For many of these strange college courses, what is being taught either falls into a category of common sense or something so obscure that it would only be useful in ridiculously rare situations. In the "do you really not know how to do that already?" category, the Ohio State University offers a course on how to watch sports, one that is surely popular among their scholarly student athletes. Similarly, Montclair State University offers a class on how to watch television, in case that's something you never quite mastered on your own.
In the "let's pay thousands of dollars of our parents money to learn things we'll never, ever use" category: Bates College offers a seminar about the career of Whoopi Goldberg; the University of Texas will teach you to speak Klingon; and Appalachian State University will teach you how to determine if Harry Potter is a fictional character or actually someone who existed in history.
So if that advanced calculus or macroeconomics class you're taking is just too mainstream for you, head over and try one of these stupid college courses. You never know when skills like street-fighting mathematics or the joy of garbage will come in handy.
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What If Harry Potter Is Real?
From Appalachian State University: "This course will engage students with questions about the very nature of history. Who decides what history is? Who decides how it is used or mis-used? How does this use or misuse affect us? How can the historical imagination inform literature and fantasy? How can fantasy reshape how we look at history? The Harry Potter novels and films are fertile ground for exploring all of these deeper questions. By looking at the actual geography of the novels, real and imagined historical events portrayed in the novels, the reactions of scholars in all the social sciences to the novels, and the world-wide frenzy inspired by them, students will examine issues of race, class, gender, time, place, the uses of space and movement, the role of multiculturalism in history as well as how to read a novel and how to read scholarly essays to get the most out of them."Because nothing says I'm not a conspiracy wackjob by blurring the lines between fiction and fact.
From Princeton University: "The seminar is an inquiry into the social significance of clothing and a close examination of the relationship between clothing and identity in 20th-century America. To explore that juncture, students keep a literary sketchbook in which they record their observations about the ways clothing comes into play in the news, in their surroundings and in their own lives. The journal helps the students hone their powers of observation and learn key skills for examining the world."Because picking out a pair of yoga pants and UGGs each morning is hard.
How to Win a Beauty Pageant
From Oberlin College: "This course examines US beauty pageants from the 1920s to the present. Our aim will be to analyze pageantry as a unique site for the interplay of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nation. We will learn about cultural studies methodology, including close reading, cultural history, critical discourse analysis, and ethnography, and use those methods to understand the changing identity of the US over time. This course includes a field visit to a pageant in Ohio."Because with enough practice, hard work, and training, you too can someday land on "Toddlers & Tiaras."
How to Watch Television
From Montclair State University: "This course, open to both broadcasting majors and non-majors, is about analyzing television in the ways and extent to which it needs to be understood by its audience. The aim is for students to critically evaluate the role and impact of television in their lives as well as in the life of the culture. The means to achieve this aim is an approach that combines media theory and criticism with media education."Because we've all been watching television incorrectly this whole time and we never had a clue.