The New Gen Ed Lottery System, Explained
Armed Individuals Sighted in Harvard Square Arraigned
Harvard Students Form Coalition Supporting Slave Photo Lawsuit's Demands
Police Apprehend Armed Man and Woman in Central Square
107 Faculty Called for Review of Tenure Procedures in Letter to Dean Gay
Learn to be a Leader
If Al Gore '69 is elected president of the United States in November, he will become the sixth Harvard College alum
hold the country's highest executive office.
One can only begin to wonder
who the seventh will be. Try the students in this class
Government 1540: "The American Presidency," a class which, according to Head Teaching Fellow Carlos Diaz, "increases the chances of someone becoming president by well over 100 percent."
The professor is Roger Porter, who, by his count, has served in three presidential administrators. He even helped coordinate Reagan's early budgets.
The class' aim, Diaz says, "is to give students the tools to effectively analyze the evolution of the modern presidency and the constraints and resources influencing the president's ability to provide leadership in the American political system."
To this end, the American Presidency's syllabus features weekly reading assignments in five different books and a course supplement.
The heavy reading didn't seem to pose a problem for last year's class,
(It received just a 1.9 workload rating in the CUE guide.)
Speaking of the Q Guide, the 152 undergraduates enrolled in the class last year rated Porter's teaching a 4.9 out of 5 and gave the course a 4.6. Students who have taken the class say they enjoy Porter's anecdotes, which, as he said in lecture Tuesday, "always" tie back to the lecture at hand.
Diaz says the course is designed to foster a "general understanding of the complexity of the office and how the president deals with the institutions in the American political system, as well as the media and the people."
All this is wrapped up in an essay, a section participation grade, a mid-term and a final exam.
"Whether you want to be president or just get a better understanding of how the presidency works," Diaz says, "no one should graduate without taking this class."
--Alex B. Ginsberg
Lynn M. Festa began English 146: "Sex and Sensibility in the Enlightenment" on Monday with a couple warnings. There will be both lecture and seminar-style discussion, she said, and don't take the class if you're uncomfortable with pornography.
The coy need not come.
"Sex and Sensibility" browses the back room of the canon to find what was really on early modern minds. Some may say the basics never change--man, woman, etc.--but "Sex and Sensibility" calls out a host of whores, hermaphrodites, and pregnant nuns to bring 18th-century gender perplexity out of the funky armoire.
Building first on the era's not-so-simple gender conventions, the course then follows how such identities dictate desires and relations and asks "What do men and women really want?" before tracing sexuality from the tame to the profane.
The heavy reading load won't surprise most English concentrators, and thought some of the more sexy standards have slipped in--Austen, Pope and Wollstonecraft--the rest is a spicy hodge-podge of theory, romance and out-and-out smut. Students can curl up with Onania one night and the next, with Pamela, a novel "suffused with palpitating breasts," according to Festa.
Medical texts and conduct books for men and women will showcase some of the more ridiculous takes on sex and gender at the time.
The class requires three five-page papers, a midterm and final, and of course, a frank disposition and the ability to appreciate dirty mouth.
--Matthew F. Quirk
Up With Mumia, Down With Meletus
For those who like their philosophy with a little blood and concrete, Assistant Professor Susanna Siegel offers Moral Reasoning 66, "Moral Reasoning about Social Protest" and asks the fundamental question of political philosophy: can authority be justified?
Grounded historically in the six-day Attica prison revolt, the course will consider both classical and modern theories of disobedience and social protest from Plato's suicide to the Attica inmates' demands.
Authority will first be built up by Hobbes and brought down by Marx and then by Wolff's Defense of Anarchism.
Then, the course will begin travel through the history of civil disobedience from modern theorists back to Plato.
With a new youth movement rising, the course will ask why youth so often come together in mass protest and also inform the personal concerns of students expected to follow the conventions of adult institutions.
"It's at this moment that social protest seems compelling, even necessary for them," Siegel says.
Though the class's scope--a spry mix of classics, convicts, and the famously defiant--may discourage the sluggish, the burden falls square with most Moral Reasoning cores: two five- to-seven page papers, short response papers graded with checks and midterm and final exams.
As the new radical Left mingles puppetry with violence, the course will give form some substance for those who worry that anarchy isn't what it used to be.
--Matthew F. Quirk
The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes nature itself is the predator and we are its prey.
From earthquakes to volcanos, from floods to tornadoes you can explore the challenges nature poses to humanity in Science A-43, "Environmental Risks and Disasters."
Goram Ekstrom, professor of geology and geophysics (who, we should note, was rated one of the top ten hottest faculty members by the editors of Fifteen Minutes last year), is the course's instructor.
A soft-spoken man with a charming Scandanavian accent, Ekstrom delivers lectures that may be more conducive to meditation than note-taking, but the fascinating subject matter and approach should be enough to inspire.
Ekstrom organizes what has the potential to be confusing scientific information around the principles of hazard and risk, making the class relevant to everyday life.
"We face risks everyday and everywhere. Some we ignore and some we worry about," Ekstrom says. "I am fascinated by how we use science to analyze risks and it is used to make personal and societal decisions."
The class meets for an hour three times a week plus an hour and a half for weekly section. The bulk of your grade will be based on problem sets and the final.
If Ekstrom's similar departmental class, Earth and Planentary Science 6: "The Solid Earth" is any indication, the work will not be difficult.
Why does Ekstrom think students should spend their Mondays and Wednesdays with him?
"My course is focused on natural hazards and disasters and I think it could be interesting to anyone who wants to learn about the environment," he says.
--Kirsten G. Studlien
Looking for a class that will wake you up and force your brain into first
gear at 10 a.m. on Monday mornings? Visit Lowell House Master Diana L.
Eck's class Religion 11: "Diversity and Dialogue."
Students can't just sit and sleep in her course. Eck asks that students
draw on their own religious experiences and encounters as a framework for
In the class's first lecture, Eck asks the class to respond to a
questionnaire with a dozen queries about personal religious opinions,
studies and influences.
If the questionnaire doesn't force students to articulate their religious
ideas, then Eck's queries about whether all religions are true or all are
false certainly will.
"This is not a course on the history of religion, but how
people...articulate what it is to be religious in a world that is
shrinking," Eck said in lecture.
Eck emphasized her class as one with universal applicability.
"Religious traditions of the world are not only in the news, but in the neighborhood," she said.
Eck's words were as vivid as they were controversial. Without using a single slide, Eck conjured up a vivid image of the variety of colorful and
dramatic costumes that crowded the U.N. at August's Millennium Summit of World Religious leaders, which she attended.
One of the main texts for the course is Eck's own work Encountering God:
A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras.
The book chronicles Eck's own religious explorations from her hometown of Bozeman, Montana to Banaras--a city on the Ganges in India, where Eck first studied abroad as an undergraduate and later returned to do doctoral work.
The other 10 required books for the class include works by Ghandi and
other texts on Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
--Keramet A. Reiter
Join the Core
Home to much of the world's population, China is already the subject nine Core courses. And this year, a tenth--Historical Studies A-77, "The Emergence of Modern China, ca. 1600-2000"--has been added to the list.
The course is offered by Philip A. Kuhn, Higginson professor of history and East Asian languages and civilizations, who also teaches one other historical study course.
"It's a fascinating subject because China is different, but also because their concerns are so familiar to us in certain ways," Kuhn says. "Talking about these issues reflects on our understanding of our own way of life and government."
One of the major goals of this course, Kuhn says, is to use Chinese history to understand current developments.
"The whole structure of Chinese society becomes rather different starting in 1600," Kuhn says. "There is more contact with the outside world, and it becomes much more commercial, which has profound effects on how people live."
"The process of change that we see today started a long time ago," Kuhn says.
Issues like government corruption and centralized power can only be understood in a historical context, he says.
Kuhn is offering this course in place of History 1824. He says that History 1824 was originally intended to be an intermediate level course populated by undergraduate and graduate students. However, because undergraduates increasingly chose Core alternatives, last year the course was three-quarters graduate students and Kuhn began to modify the course for its new home in the Core, he says.
With a moderate workload, the course emphasizes personal stories--both fiction and non-fiction--from throughout the period of interest to flesh out and illuminate the history.
"It's only by confronting primary documents that students can get a sense of what historians have to deal with," Kuhn says.
"History is always a balancing act. You have to be true to the people of the time you are studying, but you also have to be faithful to the concerns of the present day.
--Benjamin P. Solomon-Schwartz
Look at that face...
You may not get a curatorship at the Museum of Modern Art by taking Literature and Arts B-31, "The Portrait," but it will certainly bring your art-savvy to a new level.
"It is a very wide ranging course, and covers all places and times, from ancient Egypt to the present, though it concentrates on the western tradition," says Henri Zerner, a professor of fine arts and the course's instructor.
About 250 students usually take the class, Zerner says, and he has never had to lottery the class.
The class is intended to introduce students to the styles of pictures, and caters to interested but inexperienced students.
The course will not be a survey of famous portraits--though the Mona Lisa won't be left out--but instead focus on major themes.
"The course teaches students about
different kinds of portraits and what they are meant to do," Zerner says, "and how they contribute to the understanding of what a person is."
Although students are not expected to know how to analyze art, the course is made easier by a background in the subject.
The course grade is based on a midterm and final exam and two papers, but the course's relatively light workload makes it doable, according to the CUE guide.
--Kirsten G. Studlien
Assistant Professor of History Brett Flehinger opened the first lecture of History 1637: "American Public Life in the Twentieth Century" by playing the National Anthem--the Jimi Hendrix
This prelude exemplifies Flehinger's argument throughout the class that major public and political events of the 20th century had a vast
impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.
Flehinger plans to begin every class with a music clip related the lecture topic.
While Flehinger warns that the course is not an exhaustive survey
of the past 100 years of American history, the targeted events are
representative of the key events and struggles that have shaped the
Women's suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, McCarthyism, both
world wars, Vietnam, Watergate and the recent resurrection of
conservatism are just some of the issues Flehinger will touch on in
Beyond the usual DuBois and Friedan readings, Flehinger has also
assigned two novels. Alexander Saxton's The Great Midland and Don
DeLillo's White Noise will form the basis for lectures during the term.
Much more popular than Flehinger had originally anticipated, the
class was originally in a classroom in Sever hall but will likely be moved
to a larger lecture hall. The TF staff
remains in flux until next week.
--Kirsten G. Studlien
Be a Clown!
Dramatic Arts 1,
"Introduction to Theatre" is not the world's toughest class.
"There are lots of seniors in the class, and lots of people who
have finished most of their concentration requirements," admits Professor Scott Zigler. "There also seem to be lots of football players."
Though the class could be touted as a cop-out with no midterm, no
final, and no papers--students are required only to write a ten-minute
play--Zigler says students who approach the class hoping for a gut will be sorely mistaken.
"If anyone came to the class thinking that was the deal, we try to
disavow them of that during the first class," Zigler says. "We are people
who do this for a living and so we take it pretty seriously."
Although the course does not have as much reading as an upper level
English class, it gives students a chance to be turned on to the theater.
The class includes an opportunity for students to see how
designers work on sets, lights and sound--a favorite for many students, Zigler says.
"We want the class to be a gateway to the dramatic arts curriculum," Zigler says. "Lots of people don't have any experience even going to the theater."
One part of the class focuses on acting theory and another forces
students to get up and try their hand at life onstage.
"A lot of people are timid about it but we try to be up-front about the fact that there is an acting element," Zigler says. "People have to realize that they will have to get up on their feet and actually do it."
As the course's final project, students perform the ten-minute plays that class members wrote. Many performances take place in House common rooms and are attended by those outside the class.
--Kirsten G. Studlien
Bennett Simon, a psychiatrist and clinical associate professor at the Harvard Medical School, will once again venture across the river to
Literature and Arts A-35, "Tragic Drama and Human Conflict," a
course intended to introduce students to tragic drama as a genre.
Yes, he's a psychiatrist: the course also looks to use psychoanalytic perspectives to look at dramatic works. In other words, family matters.
The course is created on the premise that tragic drama stems from
conflict within the family, and the concept of how warfare--both internal
and external--can create tragedy.
The class examines problems of raising children in families at war
with each other and the nature of heroism.
"Students have generally benefited a great deal from the course,
and over the years, I'm impressed with the quality of work students
produce," Simon says.
The course also studies in depth the nuances of tragic drama and
differences between drama, epic and novel, and looks at audience and
Grades are based on a midterm and a final examination, a short paper and a longer 15 page paper.
It's The Audience, ya pup.
The suave and popular Jesse Matz is teaching English 20, "The English Novel," in which he will direct the study of popular British texts in an effort to discover what 'the novel' really is.
Ah, the study of literature.
The course begins with a study of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and
moves through Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and Great
Expectations, and ends with Virginia Woolf's The Waves.
Matz's interesting questions about the purposes of novel writing
and the motives of writers make for a more interesting course than simply
reading and analyzing individual books.
Matz cites Webster's Dictionary's definition of a novel as "an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex," saying that the novel is much more than a collection of words."
The course will study the way the novel has developed since the
18th century, and how it developed out of romance and spiritual
autobiography. Matz will also teach the different genres of the novel, and
its narrative elements.
The most interesting element of the course, however, is Matz's
discussion of how the novel has shaped social life and the English
community and nationalism. He argues that novels are generated with an
intent to produce a certain effect on its audience and elicit certain
social behaviors--and not that the audience creates its own meaning.
The reading list is heavy, however--almost 300 pages per week-and several papers and a final exam as well.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.