School may be out, but we haven’t forgotten the ways that a classroom can be even more fun than a day at the beach. From zombies to baseball, here are Metro’s picks for the courses that would make anyone want to hit the books.
On the Mat: “The History of Pro Wrestling”
Professor: Sam Ford
School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course: Spoiler alert: Pro wrestling is indeed fake. But that won’t stop these MIT kids from delving into the cultural and socio-economic implications of machismo in tights. Readings include “Steel Chair to the Head,” by Nicholas Sammond.
We are the Walking Dead: “Zombies, Serial Killers and Madmen”
Professor: Eric Smaw
School: Rollins College
Course: In his philosophy class, Dr. Smaw is quick to point out that we all exhibit zombie-like behavior on a daily basis: “Each of us has had the experience of frantically looking around for our cell phones only to look down and realize that the phone is in our hand, but we have no memory of ever having picked up our phone,” he says. But what about real-life cases of temporary insanity, when real-life “zombies” commit murder? Professor Smaw says that’s not so easy: “Temporary insanity pleas are notoriously difficult to win, and most juries will be immediately skeptical.”
Parental advisory: “The Science of Sexy Lyrics”
Professor: DorothyBelle Poli
School: Roanoke College
Course: As an outgrowth from her previous course that merged biology and music, Dr. Poli has something new in store for students this fall: Contrasting popular lyrics with Victorian ideals. For Poli, an increased understanding of popular science is what has fueled our liberated notions of love, drugs and pillbox hats.
Don’t have a cow, man: “D’oh! Psychology and ‘The Simpsons'”
Professor: Brian P. Meier
School: Gettysburg College
Course: This course asks hard-hitting psychology questions of TV’s favorite family: Is Homer naturally careless, or did childhood trauma bring about his regressive, hedonistic state? What about Nelson’s rage directed at perceived happiness in others? We won’t even start on Maggie’s pacifier.
Grand slamming history: “Baseball and American Culture: The Evolution of a Pastime”
Professor: Doug Battema
School: Western New England University
Course: With over a dozen door-stopping books required for the course, Dr. Battema is emptying his intellectual bullpen to show the baseball parallels to key moments in American history — from corporatization to desegregation. “While baseball clearly mirrored the best parts of American society, it also mirrored its racist tendencies – excluding African Americans, but also demonstrating a lot of hostility toward Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Jews and Latin-American players,” says Battema.
Crawling sideways: “The Crab Lab”
Professor: Tara Maginnis
College: University of Portland
Course: In this course, students are given free range to delve into any unanswered questions they have about the behavior of crabs, from aggression to locomotion. And how is it that they can lose a leg and grow a brand new one?