November 15, 2005

Pilinovsky, Helen Silver_nugget
[FYSB BC1156/69] First Year Seminar: Legacy of the Mediterranean I

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

One of the worst "professors" (she's at Columbia grad school) I have ever had the misfortune of taking. While she is very knowledgeable in her own field of fairytales and indeed in that of classical Greek literature, she has absolutely no idea how to present the material in an interesting and engaging way to her class. She is incredibly young, and therefore feels the need to assert her intellectual superiority in the form of absurdly high-
brow and unnecessarily lofty speech which is in fact only to cover the fact that she is far too nervous to be teaching yet. She comes in to class with a yellow legal pad filled with notes discussing everything from the Hymn to Demeter to "first off, I'd just like to wish everyone a happy fall" (this is no joke, it was literally written down word for word on her yellow legal pad). She has no idea how to create a forum for an interesting and involved class discussion, indeed most of us in the class agree that we enjoy the readings before class... and after feel as though we can never look upon them again. For those of you who thought this was a "classics" course (we read everything from Homer to Shakespeare) be forewarned! "Prof." Pilinovsky took two weeks out of course to discuss...
feminism! That's right, not feminism within Greek culture, or within the literature we were reading, but contemporary feminist literature. Something I was very confused about as I was under the clearly mistaken impression that I had NOT taken Women and Culture. Though a very nice person, Helen Pilinovsky is not ready to be teaching, nor do I believe should she ever force a class on another group of unsuspecting freshman again.


The workload is not unbearable. There are two 4-6 page essays that I put no effort into and completely "b.s.ed" and received acceptable grades. ALso one 8-10 page research paper. If you need to turn in a paper late you needn't give an excuse, she comes off as tough but if you put any force at all into your plea she backs down immediately. All in all an easy enough course to slack in, though I recommend going back and reading the books on your own time as they are in fact quite interesting.