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By Alyssa Pereira

Ah, college. The doorway to adulthood. A four or five year excuse to drink on Tuesday afternoons. The beginning and end of your a capella singing career. The basis for every dumb decision you made (or are still making) in your early 20s. It’s enriching, it’s eye-opening,  it’s damn expensive—and it’s super fun.

Mostly though, it’s entertaining. Just LOOK at these course listings. You can learn about “Human Life” at SJSU (I don’t think you could do that otherwise), comic books at CCSF, and the mafia at San Francisco State. College is crazy.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

Check out a bunch of real, actual classes listed in public school course bulletins in the Bay Area.


San Jose State University:

HUM 101: Human Life: Let’s Think About It
Introduction to interdisciplinary comparative and creative studies. A range of methodologies will be explored through two contrasting subjects. Students learn and synthesize approaches – geography, history, literature, arts, and social science – to achieve a holistic understanding of the topics.

AMS 129: How The World Sees The United States
Comparative analysis of the cultural meaning of “America” outside the United States from the perspectives of global interdependence and transnationalism, and including both pro- and anti-American views through history.

RTVF 111: Alternative Cinema
Uses films from previously marginalized national cinemas from around the world as primary sources to teach students to appreciate, understand and compare diverse cultures.


Community College of San Francisco:

AMS 5. Comics, Power and Society
An introductory social science course using graphic literature, comic books and related media illustrating central social science concepts. The course examines power, powerlessness, and super- power. The history, content and impact of comic books, editorial cartoons, and animation on American society are examined as artistic forms of expression and as representations of social and political issues.

PE 230A. Beginning Archery
Beginning archery includes archery skills, rules, etiquette, safety, methods of shooting and scoring. Students will be instructed to analyze their form and techniques to perform and enjoy the basic sport of archery.

LGBT 25. The Lesbian and Gay Avant-Garde of the Fifties: Hot Art/Cold War
This course examines major works of art, music, dance, photography, poetry, and film from the Fifties and early Sixties. In considering the work of artists as diverse as John Cage, Louise Nevelson, and Andy Warhol, it analyzes the importance of lesbian and gay figures within the avant-garde and the significance of their contributions to American culture during this repressive period.


UC Berkeley:

AMERSTD C115 The American Detective in Fiction, Film, and Television
This course considers how the American detective is represented in fiction, film, and popular culture. After a brief consideration of early American detectives and detectives in the classic American hardboiled tradition, we will focus on many detectives from traditionally understudied groups, including female detectives, African American detectives, Chicana detectives, Asian American detectives, Native American detectives, and gay and lesbian detectives.

AMERSTD 184F Murder and the Media
We will investigate why the U.S. media are fascinated with murder. Covering a range of topics from “going postal” and women who murder their children, this course will consider the way murder serves as social commentary and ironic entertainment in the mass media. If the murderer has become America’s favorite anti-hero, then what does that say about Americans?

AMERSTD 188E Sports: A Lens on American Culture
This course explores the nature and motives of societal structures and practices to illuminate the intersections and reciprocal influences of society and sports. The central framework of this course draws on Bourdieu’s notion that the “space of sports…is inserted into a universe of practices and consumptions themselves structured and constituted as a system.” This framework underlies our exploration of the ways that the playing field has been socially constructed and bounded as specific kinds of de-realized, ritualized, specular, performance spaces.

MUSIC 109 Music Cognition: The Mind Behind the Musical Ear
The goal of this class is to interrogate and make explicit the powerful musical intuitions that are at work as you make sense of the music all around you.  How does this knowledge develop in ordinary and extraordinary ways? You will explore, experiment, question, and reflect on how and what you know how to do as you generate the musical coherence that you seem simply to find.


San Francisco State University:

C J 405: Organized Crime
Organized criminal enterprise recognizes no geographic, legal, or moral boundaries. Salient characteristics and impact of criminal organizations in various settings; crime control strategies.

(Ed. note: I have been binge-watching ‘The Sopranos’…so YES.)

MUS 504: Survey of Electronic Music
Materials and methodology of electronic music as a contemporary art form. Literature of electronic music and related theoretical issues drawn from the fields of physics, acoustics, psychoacoustics, and digital audio, including the MIDI communication protocol.

MUS 558: Music of John Coltrane
Life and music of saxophonist/composer John Coltrane within related socio-historical contexts of jazz in 20th century America. In-class listening/analysis.

PSY 320: Sex and Relationships
Explores the role of sexuality in traditional and emerging forms of intimate relationships.

RPT 358: Advanced Sailing Theory and Practice
Advanced sailing techniques, competitive sailing, regattas, rule interpretations and supervised experiences including participation in ICCSA regattas. Guest lectures on rule interpretations, tactics, and navigations. Extra fee may be added (for nautical-themed pashmina afghans, I’d imagine).


Diablo Valley College:

HUMAN-108 The Roots of Hell
This is an introductory course which is organized historically around the theme of hell; an historical and cross-cultural analysis of how poets, philosophers and artists have dealt with the dark side of human nature and represented life after death, guilt and responsibility, trial and redemption, and personal growth and enlightenment, offering literature, philosophy, art, architecture, sculpture, music and film from international sources.

ARTDM-165 Cartoon Drawing for Digital Animation
This course will introduce students to the skills necessary to create character animations, script development and story board animations. Students will survey the history of animation and be exposed to the techniques of animated drawing. It is designed to prepare students to develop a particular style of animation in any of a wide variety of other Digital Media courses.



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