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Stacy Conradt
12 More Classes We Wish Our Colleges Had Offered
by Stacy Conradt - January 30, 2009 - 3:28 PM

[Here’s the original 12 Classes We Wish Our Colleges Had Offered post, in case you missed it the first time around.]

satc1. Sex and the City, Oregon State. This class was so popular in 2006 that the original limit of 200 students per class had to be upped to 500. The professor used the HBO series to discuss sex and gender issues in society

2. Brewing Science and Society (New Mexico State University). Sounds like a blast, but as our commenter said, this upper 300-level chemical engineering class is not a cakewalk (or a pub crawl, if you will). It was still on the course list as of Fall 2008.

3. Media Studies: Jim Morrison and the Doors (Plymouth State). It’s only offered the fall semester of odd years, so if you’re dying to take this class, you’d better think about enrolling at Plymouth State soon. “Participants utilize a cultural studies framework to analyze films, television programs, musical offerings and print and online materials in relation to their historical contexts, ideological contents, symptomatic characteristics, and overall contributions to our modern-day understanding of media processes and effects.” Way to make a fun class sound boring! I suppose they have to weed people out somehow.

tom4. Adult Swim (Kent State). Professor Ron Russo has been teaching about Adult Swim’s animation block on the Cartoon Network since 2004. He even wrote the first textbook on the subject – Adult Swim and Comedy. Each class consists of about 30 students and has the full support of the Adult Swim show creators – some, such as Tom Goes to the Mayor’s Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, have even teleconferenced with the class to answer questions.

5. Forbidden Knowledge (Wheaton College). This one sounds particularly flossy to me. But I’ll let the course description speak for itself: “Throughout recorded human history, the acquisition of new knowledge through scientific discovery or technological invention has confronted human societies with ethical dilemmas. Students in this class will encounter these quandaries of the human condition by studying religious, literary, philosophical and scientific texts. The texts selected for this course explore the changing attitudes at various moments in history toward the need to forbid or control knowledge.”

6. Marksmanship (University of Texas at El Paso). Not only can you learn how to shoot a .22 caliber rifle in this “advanced skill” class, you can repeat the class for credit.

7. Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Yep, a whole semester of watching Kurosawa films and getting college credit for it. Well, the actual description is, “Cross-cultural definitions of heroism, individualism and authority in film and fiction, with emphasis upon tales or images that have been translated across cultures.”

zombies.jpg8. Zombies! The Living Dead in Literature, Film and Culture (University of Alabama). Are you kidding me!? I’d kill to take this class. It examines the parallels between Americans (living ones) and zombies, such as consuming goods not necessarily needed. The class also gets to go on a pretty awesome field trip – a zombie walk.

9. Hitchcock and His Influence (UCLA). Another one I would probably switch schools to sign up for. In the first seven weeks of the course, students watch and analyze Hitch’s films; the last three weeks focus on screening Hitchcock-influenced films.

10. Honors Introduction to LEGO Robotics (Towson University). Remember LEGO Mindstorms? Basically they’re Lego blocks with programmable parts including motors, sensors, gears, axles and beams. At Towson, you can play with them for credit. The childhood toys are used to each the basics of mechanics and electronics.

11. Shops and Shopping (Yale). Sweet. Hopefully it includes field trips, although that’s not mentioned in the course description. Instead of bargain-hunting, this class claims to teach development of buildings specifically meant for shopping, evolution of packaging, the role of advertising and the suburbanization of shopping.

12. Pornography: Writing of Prostitutes (Wesleyan University). If you’re caught looking at porn on a computer at the school library at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., just tell the librarian that you’re doing homework. The course description says, “Our examination [of pornography] accordingly includes the implication of pornography in so-called perverse practices such as voyeurism, bestiality, sadism, and masochism, and considers the inflections of the dominant white-heterosexual tradition by alternative sexualities and genders, as well as by race, class, age, mental and physical competence. We also attempt to identify the factors, intrinsic and extrinsic, which align the pornographic impulse with revolutionary or conservative political practices. But our primary focus is on pornography as radical representations of sexuality whose themes are violation, degradation, and exposure.” The class involves a project as part of the final – students have submitted performance art pieces, photography, videos and fiction writing.

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