The 10th Doctor might not barge into your class repeating “Physics!” but it’s the next best thing.
Professor Anthony Rotolo has created a Doctor Who seminar series for the 2015 spring semester at Syracuse University. Known as #WhoClass, the class will “explore the history, evolution and cultural impact of the long-running BBC program, Doctor Who,” according to his website. There will be in-class screenings of episodes, trivia, discussions, snacks and best of all, no homework. The class is open to any SU students free of charge, and those who cannot attend can follow online through registration or Twitter at @WhoClass. Over 220 people have already registered and there’s currently a waiting list.
While it’s not officially a class at Syracuse University, Rotolo hopes to make it a legitimate course in the future. Rotolo is also known for his similar courses on Star Trek, which have been delivered at the NASA Johnson Space Center and the Official Star Trek Convention.
Rotolo’s Doctor Who course is just the latest in college courses that tackle topics mostly relegated to fan discussions and the intellectual nerd. Below, we’ve highlighted other pop & nerdy culture classes–both past and present–that make academic learning fun.
1. Videogame Theory and Anaylsis, MIT Open Courseware
As the syllabus points out, “By playing, analyzing, and reading and writing about videogames, [students] will examine debates surrounding how they function within socially situated contexts in order to better understand games’ influence on and reflections of society.” Students are expected to complete a minimum of 70 hours of gameplay and will discuss topics such as game ethics and race in videogames.
2. Philosophy and Star Trek, Georgetown University
Going 10 years strong, this philosophy class tackles metaphysics, which crops up in Star Trek repeatedly. Besides watching Star Trek, discussions will center around time travel, what is freewill, and what makes a person.
3. Japanese Animation & New Media, NYU
This course focuses on animation and anime as a mode of expression. Topics include the prevalence of mythology in animation, the importance of genre and the impact of old & new media on narrative structure. While it doesn’t say what series or films will be discussed, it’s a safe bet to say there will be Studio Ghibli thrown in the mix.
4. Through the Darkness of Future-Past: An Exploration of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, ExCo Oberlin College
For the tv-cultist fan, nothing would be more perfect than an in-depth look at ’90s hit Twin Peaks. Coverage included the first two seasons, the prequel film as well as related written materials. With the announcement of Twin Peaks return next year, now would be a perfect time to revive this course.
5. Media Genres: Media Marvels, University of Baltimore
If you believe Marvel’s connected cinematic universe is a great platform to discuss issues in today’s society, this is the course for you. The press release promises to “encourage students to better understand the culture’s fixation on superheroes, fictional global threats, and other “widescreen” novelistic tales that have pushed the comic book-to-film ethos into new territory.” Like the #WhoClass, this Marvel class is scheduled for the 2015 spring semester. Maybe there will be an online version for future semesters.