Who would have thought that the most highly esteemed academic institutions in the United States would have so many classes on things like sex and alcohol, mythical beings and pop culture? College today is no longer solely dedicated to mind-numbing subjects riddled with facts and equations. Today’s schools offer classes that stimulate your creativity and make you think critically about your favorite sitcom or sci-fi movie.
Like last year’s list (find it here) and part one of the 2010 edition (check it out!), this compilation will have you thinking, “Seriously? Why didn’t I go to that school?”
West Virginia University – Vines to Wines
You must be 21 to take this class! Students in the course learn all about wine – from its significance in modern culture to what makes a wine good. And yes, wine tasting is in the curriculum.
Wellesley College – Invented Languages: From Wilkins’ Real Character to Avatar’s Na’vi
Have you ever wanted to learn Klingon? Or Na’vi? This class will show you the linguistics of made-up languages.
“Is there a place for invented language? What do invented languages teach us about natural language? We will explore the linguistic underpinnings of various languages, from seventeenth century Real Character to Na’vi. There will also be a focus on artificial language learning, and students will design their own miniature artificial language,” states the Wellesley College course description.
Brown University – Black Holes, Time Travel, and Other Dimensions
According to the course description, in this 2-week class at Brown, students are posed with the questions: “What would happen if I fell into a black hole? Can I travel back in time and change history? Is it possible to travel faster than light?”
This is definitely one science class that even I could stay awake for, and that’s saying something.
University of Delaware – Time Travel
According to the description of the class, this class, “explores the connections of time travel to traditional philosophic issues concerning the nature of time, God, free will and personal identity.” The class takes a combination of physics, philosophy, and science fiction to explore the possibilities of time and space.
University of Delaware – Mind, ESP and Survival
This class is “an exploration of major philosophical conceptions of the relation of mind (soul) and brain… (it studies the) implications for the nature of mind from the literature of psychic research and immortality,” according to the class description.
Arizona State University – Sex and the City: Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture
The life of Carrie Bradshaw takes on a whole new meaning for students in this class, which “examines the changing construction of young, sexually autonomous women in the city by popular media in post- WWII America,” according to ASU’s course catalog.
University of Mary Washington – First Year Seminar: “From Cinderella to Harry Potter: Fairy Tales and Fantasy Literature,” “Mad Scientists, Bad Scientists, and Evil Geniuses,” “The Videogame Canon: The Most Important Videogames Ever Made”
This freshman class takes on many faces – with themed seminars welcoming new Mary Washington students, there is something for every type of fan. The course description states that “students will study a non-traditional topic in a nontraditional way while exploring the concept of a liberal arts education.”
University of Virginia – Accelerated Academic Writing: “Gaga for Gaga”
UVA offers yet another interesting course with this writing seminar on Lady Gaga. That’s right: Lady Gaga.
What, I wonder, could possibly be studied about this pop icon (whether she’s good or bad, I’ll leave up to you to decide) in a university? This article on The Friskytalks about the class. Perhaps the way she portrays herself, her song lyrics or even her clothes. Guess you will just have to take it to find out!
What do you think of these classes? Would you take them? Have you taken them?
Course descriptions on the following schools’ websites: University of Mary Washington, Arizona State University, University of Delaware, Brown University, Wellesley College and West Virginia University