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Top 10 Bizarre College Courses

by Dash
fact checked by Alex Hanton

They are supposed to be cathedrals of higher learning. In recent years,colleges have revamped their course structure to pave the way for some unusual courses to be incorporated into the curriculum. While some of them may have dregs of intellectual inquiry, others are downright bizarre.We take a look at some courses which may make you wonder if that beer pong championship your son enrolled in is not such a bad thing after all.  ?


The Unbearable Whiteness Of Barbie


A mandatory course for some freshmen at Occidental College, ‘The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie-Race and Popular Culture in the United States” tries to explore ways in which “scientific racism has been put to use in the making of Barbie.” Elizabeth Chin, the instructor of this course warns students that the course itself is no child’s play. With assigned readings ranging from Sandra Kisneros to Karl Marx, the course incorporates some pretty hardcore academic content. Nevertheless, a course on race which describes the whiteness of Barbie as unbearable seems incredibly unscientific. Wonder if this course was offered when a certain gentlemen named Barack Obama was roaming the corridors of this West Coast institution.


The Theology of Eating

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Since such an important aspect of everyday living must have theological implications, Loyola college decided that the inextricable link between God and eating was to be explored. Students are taught the ‘complex religious aspects associated with eating’, exploring the texts to expound the intricacies of etiquette in a canonical context. The evolution debate may not have been decided, but common sense predicts problems for those who do not eat a balanced diet. However, if free servings are part of the deal,it may help all those poor souls dissect (food) theology.



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Occidental college makes another appearance on the list, this time for the accommodation of stupidity. Of course, the word refers the name of the course rather than a quality possessed by its students. The course itself uses works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Gilles Deleuze among others to clarify that ‘stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence rather than its opposite’. Only those who indulge in it must know.  


The Joy of Garbage

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No matter how useless Garbage sounds, Virginia Matzek of Santa Clara University will try to change your impression of it. A ‘science class for non science-majors’, the Joy of Garbage is apparently a ‘serious class where students are required to do research and learn how to work with data’. Among the questions asked are “What is the difference between ‘garbage’ ,’discard’ and ‘waste’?” and “What could be a better title for the course?” ‘The Joy of Wasting time’,perhaps?


The Art of Sin and the Sin of Art

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The Rhode Island School of Design attracts aspiring artists and designers from around the country but it is inconceivable to think that some of them might want to ‘lust with the saints and burn with the sinners.’ However, if any one of them accepts the invitation, they can spend the semester analysing the moral dimensions of the works of classical as well as modern artists. Being the artsy school that RISD is, the course and the teacher should have a cult following.Well, different strokes for different folks.


Philosophy and Star Trek

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Philosophy students at Georgetown University read works by Aristotle, Kant and others. However, its done under the pretext of understanding the philosophical depths of Star Trek.
The course serves as an introduction to metaphysics and epistemology philosophy,and tries to dissect the major philosophical questions which come up in the science fiction entertainment drama. Another proof that the ingenuity of educators has conjured ways of teaching which were hitherto unknown.


The living dead in Literature, Film and Culture

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The American South is still the bastion of conservatism and evangelism, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to expound Zombies. The credit for this pioneering course must go to Sean Hoade, professor of English at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, who draws parallels between American consumption patterns and Zombies. His observation that ‘zombies act as a mirror for Americans, not only as we see ourselves but also as the rest of the world sees America in the time of George W. Bush: as a roaming, voracious killer turning its victims into soulless creatures like itself’ may be a little far fetched, but his students are not complaining. 


Maple Syrup: The Real Thing


 Those who decide to attend Alfred University in a bucolic part of Western New York State, may find themselves in a classroom studying the subtleties concerned with the production of maple syrup. The only prerequisite for the course is the ‘willingness to work for long periods in snow,cold and mud’. The production techniques invented by the Native Americans which have endured constant change are dissected, visits to local producers, restaurants and festivals augmenting the process. It’s the Real Thing, so students can find jobs easily with this course on their resume!


The Art of Walking


The Art of Walking might seem trivial to some, but not to Dr Ken Keffer, Professor of Modern Languages at Centre College, Kentucky. He conducts a class dedicated to the understanding of ‘intelligible and sensual design in inner and outer nature’,first expounded by Immanuel Kant. Apart from the customary walks which he takes with his students to the nearby Perryville Battlefield and the surrounding areas,Dr Keffer assigns freelance walking assignments for students to appreciate the subtleties of walking. Now, where is this college again?


The Phallus


The people at Occidental College decided that in the course of human events it becomes necessary for students to delve into the ‘signification of the phallus’ and the ‘relation of the phallus to masculinity, femininity, genital organs and the fetish’. It being self evident that the phallus occupies a central theme in the psychoanalytic theories of gender and sexuality, the course occupies a pivotal role in the Intercultural and Queer program.All this for a price of about four thousand five hundred dollars.

fact checked by Alex Hanton