5 Unique Classes for the Bored Undergrad
College is usually understood as the time young adults learn the necessary tools to become productive contributing members of society. We take classes to hone our skills as engineers, filmmakers, doctors, social workers, and more. We take classes rooted in math, science, history, and English to continue our growth as well-informed, intelligent members of society.
Like most colleges, though, Syracuse University offers some fun and wacky classes that don’t really fall into either of these categories. Here are a few that might not be on your radar, but definitely should be if you want to make your classroom experience a bit more exciting.
1. "Doctor Who in the Digital Age" Professor Anthony Rotolo has taught a lot of interesting classes at SU — his social media for communications class is one of the most popular classes amongst students. However, Rotolo really outdid himself this semester when he introduced a class about the popular BBC show, Doctor Who. In the class students explore the history of the show, its cultural significance, and status as one of the most unique media artifacts of all time. For those of us who aren’t Whovians, or don’t even know what that means, Professor Rotolo has also taught course on the legendary show Star Trek.
2. “Diversity and Disney Princesses” (COM 344) Is there any better way to appeal to millennial college students than with Disney Princesses? I dare you to find anyone on campus that wouldn’t be interested in a class about Belle, Arielle, Snow White, and Jasmine. However, the class isn’t just a trip down memory lane or a discussion of who the prettiest princess was. Gonzalo Rodriguez, a junior advertising major, describes the class as an exploration of “different forms of diversity shown in Disney movies, specifically the now 13 Disney princesses.” He also said that he enjoyed the class “because it talked about everything from race to gender to social class.”
3. “Hip-Hop Eshu: Queen Bitch 101" (ETS 350) The English department is much more than reading classic American novels and writing poetry — nothing makes this more obvious than this class taught by Professor Greg Thomas. In the class, students analyze how Lil' Kim’s rap lyrics challenge many of the troubling gender stereotypes perpetuated in male dominated hip hop culture. If you take the course, you might be lucky enough to meet 'Lil Kim, like a 2004 section of the class did.
4. “The End is Near… Again" (REL 320) Taking advantage of apocalyptic fears in 2012, Professor Wendy DeBoer of the religion department offered a course about the end of times. Students were probably a little disappointed when they found out the class would not be all about the Mayan calendar’s prediction of 2012 being the end of the world. Recent SU grad Tim Quinn was one of these students, saying he was completely sold by the name. Although the class wasn’t what he expected, Tim enjoyed the discussions on different religious ideas about the apocalypse. He also got to write his own apocalypse story, which featured a “Skrillex monster that was destroying the music world.”
5. “Sociology of Hip Hop Culture" (SOC 300) While the 'Lil Kim course is an English class analyzing text in the form of song lyrics, Professor Don Sawyers’s class explores hip-hop as a sub-culture within American society. This class isn’t as wacky as the others on the list, but if you're looking to escape the horny masses in Human Sex, it is a good one to check out.
Photo by Adham Elsharkawi