So they are supposed to be a the frontiers of knowledge and portals of enlightenment – however, in recent years colleges have incorporated some rather strange courses in their curriculum; while some of them may warrant intellectual curiosity, few others are, well…. downright bizarre. It makes you wonder over time what kind of online college classes may pop up!
Let’s have a look at some courses that may actually leave you a certain “gobsmacked” and wondering… what the hell all this is really about?!
The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie
So this happens to be a mandatory course for some freshmen at Occidental College. ‘The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie – Race and Popular Culture in the United States’ explores means and ways in which ‘scientific racism has been put to use in the making of Barbie’.
Well… with the course readings ranging from Sandra Kisneros to Karl Marx, the course can definitely be credited with some badass-hardcore academic content. However, a course on race which tries to prove its point by describing the ‘the whiteness of Barbie’ as ‘unbearable’… we’re a just teeny wee bit lost here.
The Theology of Eating
Eating is indispensable for human life. No dispute there. Since it’s such an important part of living-being alive, it must have some theological implications too!
Anyway, Loyola College came to the conclusion that this inextricable connection between eating and God needed some reflecting upon. Ergo, the exploratory course where students are taught and made aware about ‘complex religious aspects associated with eating’.
Wonder if free servings are a part of the deal?
Please welcome Occidental College once again, and in tow is another course – well, on Stupidity. Clearly, the word can have multidimensional applications in this case. This very ‘novel’ (uh! uh!) course itself uses the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Gilles Deleuze amongst other to elucidate that ‘stupidity is neither ignorance or organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence, rather than its opposite’.
Well, in this case let’s just say that only those who indulge in it must know!
The Joy of Garbage
A change of perspective here: so, no matter how useless, pointless and rather fetid you may have considered Garbage up until this point, Virginia Matzek of Santa Clara University would beg to differ. A ‘science class for non science majors’, the Joy of Garbage it so appears ‘is a serious class where students are required to conduct research and learn how to work with data’.
Amongst the more pointed questions in this course are questions like:
What is the difference between ‘garbage’, ‘discard’, and ‘waste’?
So what in your opinion could be another suitable title for this course – the joy of whiling away time, maybe?
The Art of Sin and the Sin of Art
Sounds posh? Well, maybe. Maybe not.
So The Rhode Island School of Design attracts aspirants (artists, designers) from all across the country – and that’s great news, really – but why in the world would these energetic hopefuls would like to ‘lust with the saints and burn with the sinners’ is beyond normal understanding.
However, in any case if one of the students accepts the invitation to the course, they spend the semester analysing the moral dimensions of the works of classical and modern artists.
Philosophy and Star Trek
In George Town University, philosophy students study the works of prominent thinkers like Aristotle, Kant and many others. That’s just great, but here comes the zinger…they do all this under the pretext of understanding ‘the philosophical depths of Star Trek!’
The course dishes out an introduction to, metaphysics and epistemology philosophy, while trying to dissect major philosophical questions which come up in the science fiction entertainment drama. Sign me up Scottie!
Zombies – The Living Dead in Literature, Film and Culture
Real credit for this course must go to its champion, Sean Hoade, Professor of English at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Act surprised because this may not blow your mind away on account of its incomprehensibility, but through this course the kind Professor tries to draw parallels between American consumption patterns… and Zombies.
His keen observation: Zombies act as mirrors for Americans, not only as we see ourselves, but also as the rest of the world see America in the times of George W Bush: as a roaming, voracious killer turning its victims into soulless creatures like itself.’
Maple Syrup – The Real Thing
For those who would like to study in Alfred University in the idyllic part of Western New York State, they may actually find themselves in class trying to understand the depths and subtleties concerned with the production of Maple Syrup.
However, the real perquisite for this course is ‘to be able to work long hours in cold, snow and mud.’
The Art of Walking
The Art of walking may seem like routine to some, and to some it may just be a trivial thing which they do without putting much though in it. But it’s not so for Dr. Ken Keffer, Professor of Modern Language at Centre College, Kentucky.
Well, the Professor conducts a class wholly dedicated to the understanding of ‘intelligible and sensual design in inner and outer nature’ – first fully expounded by Immanuel Kant.
So, apart from taking customary walks with his students, this professor assigns freelance walking assignments for students to truly appreciate the nuances of walking.
Once, again the people at Occidental College thought of it as prime importance, that in the current course of human events, it is extremely pertinent for students to delve deep into the mysterious depths of ‘the significance of phallus’ and ‘the relation of the phallus to masculinity, femininity, genital organs and the fetish’.
It sort of becomes self evident that the ‘phallus’ occupies the central theme in the psychoanalytic theories of gender and sexuality, as the course occupies once again a pivotal role in the Intercultural and Queer Program.
And all this for a price of —- well, over four thousand five hundred dollars only.
Pricey and strange. Quite the combo thing going here.