1. The Phallus
Occidental College offers the course as part of its "women/gender studies" major, showing up in part three of the course schedule in "topics in gay and lesbian" studies. The class touches on different aspects of the phallus, from different historical opinions to emphasis on the relationship to race and gender. For those of you who are unaware of what the phallus is, it's another word or symbol for a certain part of the male anatomy (the one that has its own brain). Oh yeah, that's exactly what we are talking about.
2. Art of Walking
Many college students have to do a lot of walking during the course of a day, but many don't get college credits for it! Not so ay Center College located in Danville KY. There, professor Ken Keffer teaches a class entitled "The Art of Walking" during the winter break. In the class (as well as a book entitled "The Art of Walking With Kant"). In Ken's class, he discusses how walking has become a lost mode of transportation in a world full of cars and other means of getting around. Lessons are based on Keffer's fascination with beauty and art, and how walking relates to them.
3. American Degenerates
The title of the class may throw you off a bit, as a "degenerate" is usually used as a negative connotation to describe an inferior person. Yet it's that inferiority that is the subject of the course. Brown University offers the American Degenerates course as part of its English curriculum as a way to look into the processes which help shape one's identity. American literature is used to look at how the idea of finding one's identity has changed over the years since the United States emerged as an independent nation.
4. Exploration of Blackness
The same college that brought us The Phallus strikes again with yet another controversial class. In the Exploration of Blackness, students will look into future implications of current issues in the black community instead of merely studying the trials of the past like most courses do. Occidental refers to the class as a "breaking from the mold", as much of the discussion and subject mater in the class is merely subjective and up for debate.
5. Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism
An interesting spin on the subject of racism, Mount Holyoke College's Whitness: The Other Side of Racism, examines the aspects of racism that are often overlooked in the subject. Professor Sandy Lawrence states that the class is a great way to see that "racism still exists and that dismantling [it] will take the work of all of us." The course often takes a look at the advantages that white people receive as a result of racism rather than looking at the typical aspects of the subject.
6. Queer Musicology
In the list of musicology courses available at UCLA, you'll find one listed simply as "queer". The graduate course is considered to be dated from the 1990's and is used to to teach how music may actually sound different based on sexual preference, both of the composer and of the listener. Much of the class is based on concepts from a 1994 book entitled "Queering the Pitch: the gay and lesbian musicology" by Phillip Brett, which evolved from a paper he had written back in the 70's called "Benjamin Britten's music in terms of gay identity".
7. Comparative History of Organized Crime
That's right gangsta; what better excuse will you have years down the road when you get arrested for your own involvement in crime then "I learned it in college!" Williams College in Massachusetts offers the Comparative History of Organized Crime in its History curriculum, where you'll have the ability to learn all about how organized crime started and it's rise to power and fame (and many tussles with the law) in the 20th century.
8. Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism
Gandhi would be proud. Swarthmore College "Peace and Conflict Studies" program offers the "Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism " class to teach us about peaceful confrontation. Topics covered in class include deconstructing terrorism to see how and why it happens, understanding "cultural marginalization", the process of how different cultural groups are separated from more dominant social groups and how and why they become terrorists. Nonviolent solutions (based on past successes) for the future are also discussed.
No, it's not a college course from the future. Students involved with Cornell University's "Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies" program can enroll in Cyberfeminism, which discuses feminism and how it has related to the emergence of new technologies over the past 25 years. Visual arts play a big impact in the course, including cyberfeminism in magazines, video games, and interactive media. History of cyberfeminsm art and it's relation to other feminist movements of the past are also discussed.
10. The Horror Film in Context
A little weird, but hands down one of the coolest courses to take on the list. Taught by professor Aviva Breifel at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, "The Horror Film in Context" looks at why our society is so fascinated with not only horror films, but with death in general. "Horror films often deal with the decimation of people who look very much like the audience members who are watching these films. And it's really interesting to think about why people are so fascinated with seeing images of violence".
11. Taking Marx Seriously: Should Marx Be Given Another Chance?
If you are not aware, Karl Marx was a philosopher and revolutionary who introduced his "marxism" theories of social economics and struggle in the 1800's, which ultimately influenced many forms of communism later in the 20th century. The course "Taking Marx Seriously" at Amherst College takes a look back at Marx' philosophies and teachings, and questions whether the communist regimes that grew and fell based on his teaching really understood the or were just poor representations of what Marx stood for.
12. Death and The Nineteenth Century
If you haven't noticed, most of the themes of our list deal with either sex or death, two concepts that everybody is obsessed with (but no one likes to admit!). At Purdue, you'll have the opportunity to take your fascination with death to the next level with "Death and the Nineteenth Century", which looks at the issue of morality in specific novels and poems that deal heavily with death. Each author discussed in some way dealt with death through their writing, and looking deeper into their works may showcase how one deals with death through literature.
13. The Adultery Novel In and Out of Russia
Another course related to sexuality, this class would have been on our radar by itself, but gets extra attention because it's limited to the University of Pennsylvania's "Russian Studies". The "Adultery Novel In and Out of Russia" takes a look at 19th and 20th century Russian literature about adultery. Study of these novels will allow the student to compare the aspects of adultery within the texts alongside the society that read them.
14. Maple Syrup
Believe it or not, Alfred University in New York has been the home of "Maple Syrup - The Real Thing". The class looks into the profession of making maple syrup and how little has changed in the production of maple syrup. The processes used today are very similar to the methods used by the Native Americans, in a world where many of our products are created in factories or altered from the way they were in the past. Expect to create and enjoy different recipes and dishes both in the class and on field trips.
15. European Witchcraft
Some of the history courses available at Oneonta College maybe a little different than you are used to. Who would have thought you could spend an entire class studying witches? Their "History of European Witchcraft" course will take you back in time to a place where witches were the real deal (or so people thought, anyway). Aspects of study include how witchcraft rose during the middle ages to the backgrounds and mind sets of those who were accused to the accusers themselves.
16. Philosophy and Star Trek
While all the cool kids are learning about death, sex, and walking, you can bet all the geeks and nerds won't be left out of their own weird college classes (though they'll probably tell you it's completely normal!) Georgetown Universities' PHIL-180 is a science fiction fan's dream come true - "Philosophy and Star Trek". In the class you'll have the privilege of comparing many philosophical themes of the past along with similar themes echoed in the Star Trek television series, and dwell on aspects of time travel and other possibilities that may or may not exist.
17. Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles
Finally, the University of Wisconsin has a course that would make my mother want to go back to school. As part of their "Women's Studies" major, you can dive into the intense lives of some of television's most popular soap operas in "Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles". The course study deals with how these programs effect the family and work lives of the people who watch them. Also, the class compares the themes and values of these programs with their prime-time counterparts.