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University Offers Class In Zombie Studies

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the brains-for-brains dept.

Education 118

Young people at The University of Baltimore will be able to study the zombie condition thanks to the newly available English 333. Students in the class will watch 16 classic zombie films and read zombie comics. Instead of writing a final research paper they may write a script or draw storyboards for their own zombie movie. Unfortunately the class doesn't seems to cover brain appreciation.

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No brains at Universities (2, Funny)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509764)

It's clear from this class that Universities feel they need to cultivate ... MORE BRAINS!!!!

Re:No brains at Universities (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510690)

Actually, that's pretty smart thinking. When the zombies attack, they'll know the real brains are in the physics department. Meanwhile, the students in this class will be safely ensconced with a roomful of lazy slackers.

English 333? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33509786)

Call again when the course is Medicine 666.

One way to fight brain drain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33509834)

is to eat more braiiinnnss!!!

Advertising (1)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509842)

This just in: The best way to advertise your university is to offer some batshit-ridiculous course. *sigh*

Re:Advertising (2, Interesting)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509942)

It's just an English literature/writing class with a narrow focus on zombie fiction. It's not THAT big a deal, or even all that uncommon. Lots of schools have similar classes with focus in comics, sci-fi movies, golden age cinema, and even pornography. It's an effort to un-stuffy the traditional curriculum, but it's no less legitimate than "bible as literature" that most colleges offers. In fact, considering the zombie overtones of the Jesus mythos, it's VERY similar.

Re:Advertising (2, Funny)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510242)

Can I get a degree on porn? With lab classes??? Where do I sign?

Re:Advertising (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512566)

I don't know about a whole degree in porn, but classes on porn (which, obviously, include screenings) are pretty common in film programs.

Re:Advertising (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510394)

Lots of schools have similar classes with focus in comics

True, but I bet they call them graphic novels.

Re:Advertising (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510658)

It is a big deal. It is, in point of fact, a monstrous deal.

In 1910, mathematics courses began realizing that even though complex axiomatic systems could never be entirely self-consistent, they could nevertheless be used to solve some interesting problems. Fast forward a few decades and this new math is being used to design computing systems.

This may seem like no big deal, but it means that we're on the cusp of a new reality. We are being prepared for something. The recent news of BSE is a precursor to the reality of SSE (Simian Spongiform Encephalopathy). The shows on TV about survival (Survivorman, The Colony, Man vs. Wild) is there to prepare a population for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Yes, you laugh, and think that I'm joking, but all these signs cannot be ignored.

First, a Asian macaque goes mad and starts feasting on other macaques. It happens in the midst of a dense forest, so no one knows except a scientist studying coffee been mutations. Then, in a mental health facility in Rotterdam, a Peet's barrista suddenly goes mad and attacks his nurse, biting her on the neck. Six days later, a lawyer representing the interests of a global food conglomerate kills his co-worker... brutally... with teeth.

This class is, on the surface, just a class. In reality it is preparation for TEOTWAWKI.

Re:Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33511418)

I think though an argument for teaching about the bible as literature can be made more so then the importance of zombie culture. The bible is the most read book in western history making it an inspiration for writers, poets and lawmakers. An argument for teaching general horror literature could be made with a discussion on it's effects on the same groups, however, zombies are not a rich enough topic for a college class, IMHO.

Re:Advertising (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33514816)

I agree, it is just an English lit class. I'm eagerly awaiting the "Zombipocalypse Readiness Training" course that teaches you how to identify the best common household products to use for zombie defense, as well as the most efficient ways to disable or take down a zombie. The class would of course cover basic first aid and how to identify if a wound was caused by a zombie, and if the victim is infected; it is also important to know how to properly handle an infected human who has not yet turned full zombie yet.

Re:Advertising (1)

CaptDeuce (84529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515580)

It's just an English literature/writing class with a narrow focus on zombie fiction. It's not THAT big a deal...

Not a big deal? We're talking freakin' zombies! Some brain dead soul modded the post interesting? ZOMBIES are interesting! Well, actually, not talking to one though. They're not good listeners and there's only one subject they want to talk about.

Re:Advertising (1)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509970)

The problem is that the class seems directed toward zombie-related works of literature (I use the term loosely) and film. What we need is a class that helps prepare students for the coming zombie apocalypse.

Re:Advertising (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33514134)

The course is about writing screenplays for movies.

That's putting english to work, in fields where those choosing this elective course might
actually gain employment.

The fact that they chose zombies means nothing other than
a lot of characters don't need any dialog or acting skills.

Its English. Its writing. The subject hardly matters.

They've made it fun for the students, and that can't be all bad.

Re:Advertising (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510126)

This just in: The best way to advertise your university is to offer some batshit-ridiculous course. *sigh*

It isn't batshit-ridiculous though.

There are tons of literature and film classes out there. They've all got various themes or focuses. I personally took a science fiction class. I've seen Stephen King classes and supernatural classes offered.

What's wrong with a zombie-themed class?

There's plenty of substance to be found in zombie movies. Sure, there's crap too, but I'd assume some effort is put into finding the good stuff. And a zombie theme will draw in students who wouldn't normally take any kind of literature or film class.

Re:Advertising (2, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510408)

I studied a zombie movie in my modern drama class, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, an important milestone in German film and a chilling insight into the stress between authoritarianism and anti-authoritarianism in Weimar Germany.

Re:Advertising (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510646)

I studied one that I strongly suspected was an attempt to turn us into zombies. A scratchy black-and-white version of Waiting for Godot.

Actually, I got up and walked out half way through the movie. My instructor was not impressed, even after I told him that I got the point and decided to implement it for myself. I'm sure my shouting "He's not fucking coming! Ever!" on my way out didn't earn me any points either.

I always wondered why they added the "ot" at the end of his name, though.

Re:Advertising (1)

extra88 (1003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33511990)

Excellent film but it's not a zombie movie. Cesare isn't dead, he's a hypnotized sleepwalker. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cabinet_of_Dr._Caligari [wikipedia.org]

Re:Advertising (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515548)

Yes, but on the other hand, Cesare is more like a classic zombie than the hungry dead of a Romero film, "According to the tenets of Vodou, a dead person can be revived by a bokor, or sorcerer. Zombies remain under the control of the bokor since they have no will of their own. " -- Zombie [wikipedia.org]

Besides, the Infected from 28 Days Later are not dead, and that usually gets included in a list of zombie movies.

Re:Advertising (1)

friedo (112163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510776)

Lighten up, Francis.

One of my favorite classes in college was called Sci-Phi; it was all about philosophical and ethical issues in science fiction. We watched a few movies and some good Star Trek episodes, and also did a lot of reading (both science fiction and philosophers.) There was a lot of work (several essays plus a term paper) so it was not a Mickey-mouse course by any means. Courses like that, which are generally developed for fun by profs who really like their subjects, can be a lot more engaging and interesting than the same old generic "let's analyze The Merchant of Venice to death" courses that fill the majority of one's time as a student.

Good location. (2, Funny)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509930)

If they'd taught this class anywhere other than Baltimore they might run out of fresh corpses to zombify.

The Interview (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509962)

I see you have an English degree with a specialization in zombie movies... [burns resume]

Re:The Interview (2, Funny)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510192)

I see you have an English degree... [burns resume]

Fixed that for you.

Re:The Interview (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510498)

Damn, you beat me to the punchline

Re:The Interview (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510856)

My friends with English degrees work a variety of stellar service industry related jobs, you insensitive clod! Would you like your milk whipped in your crappe-frappe-whappe-chino?

It really depends on the quality of the course ... (4, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509978)

As predicted, I already saw a bunch of comments on the original story with parents saying they'd be "angry if their kid wasted their money" on something like this, etc. etc.

In reality, it all depends on the instructor and their willingness to teach useful material. I remember when I was in college, I took a "History of Rock Music" course that the vast majority of people joked about and blew off as one of those "underwater basket-weaving" type classes you'd just take for an easy credit. In actuality, the instructor was a PhD in music who didn't even like rock music very much. He simply realized that most STUDENTS did, however, so it was a topic that held a lot of interest to them. He warned us from day 1 that "if you're expecting this to be an easy, blow-off class, you may want to drop out now". It turns out, he went into considerable depth about the roots of rock music and showed us the links between aspects of contemporary rock music and other forms of music that came before it. We covered what was essentially outright theft of R&B or Soul music of the 50's and 60's, as white musicians redid the original songs as early "pop/rock hits" and compared the original works to the "covers" or "re-makes". We had to write detailed reports and present them in class, discussing artists we felt were significant to the rock music genre and justify that position with facts and details. Essentially, it served as a writing course, an oral communications course, AND a history course all in one, and I think most of us got a lot out of it. (I was playing guitar in a local band at the time, so it seemed like a relevant elective course to take. I left with a little bit better presentation/public speaking skills and an ability to listen to music more critically than before. Really not a bad course at all.)

If the "in" thing is zombies, then great! Why not use it as a "hook" to get people in to a course that's going to teach them a lot about scriptwriting and the basic requirements for making a good movie? Again though, this could *easily* be abused too, if the wrong instructor is teaching it -- because the topic itself means very little. (Unless you REALLY believe the zombies are coming to take over the world -- you probably feel like learning about zombies is pretty pointless to spend college money on!) It's all about how the topic is used to teach something that goes beyond it.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (2, Funny)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510050)

Knowing the right way to handle a zombie apocalypse may come in handy. Most people are quite unprepared, and will think someone murmuring "braiiins" is a political candidate canvassing the neighborhood for this election year.

Plus, a class like this is always a nice thing to take for an elective -- everyone loves a cold one.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33514280)

Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510450)

There is a big difference between The History of Rock and Roll and an English class where you watch movies and read comic books about something in popular culture that has really no impact on it. And by impact I don't mean sales of books movies stickers t-shirts or whatever, I mean an impact like Rock and Roll had of being both a catalyst of social change as well as a reflection of it, and it can be studied in that context and give a student a greater idea about society. It really walks a line between anthropology and music. Zombies movies and comics on the other hand are garbage. A class in the critical psychological deconstruction of the zombie archetype would be more educational and worth pursuing in my opinion (though also a lot more boring and difficult for most people). So yeah, zombies for the lowest common denominator. Brains. Brains. Seriously, where are the brains? Not in this class.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512604)

Why can't something that is a reflection of social change be studied in order to give students a greater idea about society?

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33514852)

How is zombies being especially popular as a meme sort of thing in the last few years a reflection of social change? (I know it can be, but please provide the outline of an answer that could take an entire semester of college to explore, otherwise an entire semester of class on it seems like a waste, to me).

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510574)

Yep... in college I took Freshman Writing Seminar classes on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (but most of the readings were really the on the medieval knights of the round table), and "Artificial Intelligence of the Matrix" (but really on the history of the strong / weak AI debate). Both courses pulled in plenty of ... interesting ... students.

Need one on Trek [slashdot.org] :-/

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (1)

Vreejack (68778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510858)

They aren't supposed to go that fast... I'm calling zombie bullshit on that you know? i mean they're not supposed to run so fast" -Zoey, Left 4 Dead, a character who's backstory involved a lot of watching horror movies instead of attending classes.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (1)

k8mnstr (1878042) | more than 3 years ago | (#33511082)

Y'know, this would be a great way to learn about epidemiology and the way viruses are spread, all while wrapping it in a fun and enticing pretext; much like your professor did with the History of Rock Music course. Besides, having people aware of and preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse is never a bad thing.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33512124)

I went to a overwhelming engineering dominated school. Some like 75 percent of the students were engineers. I minored in PoliSci. In one of my classes we were debated schools teaching other languages, and requiring students take so many semesters. We got on the subject of electives. One student felt that it was unreasonable to expect a student to pay for a class that is not relevant to their major. As a computer based major I pointed out that anything specific I learn in my field will be pretty much useless in 5 years. What mattered were the fundamentals and the skills to learn quickly. The more different types of classes I can take, i.e. English classes on modern literature including graphic novels and zombie movies, make me find ways to study more than a text book. Giving my learning skills a wider basis.

So in short, I think that learning a variety of subjects is good. Anyone attending college that thinks they should only take Comp Sci courses, if that's their major, I think is being short sighted.

Re:It really depends on the quality of the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33513142)

Thank you for an insightful and (for a slashdot comment) in-depth comment.

One thing puzzles me, though... What is this "college money", of which you speak? College is free is it not? I believe the government will even give you a little money while you study. At least where I come from.

Pre-requisites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33510040)

I wonder what the Pre-requisites are for this class and what classes have this class as a pre-req.
It would be great if CompSci 415 required this class
or if all Bachelor of Arts degrees needed a class like this.

Waht the hell? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510042)

What the hell? Every single one of /.'s main-page articles of today have had spelling-and-the-like mistakes!

Re:Waht the hell? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510238)

What the hell? Every single one of /.'s main-page articles of today have had spelling-and-the-like mistakes!

Give them a break! They went to the University of Baltimore!

UNI offers Anthropology of Zombies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33510078)

There is a course at the University of Northern Iowa called "The Anthropology of Zombies" this semester

Re:UNI offers Anthropology of Zombies (1)

extra88 (1003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512108)

There is a course at the University of Northern Iowa called "The Anthropology of Zombies" this semester

That sounds better than a course offered by an English department but until there's one cross-listed between Criminal Justice and Medicine, it's all just talk!

It's really only half evil.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33510160)

Well, given that it is a course numbered '333', it's really on half as evil as possible.....

Re:It's really only half evil.... (2, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510420)

Well, given that it is a course numbered '333', it's really on half as evil as possible.....

Given that zombies are only half as dead as we'd like them to be this makes perfect sense!

nation's capitol overrun by walking dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33510178)

they're called other things, but the behaviours are unmistakable.

meanwhile (an entire lifetime for most of us); the corepirate nazi illuminati is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

Re:nation's capitol overrun by walking dead (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510306)

Typical live person

The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any vitalism animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical live person who, uh, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know there's a reaction that's been been bred into our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way and that's just the nature of vitalism in our society. We have to break through it

True zombies in hollywood (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510216)

Amazing. Truly amazing. This will open a whole new area of social research; the behavior of zombies will finally be studied in detail and maybe, just maybe, hollywood will pick up the results and eventually come up with a zombie infestation that resembles reality.

Though I don't think a whole family of zombies grunting at a television show makes up for a good action flick.

Re:True zombies in hollywood (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510798)

just maybe, hollywood will pick up the results and eventually come up with a zombie infestation that resembles reality.

And I thought modern Hollywood WAS a zombie infestation.

I picked the wrong major (3, Funny)

Rick Bentley (988595) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510244)

While I was wasting time getting my Physics degree, just to see the whole tech space outsourced to India and China, these kids were getting the type of education they can count on. Skills like zombie-movie screenplay writing are a smart move in any economy, let's see them outsource that!

Re:I picked the wrong major (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33510312)

Sure they can. Look at Japan, they have tentacle porn and their horror movies already get exported here (Ringu, etc). Who knows what batshit crazy crap they can still come up with.

Zombies in nature (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510254)

The classes will surely cover such parasitic species as Cordyceps Unilateralis [wikipedia.org] which alter ant behaviour to have some practical value behind it (how many credits that might be worth is another question - although this unleashes some interesting theoretical possibilities). Unless the course is about mastering the Thriller dance [youtube.com] . In any case - in scientia (vino?) veritas.

You want zombies? (0, Troll)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510256)

You either don't hang around here much, or you haven't been paying attention to the discussions around here if you have. I assure you, there are plenty of zombies running around here on a regular basis.

I will go so far as to forecast that in three days we will have even more zombie activity than normal...

This Is Garbage. (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510374)

Grabage. If I wanted to watch 16 zombie movies, I would watch 16 zombies movies. If I wanted to write a screenplay about zombies, I would write a screenplay (and if it sucked, then hopefully I'd learn and the next one would be better). If I wanted to spend either my parent's money, or the taxpayer's money, or money own money in the form of student loans to hang out with the lame ass people that like zombies because its currently a popular meme and don't realize the only reason most people like zombies is because its a currently popular meme, then I would take this course.

Disclaimer. I like some zombie movies. I hate zombie-everything just to mention zombie which has zombie become popular nowadays zombie zombie zombie zombie. Zombie.

Re:This Is Garbage. (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33511378)

Sooo.. if you had to take an English course, and this was one of your options, you'd rather.. not take the zombie-related course? I don't think I understand.

Re:This Is Garbage. (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33514820)

I could be wrong, but I think only people majoring in English and related studies are required to take 300 level courses.

If I had to take a 300 level course in a field I wasn't very interested in, I would take the class that seemed most interesting to me. In English, it would probably not be a zombies course.

This is why I have so little pity for liberal arts (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510382)

This sounds really cool until you realize that someone is actually going to get paid good money to teach students, most of whom will be going into debt to participate, a subject which has literally no value whatsoever to the market. The humanities and liberal arts are not training people in the classical curricula anymore (which actually DID teach them how to think) and instead are getting students 10s and even 100s of thousands of dollars in debt.

This is probably one the harshest, but most accurate statements [blogspot.com] I've read about what this level of useless content paid for with debt is doing to the lives of students:

The harsh reality is that a few years on the pole with a coke habit would still leave the average woman with a better long term prospect of happiness than the popular combination of student loans and a soft liberal arts degree from a reputable private university.

Re:This is why I have so little pity for liberal a (0)

gclef (96311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510536)

if you're looking for "valuable to the market", why are you going to college at all? Why not just go to a trade school? (Plumbers and electricians have much more stable positions, and a much lower unemployment rate than programmers...)

Re:This is why I have so little pity for liberal a (1, Troll)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510770)

My biggest beef with the OP's argument is its implicit premise that a university education should only train a student for a job. Nonsense!

Yes, it would be nice to have a job waiting in one's field after graduating, but let's be honest with ourselves. Chances are, you will NOT have the same career in 5,10, or 20 years after college. And a liberal arts college can provide the education you need to adapt to changing times. (Did you attend an engineering school with crummy English or philosophy departments?* Too bad, you probably won't make that transition to law you might have been contemplating. It helps to know how to write in that field, IIRC.)

Besides, who said "education" had to be practical? College is the one time in your life when you get to learn about things that genuinely interest you. Why not take advantage of it?

*(Disclaimer: I did, but for graduate study. I thanked God for my little liberal arts college degree, once it was time for me to write my master's thesis.)

Re:This is why I have so little pity for liberal a (1)

Push Latency (930039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510550)

Concurred; I'd have no problem with these kind of classes if the "scholars" were all well-versed (at least) in the Classics, History, and Philosophy prior to taking these courses. As a Liberal Arts student who specifically went (waay) out of my way to cultivate a Classical LA education, I find it despicable that anyone would waste time with stuff like this when there is enough time-tested literature to last a lifetime of traditional study.

And before flaming, consider that I too took a class or two like this, and couldn't believe how immeasurably useless it was compared to later transferring and studying Classics and the Concepts of the Hero, etc., at Harvard.

Re:This is why I have so little pity for liberal a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33511744)

The harsh reality is that a few years on the pole with a coke habit would still leave the average woman with a better long term prospect of happiness than the popular combination of student loans and a soft liberal arts degree from a reputable private university.

The situation isn't that dire, come on. If you've got a liberal arts degree, there's a pretty good chance that you're a cosmpolitan guy and want to see the world. Once you leave the US, there's zero way to enforce private student loans (and the federal ones, more serious, only total a few thousands). Good luck garnishing my wages when I'm half a world away, and banks can't affect my credit report when my new home has made it illegal for local companies to access foreign credit reports.

I've been in Europe now for over half a decade and the prospects for longterm happiness even after drawing a hundred grand look good.

Re:This is why I have so little pity for liberal a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33511842)

You may as well complain that a scenic hike in the woods doesn't improve the value of your stock market investments.

There are many reasons people get college or university educations. One of those reasons is to improve one's employment opportunities or earning power. But there are plenty of other reasons, such as for fun, learning about the world, thinking more deeply on various topics, and so on. You know... becoming educated. Obviously some courses will serve some ends better than others. By all means we should be honest with students and prospective students about how a given degree will affect their job prospects. But we should not fall into the trap of treating higher education as being solely about making money.

And, for the record, a proper liberal arts education will in fact teach a variety of skills (organizing data, organizing one's time, researching a topic, critical thinking, etc.) that are, in fact, useful in a wide variety of real-world jobs. Again, it would be a lie to say that a liberal arts degree is a fast-track to riches. But it would be equally silly for potential employers to ignore the hard work and skill that are required to complete a liberal arts degree at a respected institute.

Re:This is why I have so little pity for liberal a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33512284)

There are many reasons people get college or university educations. One of those reasons is to improve one's employment opportunities or earning power. But there are plenty of other reasons, such as for fun, learning about the world, thinking more deeply on various topics, and so on. You know... becoming educated.

A fool and his money...

no value whatsoever to the market (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512524)

Go to trade school and be a plumber. Probably make more money than I do.

University is for education not obtaining marketable skills. It just happens that in many places your not allowed to do something until you have a piece of paper to say your not a complete moron. Usually those come AFTER a normal degree to get a professional one, say doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc...

Can be a usedful course, actually... (1)

managerialslime (739286) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510452)

Stanford University's "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP)" ( http://plato.stanford.edu/index.html [stanford.edu] ) has an analysis of how literature of Western Civilization has treated the subject of Zombies beginning with Descartes at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/ [stanford.edu] .

If the course in question incorporates this level of discussion in the classes and homework and enable the students to improve their critical thinking and related analytical skills, it really doesn't matter if the "hook" to get students to take the course was the subject of Zombies, slasher flicks, or even a "critical" analysis of the Police Academy movies.

I have one off-spring currently in college studying to be an electrical engineer and can only hope that sometime in the next few years he can take a course that provides that type of "cross subject" context.

Re:Can be a usedful course, actually... (1)

bbtom (581232) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512016)

PROTIP: philosophical zombies != zombie-movie zombies.

P-zombies would not differ from human beings - certainly, if you saw two walk past you on the street you couldn't tell the difference. On some accounts, you might be able to tell the difference if you had them wired up in a neuroscience lab. The zombies of philosopher's imaginations are quite different from the zombies of Resident Evil games (etc.): in fact, if p-zombies were like movie zombies, they wouldn't be very interesting in philosophy of mind (although there would be some interesting biological questions we might have about them...)

It's all relative (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510492)

My mother scoffed when I took a course in college about fairy tales ("From Grimm to Disney"). I found it to be fascinating. Literature is literature, art is art. It's about the process, not the subject.

The students ARE the zombies! (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510540)

Seriously, any one taking 300-level English classes are an English major, which is one of the most useless degrees. This just prepares them for life after college. No money, no job, no skills. At least the zombies in Shawn of the Dead found jobs at Walmart, which is exactly the best-case scenario for English majors

Props (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510600)

Zombies have always been a prop. No different then a flashlight, car, or small fire burning in a trash can. Rarely in a zombie film are the zombies actually the story. Fido was one of the few that comes to mind. Zombies are a prop to remove civilization as we know it to explore a state of lawlessness, martial law, etc. Any pandemic really in a film is a prop or "object to further a plot" (a.k.a muguff, grif, etc.)

Zombies are, in reality rather impractical by any conventional account. Take a piece of raw steak and toss it in your yard and count the number of hours it survives. Zombies = moving dead meat. Maggots, decay, parasites, explosion by putrification, simple damaging obsticals, etc. However they provide a look at "human as a natural predator". Most, but not all, zombie films do not have zombies using tools (although it is become a trend with the advent of the fast zombie) so we get to see humans as animalistic predators. Sadly we are poorly equipped and most zombies would be bear, wolf, mountian lion food rather quickly. Even if they are not food they still would run afoul territory etc.

A class in zombies would be interesting to see how they are used in context to the actual story. Again rarely are the zombies the plot thus there would be merit in literature to compare their use in context of story telling in general.

While the fast zombie makes for a good action\gorefest the classic slow zombie affords greater flexability in what stories you can tell. A slow zombie can open up stories about isolation and loneliness (perhaps even pet-like bonding with the rare zombie) where immediate threat isn't the issue. Dwinding supplies, emmenint unescapable death, etc all become options. A fast zombie always can occupy the moment driving constant conflict in the main character. However a slow maglignant type zombie can foster more internal conflict within the characters. Sorry for the spelling but in a hurry dodging tanks atm...

Re:Props (1)

bbtom (581232) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512148)

No, I'd say that part of what is scary about zombies is that a loved one might turn into a zombie. Suddenly, the hero's girlfriend becomes a zombie - or, worse, his own mother or father or best friend - and he is tasked with destroying this zombie version of a loved one who still seems to be in some sense living.

Putting on my poncy lit-crit hat: surely, this shows that one cannot simply pine for some Lockean state of nature and imagine that civilization could just fall apart without it affecting you. (Libertarians, I'm talking to you. Heh.)

Interesting! (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33510652)

Glaringly different classes help take stress off other subjects, I can attest to that.

I took a philosophy class in one semester and had the good fortune of choosing the subject matter of the class since we were only 2. So we decided on Einstein, special relativity and other related fields. Class was so interesting that it boosted my moral during the semester and actually improved my grades by making me more focused.

Universities should offer more classes like this.

Re:Interesting! (1)

bbtom (581232) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512810)

A few years ago, in Britain, one of the universities finally shut down their "BA Independent Studies" programme. Three years of studying whatever the hell you want, with the ability to go to any lecture courses in any subject, so long as at the end of it, you had a coherent programme of research.

Why not, they're creative works (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33511896)

I took a movie class that focused on Film Noir. The Spring semester of the class was going to be about Horror movies. Some friends took a literature class about science fiction. Focusing on a genre is a great way to dissect creative works and analyze the common themes as well as distinctions between works in the same genre.

Using modern works is a great way to teach kids while keeping them interested enough to learn. The latter part is whats missing from many schools.

No substance. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33512506)

I don't have a problem with such courses. As others have mentioned many courses of these types have been offered before. However, I've experienced firsthand that some of these courses are very light on substance and are devised by a self-serving professor who has a personal interest in the subject. That in and of itself wouldn't be a problem at all if the professor is using the subject matter to convey a deeper lesson, whether that be social implications, influences within the film industry, cinematography, etc. But I wouldn't be surprised if this class is little more than sitting around watching a bunch of movies in a popular genre. And management is supportive because the school can be marketed as cutting-edge, offering plenty of fun courses.

I never quite got the appeal of the zombie genre anyway. There have been a handful of decent zombie movies, but the vast majority of crap. A few offer some flimsy social commentary better conveyed in a more mature manner and the bulk of these movies are simply cashing in on a fad, merely copying what has already been done too many times before. There's enough to these genre that perhaps you could fill an essay, but I don't see how you could make a class out of it. This is the sort of thing a person could occupy themselves with on their leisure time; it's not really material for a university course.

Given that in place of a final paper they can write a script or draw storyboards I'm fairly certain this course doesn't offer anything compelling.

Vampire Studies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33515856)

It only seems fair that they sould offer vampire studies as well

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