The 10 most obscure courses offered at VCU next semester

Ben Simon
Contributing Writer

Here at VCU, there are many courses that go unnoticed by most students. The CT has found 10 obscure courses offered this spring that you may not have known about. They might be unpopular, offbeat or just very specific, but they’re available to all majors.


American South in Cartoon & Comic (ENGL 291)

For lovers of cartoons, this course looks at animation, newspaper comics and their portrayal of the American South. In this class, inspired by VCU’s Special Collections and Archives at the Cabell Library, students look at cartoons such as “Snuffy Smith” and “Preacher,” in addition to famous films like “Song of the South.” Locations covered will include Southern Appalachia and the Tidewater region. Available to all students with a minimum D grade in UNIV 112.


American Writers in Paris (AMST 391/ENGL 391)

Learn about famous Americans who traveled to the Ville des Lumièrs, particularly those from the 1920s. Students will study numerous authors, ranging from E. E. Cummings to Gertrude Stein and Malcolm Cowley. The course is not limited merely to literature; students will study cinema, dance and visual arts as well.


Death: Myth and Reality (RELS 250)

Here’s a class about the end and what comes after. Despite its somber — some would say grave — nature, death has been a subject of fascination for cultures across the globe for thousands of years. This course deals with the abstract side of death, from ideas of the afterlife to mortality in literature.


Feminist Biopolitics (GSWS 491)

People often claim that healthcare can be skewed toward the rich, but healthcare being sexist? It’s not as uncommon as you might think. In this course, students will focus on the problems presented to healthcare for women, particularly in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. It’s a blunt look at how systems in power can be used not only to oppress, but exclude people from what most consider a basic human right.


Negotiating with Terrorists (HSEP 491)

In this course, students are taught how to do something we’re told never to do: negotiate with terrorists. Still, while this tense and somber class may not make any joint chiefs happy, students will gain valuable diplomatic skills. The course relies in part on simulation and group discussion in order to generate ideas.


Open Minds Within the PIC (GSWS 391) 

This course has students learning about the underlying issues in the prison system, from racism to overpopulation. However, this is no ordinary lecture course. Students will be studying side-by-side with inmates at the Richmond City Jail, giving students a radically new perspective on the incarceration.


Pseudoscience (UNIV 222)

In a world of urban myths, unsourced blog posts and uneducated politicians, fraudulent science has heavily distorted our view of reality. In this class, students learn to see past the junk and get to the truth of the matter. Topics will cover many branches of scientific thought.


Scuba (HPEX 218)

Not all classes are conceptual, of course, as evidenced by this scuba diving class. This month-long course will see students learn how to scuba dive. For those who wish to test out their skills without dipping into our esteemed James River, there will be an opportunity for an open water dive later in the semester. Students must pay a $275 fee to participate.


The Truth about Lying (UNIV 213)

Is it ever OK to hide the truth? In this course, students examine the practical and ethical side to lying, be it an everyday fib or a gargantuan deception. The moral and practical side of lies will be touched upon, which is sure to give students a trust-reducing experience.


Urban Issues in Film (URSP 120) 

Cities, the great nerve centers of societies, are hardly perfect environments, something which this class addresses. Students will look at how films have addressed issues plaguing urban environments, from individual communities to large territories. Students who take the course will both watch and discuss urban films to provide a more complete foundation of knowledge.

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