Best New Courses Held for Spring Term

Students Forced to Wait for Professor Lee; Fall Features New History Courses and Jamaica Kincaid

Dozens of new course offerings are detailed inside the bright teal cover of the 1992-93 course guide. But students shopping for courses next week may be disappointed--the prime selections won't meet until spring semester.

Celebrity filmmaker and Visiting Lecturer Spike Lee's English department seminar on screenwriting? Not offered until the spring. Lee's Afro-American Studies course on contemporary African-American cinema? On hold until spring semester.

Two brand-new introductory Earth and Planetary Sciences courses on the cutting edge of Harvard's environmental studies efforts? You guessed it. They aren't offered until the spring.

Still, students seeking the perfect course this semester may at least find something interesting.

History is just one of several departments hiring new faculty members and changing requirements this year.

According to History Head Tutor Caroline C. Ford, for the first time in several years the department will be offering its survey in American History, the History 71a/71b sequence, taught by newcomer Instructor in History Ronald Yanosky and Lecturer on History Vincent Tompkins.

Yanosky will also boost American history offerings with several other courses, History 1667, "Populism in American Society and Politics," (offered in the fall) and History 1668, "The Gilded Age." However, some popular courses in American history, including History 1603, "The Old South," and History 1605, "Topics in American Women's History" remain bracketed for yet another year.

Besides the History 71 survey course there will be two other modern American history offerings including a class on Asian Immigrants taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of History Xiao-huang Yin, offered in the spring.

History 1690b, "American Intellectual History Since 1900," usually offered in the spring, will be offered in the fall this year and is sure to attract crowds.

Concentrators will also have greater flexibility in fulfilling requirements, Ford says. In the past, two elective courses outside of the major area of history had to be taken within the department. Starting with the class of 1994, concentrators will be able to take those classes outside the department, provided they first obtain department approval. In addition, general exams will now be specific to the concentrator's field of interest, rather than the same for every concentrator.

The appointment of seven new faculty members to the traditionally strong Government department, says Head Tutor Paul Person, could provide thesis advisors for many junior and senior concentrators. Course offerings, however, basically remain in the same rotation, since many of the appointments are replacing faculty members who left this summer.

Biology concentrators will have one more requirement to worry about for their theses. Students taking Biology 90r, "Supervised Research," which for many students leads to a thesis, will now have to take a course on laboratory safety procedures. The short course, called "a major break-through for the safety office" by Biology Undergraduate Coordinator Barbara S. Cerva, will feature a movie and a talk on laboratory safety procedures.

Departments like Afro-American Studies and Romance Languages and Literatures also have something special in store for concentrators this year. While many undergraduates already know of Lee's return, two literary stars are expected to teach at the University.

American writer Jamaica Kincaid will teach one course--Afro-American Studies 132z, Domestic Life in Literature--scheduled for the fall. South American writer Mario Vargas-Llosa plans to teach Spanish 165, a course on Jose Maria Arguedas, in the fall.

New Dean of Undergraduate Education Lawrence Buell will remain busy as a graduate educator, teaching an upper-level course in English 275t, "American Literary Emergence as a Postcolonial Phenomenon." The scholar will also chair the expository writing department.

After a year's hiatus from his teaching duties, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles will lead a graduate research course on biorganic chemistry.

But Chemistry 171, Molecular Enzymology, and Chemistry 172, biorganic chemistry--both listed under Knowles' name in last year's course catalog and bracketed until 1992-93--will not be offered this year.

The core program will offer its usual selection of eclectically titled, oversubscribed courses this year.

This year marks the return of a "double core." David S. Landes will be teaching Historical Study A-11, "Development and Underdevelopment: The Historical Origins of the Inequality of Nations," the only Core course which counts for two sections at once. The course will count towards both Historical Study A and Social Analysis Core credit, according to Susan W. Lewis, director of the Core program.

Despite the double credit, Landes says that the requirements aren't changed for the course, which was offered two years ago, also as a double Core. "It's a pretty heavy duty course to begin with," he says.

The course, taught in the fall, will be focusing on the problem of "why some countries are rich and others are poor, from a historical perspective." Landes says that the topic seems to have more important, especially in the public consciousness.

Another addition to the Core is Literature and Arts B-22, "Ancient Drawing and Painting," taught by Zemurray Stone-Radcliffe Professor Emily D. T. Vermeule. The fall course will study Greek and Roman painting.

Literature and Arts A-66, "The Myth of America," is new to the Core as Carswell Professor of English and American Language and of comparative Literature Sacvan Bercovitch's version of former departmental course English 177y.

If you're interested in getting rich quick, be sure to be at the first lecture of Social Analysis 46: "Thinking About Politics: A Rational Choice Approach" this spring. Professor of Government Kenneth A. Shepsle will be auctioning off a ten-dollar bill as part of an object lesson.

Shepsle says that course material will examine politics at a number of levels, from the politics of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to those of breakaway East European nations.

Or you could stick to the standard Social Analysis 10, "Principles of Economics." Baker Professor of Economics Martin S. Feldstein '61 will remain at the spiritual helm of the mammoth course but Brian J. Hall will take over the duties of head section leader.

And students interested in an introduction to oceanic systems should take a closer look at Science B-50, "The Ocean," says assistant professor of Biology and of Earth and Planetary Sciences Joseph P. Montoya.

Montoya says that he planned the course as a companion to Science A-30, "The Atmosphere" with a more biological emphasis. The possible implications of changing carbon dioxide levels, Montoya says, will also be worked into the course's study of the carbon system in the oceans.

But if you want to take the course you'll have to wait--until the spring.

Ira E. Stoll and Joanna M. Weiss contributed to the preparation of this story.