I didn’t make any of this up

I’ve been doing my best to furiously sock away money for when the kid finally escapes high school and can enter the wonderful world of post-secondary education. We talk about where she wants to go. We browse through university websites to see who’s offering things she’s interested. We figure out what she’ll need to pack into her schedule and what kind of marks she’ll need to pull off over the next couple of years to help her get into some of these places.

There are some strange courses and programs being offered at the college and university levels these days. Most, thankfully, are not as bizarre as these:

  1. Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism (Swathmore College, Swathmore PA – a Quaker-founded college). They use the model of the blacks’ struggle in the 1960s (because that worked out so well for them) to“ deconstruct terrorism and build on promising nonviolent procedures to combat today’s terrorism.”
  2. Mail Order Brides: Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Maryland). America’s foremost research university offers this “deep” look into Filipino kinship and gender. Maybe we could take a “ deep” look at helping these women earn a living so they won’t have to sell themselves to creepy white guys.
  3. The Art of Walking (Centre College Danville, Kentucky) From the birthplace of chicken deep-fried with 11 herbs and spices comes a course to help you “appreciate the power of using your feet so that you will become closer to nature and slowly transform your life.” Kewl.
  4. Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular Logic on TV Judge Shows. (University of California, Berkeley). Students are warned that this is not a law course, but rather an “exploration of logical fallacies that are often presented by defendants and plaintiffs on court television shows.” And we need to know this because…?
  5. Far Side Entomology (Oregon State University). Somebody in the field of higher education in Oregon believes that The Far Side comic strip features “a rich universe filled with interesting animals and bugs through which to explore interactions between humans and insects. The anthropomorphism in the cartoons makes an immediate connection between insects and people. Students take those connections farther, connecting to ideas and relationships they wouldn’t have imagined.” Right-o!
  6. The Phallus (Occidental College, Los Angeles, California). This course looks closely at the relationship between “the phallus and the penis, the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism.” The…..what now? Huh? Um…Eh?

And my personal nightmare favourite from one of my own alma maters

7.  The Oprah Effect (McMaster University, Ontario Canada) They read all the books Oprah recommends and analyze how Oprah has “influenced the literary world and the concept of race and body image in America.” Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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21 responses to “I didn’t make any of this up

  1. When I first hard that Queen’s had a new department with the moniker “Cultural Studies”, I cringed.
    http://www.queensu.ca/sgs/Currentstudents/culturalstudies.html
    But when I looked at it, it seemed to me that it was exactly what I’d like to study! It’s only graduate work, so your daughter would have to do undergrad first, but it might not be so silly as the courses you mentioned.
    In whatever field she chooses, she could compare the courses at the grad level with the undergrad and choose some that would lead to further studies, thus leaving her options open.

  2. Those sorts of courses are why I adored college! I would take each and every one of them. They look awesome!

    Elective courses nicely temper the requirements of one’s major.

  3. What no classes on Blogging for a living? Or making Facebook work for you in big business? Come on U.S.A. let’s get on these things.

    I worry about us…and U.S.

  4. Bandobras – Lose their way? I think we’ve all lost our minds.

    Hannah – I won’t. She’s scary and dangerous enough without any more encouragement.

    Jazz – Entertaining perhaps, but what do you do with a degree comprised of learning like this?

    Mary – No. Don’t think that. I, for one, am glad I learned the usual boring stuff.

    Julia – That’s what I’m suggesting, too. Keep the undergrad as general as possible within the sphere of her interests and go from there.

    Elaine – That’s true. Two of the best course I ever took at university were an “extra studies” courses – one on Human Sexuality where we had the most interesting guest speakers, presentations and videos and a course on Bioethics. I would never take a course on Oprah though. I wouldn’t survive it without having an aneurism.

    Cedar – Oh, there have GOT to be courses on blogging and FB. I think those are just too mainstream by now to even be mentioned in the “new and odd” category. Dontcha think?

  5. “Far Side Entomology (Oregon State University). ” I am going to find out if they offer this online.
    SERIOUSLY.
    I could get my pHD in this!!!!

  6. When getting my geology degree I took an English elective on detective novels. It was too much fun. You do have to have the fun courses to offset the physics and chemistry and metamorphic petrology.

    I’m actually surprised that Oprah is only a course and not a whole diploma program. “Yeah, I have a BSc in organic chemistry and a Master’s in Oprah. I majored in Oprah’s Book Club and minored in Gail.”

  7. Friar – Oh NO!! We have to go underground to the sewers and subway systems and form a new society of Antioprahrians. It’s the only way to save what’s left of humanity.

    Bob – XUP Jr. has her sights set on a whole different kettle of fish.

    Lebowski – You totally should go for it. You can do a minor in South Park.

    Alison – It’s only a matter of time before Oprah becomes an entire university, but you can be sure before this goes any further that Oprah will have to be in charge of it and design the programs herself and handpick the professors and write the textbooks and maybe even grade the papers herself. The university will be a giant sculpture of Oprah with classrooms and laboratories inside. It will have retractable fat (a la the Skydome’s retractable roof) so that the university will always resemble Oprah no matter what her body-shape of the day is.

    Geewits – Ya, there were a whole bunch of weird and wonderful courses listed under in google’s strangest courses round-up. Something for everyone. I guess if it attracts people to a certain university then why not throw in a quirky course or two, right?

  8. Make fun, but the phillipino mail order bride class was well worth the price of tuition. Just ask my dearest Ming Pao. I mean, when she’s done mowing the lawn. But then I’m sure she’ll tell you how great I am. That is, unless she wants the hose again.

  9. I want to be an antiophrarian. Now, now, now. With secret handshakes and a permanent seat in the sewer. Um. Couldn’t we make that subways first?

  10. Mayopie – Once her 3 years are up (or however long it takes before she’s a citizen), she will kill you in your sleep.

    Loth – You could always supplement it with the Judge Judy course? But, be aware: It is NOT a law course.

    Mary – You’re in! It’s as simple as that. We’ll have to wait until Ottawa digs that tunnel before we can have our first meeting if you’re not in favour of the sewer. Wait, do we even have a sewer? Doesn’t everything just run straight into the river?

    Violetsky – I think all of these courses are designed to pick your average up, so there’s no way you can fail.