Shopping Around for the Best Classes? Look No Further Than These...

So, you've found yourself in a jam, and the Kroks are nowhere in sight. You've spent a night or two flipping through Courses of Instruction, undeterred by the cover of excessive color.

You've checked or circled or highlighted classes that might make the grade this fall.

You've made a list of your five, or 10, or 20 nominees, and have checked it twice.

But still, it's not there. The excitement is missing. Your list feels incomplete. The real winners, you fear, have somehow slipped through your fingers.

To the rescue: The Crimson's second, semiannual compilation of "Eleven Electives" to brighten your day and guide the way to a winning semester.

Following is a list of 11 classes you might have overlooked while scanning the catalogue-and might regret not shopping next week.

None of the classes have prerequisites, all feature workloads that appear manageable and each, in its own way, promises to be worth taking.

This Land Is My Land

When you think Folk and Myth, you probably think of German fairy tales and African storytellers.

But Visiting Professor of Folklore and American Civilization Simon J. Bronner, on loan from the University of Pennsylvania at Harrisburg, is turning the F&M spotlight closer to home-closer to his home, in fact, in Pennsylvania's Amish Country.

And gladly so. For in what class other than Folklore and Mythology 121: "American Ethnic Folklife" can you get answers to questions like:

Why do the Amish ride in cars but refuse to drive them?

How can their old-fashioned farms turn a profit when modern farms are going broke?

And, if they'll use pay phones, why don't they have phones in their homes?

These questions are posed and answered in The Riddle of Amish Culture, one of two books required for the course.

The other, Hasidic People by Jerome Mintz, takes readers on a tour through New York's Hasidic community, from its internal rabbinical struggles to its strife with the black community in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.

Using the Amish and Hasidim as case studies, Bronner's class will question the building of ethnic traditions in contemporary America; it will also explore the impact of such ethnic communities on tourism and gender.

The requirements for the course include short assignments (20 percent), a final essay examination (40 percent) and a final research paper on the folklife of an ethnic community (40 percent).

Folk and Myth 121 meets Mondays and Wednesdays (and some Fridays) at 10 a.m.

Tragedy on Film

As the search for Harvard's first-ever chair of Holocaust studies drags on, the field is being pursued with vigor this semester in the German department.

Drawing on Holocaust studies, film studies, German studies, history and literary criticism, German 160: "Reinventing Germany: Films and Filmmakers, 1945-95" will analyze how recent filmmakers have portrayed and conveyed the Third Reich, World War II and the Holocaust to audiences worldwide.

Visiting Professor of German Eric Rentschler, of the University of California at Irvine, has compiled a varied reading list featuring recent works such as Holo-caust scholar Saul Friedlander's Reflections of Nazism: An Essay on Kitsch and Death, dissecting the magic and myth that have shrouded recollections of Hitler in popular culture; Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective, analyzing President Reagan's 1985 controversial visit to a Holocaust cemetery; and Spielberg's Holocaust, a volume of essays analyzing the strengths and limitations of Schindler's List in bridging cinema and history.

Numerous films dealing with the Holocaust, including Schindler's List, The Producers and Our Hitler, will be shown.

German 160 meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m., with film screenings Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

Eat it Up

For the first time in many years, Fair-bank Professor of Chinese Society James L. Watson's Foreign Cultures 62: "Chinese Family, Marriage and Kinship"-known belovedly among students as "Mating and Dating"-is not listed in the course catalog.

But students interested in how McDonald's has changed China-always one of Watson's favorite topics in FC 62-need not fear. In Anthropology 105: "Food and Culture," Watson tackles the field of culinary anthropology, examining food taboos and restrictions; fasting and abstinence; vegetarianism and "alternative consumption regimes;" etiquette and manners in eating; body image and the symbolism of human fat; and the invention and commodification of new foods.

Requirements for the course include section participation (15 percent), a midterm exam (20 percent), a final exam (35 percent) and a research paper (30 percent).

Suggested topics for the research paper include: "Spam as an Elite Food in Korea: The Social History of Military Cuisine;" "Territoriality in Fast Food Restaurants: Privacy and the Commodification of Space;" "We Don't Eat Clams at Home': Dietary Adventurism and the Life Course," and "Chicken Dinners and Smorgasbords: Church Life in the American Midwest."

Readings include Animal to Edible, which looks at the tension between carnivorism and discomfort with slaughter; Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History, a look at how sugar has changed capitalism, industry, work habits and eating habits; and Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia, edited by Watson.

Anthropology 105 meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 10:50 a.m. When the class was last offered two years ago, it received a 4.1 CUE guide overall rating, a 2.8 for workload and a 2.9 for difficulty.

Those Healing Hands

If you're pre-med, you probably don't look to the religion department for courses directly relevant to your future.

But Linda L. Barnes, visiting lecturer on the study of religions and medical anthropology, will tackle questions central to the medical profession in Religion 1021: "Religion, Medicine and the Healer's Art."

By examining the healing practices of Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Chinese and tribal traditions, the class will examine how people understand the meaning and end of human life, the experience of suffering and the role of the healer; the class will question whether medicine or religion is the social guardian or morality.

Readings in the substantially weighty sourcebook include articles on Taiwanese folk healers, Aztec religion, African divinity systems, the doctor-patient relationship, American medical ethics and the assumptions inherent to Western medicine.

Religion 1021 meets Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Beat of Harvard

What does American social history look like from the perspective of black music?

Quincy Jones Visiting Associate Professor of African-American Music Ronald M. Radano will take a look this semester in Afro-American Studies 154z: "Black Music and American Racial Encounter."

From the beat of the drum in colonial days to the beat of Public Enemy, Radano, visiting from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will take students on a wide-ranging tour through Afro-American history.

Instead of following survey form, the class will borrow some of the theoretical perspectives of cultural studies and examine, according to the catalog description, "how black music has evolved not merely as an extension of African-centered practices, but as a socially grounded idea that has profoundly contributed to modern comprehensions of racial difference."

But if you get sick of the theory jargon, at least you'll have the music to fall back on. Radano says he will incorporate music into his lectures, require listening to tapes and will even include some coverage of the current hip-hop scene. In what other class could you find a textbook with mention of Bobby McFerrin, Peabo Bryson, Boyz II Men and the Pointer Sisters?

The book, The Music of Black Americans, presents a complete narrative of black music from church music to swing, from ragtime to Broadway.

Also on the reading list: Black Culture and Black Consciousness, in which Lawrence Levine analyzes black culture by looking at songs, folk tales, oral poems, proverbs and games, and The Souls of Black Folk, the classic work by W.E.B. DuBois, class of 1892.

The requirements for the class were not set at press time, but tentatively include two exams, most likely take-home, as well as a possible paper.

Afro-Am 154z meets Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m.

Beyond Hollywood

Before the sun rises above the Hollywood Hills, filmmakers are finishing a hard day's work in countries around the world.

Visual and Environmental Studies 157r: "Classics of World Cinema: The First Half Century" will give you the chance to look at a host of great films you've probably never seen, by directors like Bunuel, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Vertov and Rossellini.

And if the requirements are as manageable as they were in Visiting Lecturer on VES Charles Warren's class on American film last semester, VES 157r will give you the chance to sit back and enjoy the show.

Readings include several collections of essays on film theory from the French and Soviet traditions, and a large volume called A Short History of the Movies, featuring sections on film figures from Buster Keaton to David Lynch.

VES 157r meets Tuesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m., with two required film screenings per week.

Czech it Out

Fans of Milan Kundera should check out the latest offering from Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities Alfred Thomas, known in some circles for his cult favorite class "Slavic Science Fiction."

This semester, Thomas presents Slavic 132: "Post-War Czech Prose Fiction and Drama," examining the development of Czech literature-novel, short story and drama-from the Communist Bloc days of the 1950s to the newly capitalized present.

The class reads three works by Kundera, in addition to screening the film version of his The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Other authors featured include Josef Skvorecky and Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Among the provocative titles on the reading list: Closely Watched Trains, I Served the King of England, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Cowards and Axe.

Slavic 132 meets Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m.

Make Your Mother Happy

The title says it all in German 148.

"Freud," Professor of German Peter J. Burgard's new offering, sets out to fill a void in Freud scholarship at Harvard.

He may be discussed in psychology classes, considered in history seminars and analyzed in social studies tutorials, but nowhere-until now-could you get a full dose of the Viennese psychotherapist's medicine.

Here you'll closely read and analyze 10 books by the man many consider the most important 20th century figure, from his clinical case studies to his expoundings on religion and the fate of civilization.

The requirements for "Freud" include a midterm (20 percent), final exam (30 percent), eight-page paper (30 percent) and participation, including an oral report (20 percent).

In the 1996-97 CUE guide, Burgard received a 4.3 rating for a German class on Baroque identity and a 4.4 for Foreign Cultures 30 "Forging a Nation Through Culture."

German 148 Meets Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m.

I Said, Young Man

You were young once.

Relive those glory days with Assistant Professor of Education Thomas Shaw, who will explore how young people think about past, present and future and how they fit themselves into their communities in Anthropology 175: "Youth, Culture and Society in Comparative Perspective."

The course will look for links between youth subculture in preindustrial and modern societies, and between youth in Asia and in the West.

The readings for the weeks on youth culture include "Delinquent Boys," an article on gang culture; a section from Freeway Females called "Working class without work: High school students in a de-industrializing economy;" and a New York Times article titled "Heavy-Metal Mania: It's More Than Music."

Other highlights of the reading list: "Intimacy, labor and class: Ideologies of feminine sexuality in the Punk slam dance;" "Guido: Fashioning an Italian-American Youth Style;" and "Jocks and Freaks: The symbolic structure of the expression of social interaction among American high school students."

Readings sound dull? You can always look forward to the films-including "Decline of Western Civilization, Part II," "Zebrahead" and "Boys'n the Hood."

Grading will be based on several six-page short-answer exams administered every third week; a term paper based on a limited research project and attendance in class and section.

Anthro 175 meets Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. at the School of Education. Films will be shown Fridays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Oh, Jesus!

What is the spiritual significance of today's attempts to discover a "historical Jesus"?

What questions are raised by interpretations of Jesus in recent films and paintings?

What is the meaning of Asian and African portraits of Jesus, and of portraits of Jesus in Buddhism, Judaism and Islam?

Thomas Professor of Divinity Harvey G. Cox, Jr., a major figure in biblical studies, will lead students on a search for the answers to these questions in Religion 1489: "Contemporary Interpretations of Jesus," offered jointly with the Divinity School.

In addition to reading extensively from the New Testament, students will read a diversity of works such as Jesus: A revolutionary Biography, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail, and Buddhism as a Challenge to Christians.

Requirements include a six-to-eight-page book report (30 percent), a second book report of the same length or a one-hour take-home midterm (30 percent), an oral report of work completed in an "Independent Work Group" (40 percent) and an ungraded final reflection paper or sermon.

There will also be an optional series of videos and films, such as "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Godspell" and "The Last Temptation of Christ."

The course received an overall rating of 4.3 in the 1996-97 edition of the CUE guide, and Cox received a 4.9. Workload was rated 3.1 and difficulty 3.2.

Religion 1489 meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 11.

Working it Out

Students interested in psychology and considering a career or post-College foray in business and consulting might want to check out Psychology 1562: "Improving Person/Job Fit."

The class considers traditional testing procedures for matching people with occupations, such as the vocational aptitude test, along with more thematic approaches, from the perspectives of cognitive, motivational and social psychology.

Professor of Psychology Philip J. Stone III, who in Spring 1996 taught Psychology 1502: "Psychology Applied to Business," received a CUE rating of 4.6 for leading a social psychology seminar in the 1995-96 school year.

A syllabus for the course was not available at press time, but requirements for Psych 1502 included a multiple choice midterm (25 percent), section participation (25 percent) and a final (50 percent).

Psychology 1562 meets Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Enrollment requires the permission of the instructor