May 08, 2009

Pedatella, Stefan 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.

I actually had Stefan as my professor for First Year English Legacy of the Mediterranean, and I found him to be a pretty great professor, and the class one of the best I’ve taken so far at Barnard.

It’s true, Stefan is pretentious, and he clearly thinks he knows more than anyone else, but despite what the previous reviewer said, this in no way makes him unfriendly or unapproachable. On the contrary, I found him extremely approachable. He never shot down what people said in discussion, and he was practically always available for office hours at the Hungarian, where he was willing to discuss the papers and the readings thoroughly. I do agree with previous reviews in that Stefan clearly wanted our papers to fit into his interpretations of the works, and often the revisions he gave us were simply to add in his ideas, but he was open to other interpretations if you gave him valid reasons.

It’s also true that he does not get through all the assigned reading, but I do not think this is any way a bad thing. Rather than speeding through the syllabus, he spends extra time discussing the works and truly making you appreciate them. You will leave this class with an appreciation for the works you have read, I can practically guarantee that. And then you can take what you’ve learned in the class and read the last two or three books on your own time, and you will probably appreciate those too. Anyway, I don’t know anyone who would be upset about not having to read hundreds of pages a week, but instead spend more time analyzing each book over a few weeks.

Altogether, this was an amazing class. You read great books and you really come to appreciate them. Just take Stefan with a grain of salt. He really does know what he’s talking about, even if sometimes he has to hit his students over the head with that fact. You can tell he really loves what he’s doing, and his passion for his job and for the books makes you enjoy the class that much more.

Workload:

Completely manageable. Very short reading assignments each week. Two 4-5 page papers with rewrites and one 8-10 page research (only 1 or 2 sources required) paper with a rewrite. Final on the last day of class.