Review Comment

[FYSB BC1546] Shapes and Shadows of Identity

June 13, 2017

Rieder, Jonathan
[FYSB BC1546] Shapes and Shadows of Identity

Honestly, I think the hype is a little overrated. Professor Rieder often dominated seminar discussions and told students they were wrong when their opinion differed from his. This is a first year seminar, the point is for students to share their ideas, and there can be multiple interpretations of literature. The reading list was good for the most part, however we spent a lot of time reading and discussing an old issue of a magazine Professor Rieder was the editor of. This made critiquing what we were reading and expressing our opinions even harder. Professor Rieder will meet with students about all their essays to go over them, and that's really helpful. However, many students were frustrated that these meetings would often result in Professor Rieder telling them their ideas were completely off, and directing them to write an argument that he believed in, but the students didn't.

Workload:

three short papers, two drafts each

April 14, 2016

Rieder, Jonathan
[FYSB BC1546] Shapes and Shadows of Identity, Culture in America, and Crossover Culture

I cannot sing Rieder's praises enough! He seriously cares about his students and makes time to meet with each student in his seminars personally to revise/brainstorm their essays. He is passionate about his areas of research, and is genuinely interested in people (refreshing and unfortunately too rare for sociologists). I will emphasize that he is much better in seminar format than lecture; it's a more manageable format for the types of discussions he tries to have. He is not super-organized, which can be frustrating, but I still think his classes are very worth it, for his expertise and the questions he makes you consider. If you care about identity politics, pop culture, music, and the human side of sociology, TAKE A RIEDER SEMINAR.

Workload:

Pretty sizable readings, but you never have to do all of them; he'll usually just focus on one or two specific parts and get caught up in those. Usually a midterm paper and a final paper (possibly more, depending on the class, such as First Year Seminar). For Culture in America, there were two tests, but they were all essays he told us about ahead of time. He's a fair grader, if you put in the effort.

December 26, 2013

Rieder, Jonathan
[FYSB BC1546] Shapes and Shadows of Identity

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Shapes and Shadows of Identity with Professor Rieder is an amazing first year seminar!!! The course material is interesting, there was a relatively light amount of reading, and Professor Rieder truly tailors the class to first year students. Many of my friends in other seminars received typed or written feedback on drafts from their professors, but, in addition to written feedback, Professor Rieder met with every student between the first draft and final draft of each essay. During the meeting, he always gave substantial feedback and read through the whole paper, line-by-line, with me. He corrected sentence structure and style, revised the structure of the essay, and helped talk through my ideas and ways to develop more nuanced arguments.

At the beginning of the semester, Professor Rieder told us that participating in seminar-style class discussions is a college skill that we need to learn, like writing a paper or taking an exam. We did not necessarily arrive at college with the ability to effectively contribute to discussions. Throughout the semester, he provided tips on how to properly participate - for example: be concise, focus comments on specific textual evidence, and try to respond to arguments that have already been made. Because participation is 25% of the FYS grade, it makes sense that he TEACHES students how to improve in that area! When students made unsupported comments, Professor Rieder would gently ask them to provide support from the reading, and even give them a minute or two to find it. He encouraged students to speak during class even if they weren't sure whether their answers were 100% correct, and was never harsh or shot down students ideas.

Workload:

One 4 page compare-contrast essay
One 4 page essay on a thematic topic of our choice
One 4 page personal essay

February 01, 2010

Rieder, Jonathan
[FYSB BC1546] Shapes and Shadows of Identity

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I loved this class--for any Barnard first-year who is looking for a great seminar, I recommend him. Rieder is really nice but is also really focused on helping you improve your writing and your analysis in general. He is truly a great scholar in his field--often, as we were discussing racial leaders, he would refer to something one of them had said when he met them. I think my writing really improved through him--there are three papers, and you meet with him for all 3 after a rough draft. He also truly cares about his students and really got to know us. The readings were carefully chosen and rich, and although I had already read some of them prior to the class, I learned new things about them through Rieder. Really recommend him, and I hope to take another class with him in the future.

Workload:

Not bad at all -- manageable amount of reading each night, 3 short papers, draft submitted for each and then a meeting with him before you submit final draft. No exam or midterm.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
FYSB / FYSB FYSB FYSB BC1546: Shapes & Shadows of Identity Jonathan Rieder 2009 Fall TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
FYSB / FYSB FYSB FYSB BC1546: Shapes & Shadows of Identity Jonathan Rieder 2009 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1