March 25, 2013

Okihiro, Gary Silver_nugget
Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies

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

I'll be honest with you -- I wasn't a fan. This was my least favorite course of all the classes that I have taken at Columbia so far. I find the material far from intellectually vigorous -- politically charged readings beneath a veneer of high-falutin language is given out weekly. But rather than analysis from a purely analytical standpoint, breaking down arguments are discouraged as we are encouraged to accommodate the unique, oppressed viewpoint of the author. To some degree, this is an interesting standpoint. But it leaves those with genuinely different opinions extremely little to do as the semester progresses as the class is set up in such a way that only certain kinds of opinions are voiced in during lecture. It is not that Okihiro shoots down comments so much as that the way the course is set up and taught in and our of recitation is not particularly accommodating to this kind of discussion. Talking to other members of the class, many agreed that they found themselves giving arguments in their papers and exams that they absolutely did not agree in or believe were valid, but which they gauged might get the best response from their TA -- an idea to how this class works.

This class is a difficult class to stomach -- not because of the workload (its low), but simply because of the way it is conducted. If you are a student who needs to be convinced by his work, steer clear. Only take this if you want a class which requires as little commitment as possible.

Workload:

Midterm. Take home final. Weekly responses.