While shopping period often finds students flocking to classes with high Q scores and reliable old favorites, the following new courses are worth checking out.
1. Anthropology 1996: "Angels, Ghosts, and Hustlers: Bangkok Live"
Think you know everything there is to know about Bangkok after watching "The Hangover Part II?" Check out this course for a more in-depth and insightful look at Thailand's capital city.
2. Literature 185: "Jewish Humor and Its Discontents"
This course studies the qualities and cultural significance of Jewish wit, exploring "why Jewish humor is funny and when it is no laughing matter." Texts range from the writings of Sigmund Freud and Siegbert S. Prawer's "The Jew and the General: A Study in Diasporean Humour" to "Annie Hall" and "Seinfeld."
3. Dramatic Arts 164x: "Playing in the Material World: Puppet and Object Theater as Global Traditions"
Jason Segel, star of the recent Muppets film and the Hasty Pudding Theatricals' 2012 Man of the Year, thinks puppets are cool, and you should too. This course, taught by Lecturer John T. Bell, studies "the history and theory of puppetry as a global tradition" and examines puppet traditions from Asia, Europe, Persia, America, and more.
4. English 153: "The Comic Enlightenment"
While Francis Bacon, David Hume, and other great Enlightenment thinkers were searching for Reason, authors like Jonathan Swift and Jane Austen were busy discovering the more whimsical side of the 18th century. This course studies the irrational and comic literature that "ran a countercurrent" against the "so-called progress" of Enlightenment Reason.
5. History of Art and Architecture 170v: "Vienna, City of Dreams"
Explore the rich artistic and cultural achievements that occurred in Vienna—"an uncanny space where many of the dreams—and nightmares—of modernity first were dreamt"—around the turn of the 20th century. Readings include selections from Freud, Franz Kafka, Otto K. Wagner, and others.
6. History of Science 128: "A History of Physics from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to CERN's Black Holes"
If you've ever wondered about the historical significance of scientific discoveries, consider shopping this course. A study of the physical sciences through the ages, this class seeks to answer "how the world described by physicists relates to the world we live in," from Galileo Galilei to the present.
7. History of Science 190: "Science Facts and Science Fictions"
Aliens, time travel, and dystopia—what more could a sci-fi buff ask for? Have fun studying a variety of sci-fi novels and films as this course examines "how science is fictionalized, and what such representations tell us about science as an enterprise that melds present contexts with futurism and fantasy."
8. Human Evolutionary Biology 1500: "Building Babies: Developmental Trajectories from Conception to Weaning"
Although you don't actually get to build a baby, this course allows students to examine the development and evolution of both human and non-human primate infants while seeking answers to the class's primary question: "How do we, as individuals, become who we are—how we're shaped, how we perceive our world, how we act?"
9. Religion 12: "Critical Issues in the Comparative Study of Religion"
With a fascinating reading list involving fiction books such as "Things Fall Apart" and "The Gods Will Have Blood," this course aims to examine the relationship between the individual, religion, and the state.
10. Visual and Environmental Studies 19: "Graphic Novels: Studio Course"
A studio course that includes "lectures on important historical and current work as well as practical assignments," this class allows students to learn about the history of graphic novels and to practice and develop their cartooning skills, as well.