Midway through this term let us reflect on some quirky but surprisingly educational courses offered at colleges all over the country. You won’t need a venti caramel macchiato to stay awake in these classes because the title alone will catch your attention. In the immortal words of Heath Ledger's Joker: "And here…we…go!"
Physics 21: Science from Superheroes to Global Warming
Offered at the University of California, Irvine, this course studies the physics and fluid dynamics of some of the most esteemed superheroes including Spider-man, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The professor even goes so far as to explore the properties of Spidey's silk!
Introduction to Turntablism
For a semester in 2009, students at Oberlin University had the opportunity to get course credit for spinning discs. In other words, student DJs perfected skills in scratching, sampling and beat matching. If none of those terms make sense to you, look for a DJing class in your course registry.
GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, Identity
At Virginia’s esteemed state university, students taking introductory argumentative essay writing have the privilege of learning about how Lady Gaga influences society’s perception of gender and sexuality in the 21st century. Other Spring 2012 argumentative writing offerings include titles like “Sex, Faith and Rock and Roll” and “Graffiti and Remix Culture.” Similarly the University of South Carolina’s department of sociology offers a course on the sociology of Gaga’s album ‘The Fame.’ The course focuses on the “social dimensions of fame as exemplified by the career of Lady Gaga.”
Philosophy and Star Trek
This one’s for all the Trekkies out there. At Georgetown University, Professor Linda Wetzel has taken pop culture to a new level. Wetzel has been marrying the discipline of philosophy with Star Trek since 2004 when the course was first introduced. The course objectives include exploring the reality of time travel, identifying the difference between the mind and the brain, even defining what a “person” is. How awesome would it be to have a professor who regularly says "Live long and prosper…oh, and be sure to read page 394 for a test on Tuesday!"
Goldberg’s Canon: Makin’ Whoopi
Labeled “A Symposium on the Career of Whoopi Goldberg,” Bates College offers a series-like lecture on the significance of Ms. Goldberg. Topics include Whoopi in Africana Woman Tradition, Religion in the Color Purple, and Dreaded Whoopi. This course provides a fresh perspective for students studying rhetoric. Likewise, Georgetown University offers a course on the rhetoric of Jay-Z called “The Sociology of Hip-Hop.” It's ya boy!
(Spider-man meme from http://www.flickr.com/photos/26445634@N02/6693820195/)