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Spring 2012 Supplement
Dear Students, A number of courses were accidentally left out of the Spring courses of instruction catalog because we were too busy managing the endowment to proofread it. We have taken the liberty of printing the missing offerings in this short supplement, the cost of which will be charged to your term bill.
Anthropology 17b. Artifacts of Poverty: The American Working Class and the Culture of Repair Irwin “Daddy” Warbucks Half course (spring term). M., W., 1–2:30. For centuries lower- and middle-class Americans have made use of fascinating items like tools, sewing machines, and tire irons to fix broken things instead of throwing them out. This course tries to understand why anyone would choose to spend an afternoon repairing something instead of playing squash and sending the help out to buy a replacement item. Anthropology 210d. Tax Returns of the Historically Rich Willard M. Romney Half course (spring term). M., W., 10–11:30. Andrew Carnegie wrote off his daughter’s sweet sixteen party as a business expense. Henry Ford claimed three of his poolboys and their families as dependents. John D. Rockefeller deducted every square of toilet tissue he ever used. In this class, we’ll explore what the filings of history’s wealthiest have to teach us about little-known tax loopholes we could be taking advantage of, if we’re not receiving financial aid, of course.
Art History 134. Art Investments from Rembrandt to Warhol Thomas Kinkade Half course (spring term). T., Th., 3–4. Few quibble over the canon of great artistic masters, but the question of which of them provides the best return on investment remains open. This course uses historical research and statistical analysis to help us see artists like van Eyck, Picasso, and Pollock not in the tired language of brushstrokes and etchings, but in
the spicy patois of dollars and millions of dollars. For their final project, students will research and buy a minor Impressionist work. Art History 503. The Unsung Story of Patrons Richard and David Koch Half course (spring term). T., Th., 12–1:30. Everyone knows da Vinci, Degas, and de Kooning, but what about Sforza, Faure, and Hirshhorn? We’ll look at how “artists” are delivered from the poverty of un-monetized talent through the stewardship of aristocrats who adopt their work as a personal cause.
Astronomy 85. Studies in Extraterrestrial Navigation D. J. Trump, Sr. Half course (spring term). T., 10–12. Could the moon be made habitable? If it could, would I be able to drive my Bentley on it? We will investigate this. One paper required.
Eco(nomic)-Biology 193b. The Living Corporation The Hon. John G. Roberts and Jane Goodall-Rand, LLC Half course (spring term). M., W., 2:30–4. Prick it, does it not hemorrhage capital? Wrong it, does it not increase its bonuses? Explore the surprisingly convincing argument for why the only true “people” are corporations and fetuses.
Chemistry 310. Converting Coal to Gold using Complex Derivative Instruments James Cramer Half course (spring term). Th., 3–6. When Wall Street’s army of quant nerds turned worthless subprime mortgages into massive profits, they unlocked the mathematical formula that might also make possible actual alchemy. By using complex statistical models that even the nerds don’t entirely understand, students in this three-credit lab should expect to subvert basic atomic properties and thousands of years of scientific research on the way to producing a prospector’s bounty. Note: Though our computers predict that all students should see a nice return on
their experiment, skeptical enrollees may hedge this course with “Economics 234: Currency Printing” and “Economics 56734 (LAB): Inflation Rate Regulation.”
East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Chinese 145x. Chinese for ClosersTM Thomas L. Friedman Full course (spring term). Class is taught remotely. Schedule announced weekly, depending on Mr. Friedman’s Bangalore tee time. Let’s say your company deletes the budget line-item for translators after the economic meltdown. Are you going to let that stop you from banking Chinese government contracts? In this trademarked course, flat-world guru Friedman will teach you the basic Cantonese character for “courtesy bribe,” the Mandarin words for “offshore bank account,” and proper etiquette for tipping your caddie.
Economics 17b. Karl Marx Niall Ferguson Half course (spring term). T., Th., 1–3. As a prototypical marketing executive, Karl Marx parlayed his own smoke-andmirror ideas into a massive global brand, with successful ventures in a variety of media channels. You can find his name, works, or likeness in over 180 countries around the world, and Guam. Our course examines this master businessman who bent the world to his will. Economics 215. Predatory Lending to Minorities Dr. Angelo Mozilo (Honorary Degree, 2009) Half course (spring term). Th., 3–5. Technically, it’s illegal to teach this class as a “how-to,” but students who pay close attention to the historical analysis and economic case studies should have little problem jumping right into the director’s chair of their own Countrywide Financial upon graduation. Economics 375a. Income Inequality in the Age of Obama Robert “Bad Bob” Rubin Half course (spring term). T., Th, 12–1:30. It’s no longer a given that each successive generation of Americans will rise
above their parents in economic standing. This class will explore the obstacles that could conceivably prevent those in the 1% from rising to the 0.5% or 0.1% within his lifetime. Topics covered include the capital gains tax, the private-jet fuel tax, the “death” tax, and the winter-home-in-St.-Barth’s tax.
English and American Literature and Language
Literature 325b. The Compassionate Rand The Motley Randians Half course (spring term). M., W., 10–11:30. Ayn Rand pioneered Objectivism, the philosophy that combined free will, money, and solipsism to produce a palliative to the failed approach of basic human decency. Discussion topics will include merchandising Objectivism, success, profits, and other concepts in this perennial favorite of under-satisfied suburban teenagers. This class is pass/fail—you choose. The only assignment will be to explain Rand’s philosophy to a lazy homeless person.
Expository Writing 10.017. Introduction to Expository Financial Writing Mona Dimona Half course (spring term). W., 2–4. Writing a confusing, deceptive subprime mortgage in unreadable legal jargon is something we believe every Harvard undergraduate should learn to do, which is why we require you to learn it from an overqualified preceptor that we pay peanuts for the privilege of working here. An important dual-lesson in writing and extracting value.
Government 30. American Government: How We Make It Do What We Want Lloyd Blankfein Half course (spring term). T., Th., 2:30–4. Course contents classified. No laptops, cameras. Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Goldman Sachs Internship Program requirement for Business Ethics.
Government 176b. Busting Gridlock Jack Abramoff Half course (spring term). T., 1–3. Any multiparty system by its very nature risks a condition under which the passage of legislation is all but impossible. In effect, brute force becomes the only solution. In this class, students will come to understand how, despite the many subtle legislative tools available, the most effective political actors turn the gears of government using only an army of lobbyists and a mountain of money. Government 1776. American Activism from the Bottom Down The Formerly Hon. Thomas DeLay Half course (spring term). T., Th., 4–5. This course surveys the history of special-interest lobbying from the three-fifths compromise, to the military-industrial complex, to grape Fanta in high school vending machines. Students will use these historical examples to design their own “action plan”— a soup-to-nuts program for translating personal goals and interests into bills and laws without ever cracking an ethics handbook. Special guest lecturers in this course include actual legislators with empty wallets and open ears. Note: Students are responsible for supplying their own pork barrels and palm grease.
History 141. American Presidential History Grover Q. Norquist Half course (spring term). M., W., F., 1–2. We will study the history (Ronald Reagan) of the executive branch (President Ronald Reagan) from its origins (proto-Reagan) to today (bizarro-Reagan). In this comprehensive review, we’ll see how each administration (“Morning in America”) has left its distinctive mark (Bedtime for Bonzo) on the Oval Office (the “Reagan Bedroom”). Completion is contingent upon students identifying a landmark to name after a president of their choice (Calvin Coolidge). History 1000. The Cultural Significance of Zero Jamie Dimon Half course (spring term). M., W., 4–5. For hundreds of years, scholars, mathematicians, and priests have argued over the concept of zero. Meanwhile, CEOs, investment bankers, and plastic surgeons have simply added zeros to the number on their paycheck. We’ll spend the semester comparing these two approaches by finding the second one a lot better. Note: This course has been approved for grade inflation by the Dean’s office.
Linguistics 356. Obama-words Noam Chumpsky Half course (spring term). T., Th., 10–11. The development of clever portmanteaus offers not just the experience of linguistic play but a chance to deliver devastating political speech. We’ll unpack here the process of adding the common English word “Obama” to verbs and nouns, and examine how various inflections can produce reactions ranging from hatred to loathing to spitting on a congressman at a town-hall meeting. Topics include Obamanomics, Obamacare, Obamacation, Obamacaust, Obamadeathtax, and Obamapocaplyse.
Philosophy 31. The Crisis in Contemporary Philosophy F. Newton Gingrich Half course (Spring term). W., 3–5. This course attempts to understand why anyone bothers to major in philosophy anymore. Using financial, economic, and remunerative contexts, we walk through the arguments for studying philosophy and annihilate them one by one with a series of satisfying takedowns. Note: Cross-listed with the Business School. Enrollment expected to decrease throughout the semester as students see the folly of their ways and withdraw to pursue a degree in something practical.
Political Science 1254c. History, Doomed to Repeat Itself? Henry Paulson Half course (spring term). M., W., 3–4. Examines the remarkable similarities between the Glass-Steagall Act and Prohibition, providing an overview of two disastrous pieces of legislation that were mercifully dismantled before they could ruin too many summers on Martha’s Vineyard.
Psychology 143d. Growing Poor and Growing Crazy: Abnormal Psychology in Have-nots John Thain Half course (spring term). T., Th., 1–3. What produces in otherwise normal proles an irrational hatred of rich people so intense that it makes them willing to sleep outside in protest for weeks to no appreciable result? We’ll try to understand the cognitive changes occurring in the brain of people standing in the cold in the belief that their presence outside bank buildings will make rich people act more fairly. We’ll also try to understand, as a pre-emptive measure, why they haven’t started killing us yet.
Religion 987. Christ and Capitalism G. Don Gecko Half course (spring term). M., 9–11. Could it be that the Prince of Peace and Machiavelli’s Prince share more than just a sobriquet? This course develops the idea that the Lord Our God established the archetype for today’s ruthless chief executive officer, two thousand years before the pinstriped sack suit was a sparkle in Brooks Brothers’ eye. We’ll explore how He employed a stringent hierarchy (Father / Son / Holy Spirit), an aggressive merger strategy (Judaism and Christianity), and a relentless focus on profits (5 loaves and 2 fish grown to 12 basketfuls of food in one fiscal quarter) to birth a real estate empire valued today at over $400 billion, all before taking the ultimate golden parachute on a hill at Calvary.
Visual and Environmental Studies
Visual and Environmental Studies 124lv. Problematizing Allston Opportunities Drew Gilpin Faust Half course (spring term). M., W., 10:30–12. Where will Harvard relocate all the people who live in Allston when their homes are torn down to build a new campus? Could the university buy up cheap land in Saugus, throw up some shantytowns, and rent them out to these folks at top dollar? Students in this course will serve as a kind of shadow consultancy, examining the financial and ethical dimensions of this on the university’s behalf.
F R O M T H E O C C U P Y H A R VA R D F A C U L T Y O F M I S C H I E F
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