Thursday, March 12, 2009

College Courses in America

Here is a list of the Fifteen Strangest College Courses in America. They are:

15. Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows, University of California, Berkeley

14. Underwater Basket Weaving, University of California, San Diego

13. Learning From YouTube, Pitzer College

12. Philosophy and Star Trek, Georgetown University

11. The Art of Walking, Centre College (a philosophy class on Immanuel Kant)

10. Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles, University of Wisconsin

9. Joy of Garbage, Santa Clara University

8. The Science of Superheroes, University of California at Irvine (about physics)

7. Zombies in Popular Media, Columbia College, Chicago

6. The Science of Harry Potter, Frostburg State University (no lab work required)

5. Cyberporn and Society, State University of New York at Buffalo

4. Simpsons and Philosophy, University of California-Berkeley

3. Far Side Entomology, Oregon State

2. Myth and Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings, Centre College

1. The Strategy of StarCraft, University of California, Berkley

Only one of these is a rhetoric class, the class on Judge Judy. Yet, even though it is on Judge Judy, it is a very smart class, especially for freshman. According to the description:
TV "Judge" shows have become extremely popular in the last 3-5 years. A fascinating aspect of these shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or perversions of standard logic, and yet are used over and over again. For example, when asked "Did you hit the plaintiff?" respondents often say, "If I woulda hit him, he'd be dead!" This reply avoids answering "yes" or "no" by presenting a perverted form of the logical strategy called "a fortiori" argument ["from the stronger"] in Latin. The seminar will be concerned with identifying such apparently popular logical fallacies on "Judge Judy" and "The People's Court" and discussing why such strategies are so widespread. It is NOT a course about law or "legal reasoning." Students who are interested in logic, public disputation, argumentation, and popular notions of fairness will probably be interested in this course. This is NOT a law course or even a pre-law course. This seminar is part of the Food for Thought Seminar Series.

After reading about this, I may try a clip or two next week when we continue to examine reasoning.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

My advanced composition course focusing on user-generated web content is titled "Nobody Cares What You Had for Lunch"

paperweight said...

"The Art of Aliens" is in the works.

Amy Reads said...

Finally someone is teaching my mythical "Underwater Basket Weaving"!!!
The dreams of a snarky nineteen year old have finally been fulfilled.
Ciao,
Amy