Prerequisites: N/A
This course is fantastic. Anne Higonnet is charming, passionate and unbelievably knowledgeable. You don’t need any background in Art History to take this course – just an interest in learning about various styles and forms of art, from impressionist paintings to photography or African masks to the NYC High Line. You will learn about art that spans centuries and continents, as well as take two class visits, most probably to the Met and to the High Line. You are required to partake in a weekly discussion section which was painless in my experience. If you’re still not convinced, consider this – this class will fulfill any of three (!) BC requirements: Cultures in Comparison (CUL), Historical Studies (HIS) or Visual and Performing Arts (ART).

The Art Of The Essay (Barnard)
Professor:Aaron C. Schneider/Shelly Fredman/Wendy C. Schor-Haim
Time:T 10:10AM-12:00PM/W 2:10-4:00PM/R 2:10-4:00PM
Credit: 3
Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 12 students.
Looking for a class that’ll kick your writing skills into shape? This is the one to take. The essays you’ll read and explore in this class aren’t dry, monotonous academic theses, but rather personal, emotional pieces of writing that utilize techniques and methods you’ll learn to integrate into your own writing. Classes are small, and you’re expected to distribute copies of your writing to the ten or so other students in the class. Although daunting at first, the class pushes budding writers to grow in both skills and in confidence.

Have course recommendations for the spring? Leave a comment below!

Image courtesy of Pinterest.

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