Daily Princetonian pieces

BLOG: 7 Most Ridiculous New Courses for Fall 2013

Originally published March 28, 2013 at The Prox.

Course offerings for the upcoming fall 2013-14 semester went up today, giving the 7.29 percent of applicants who at 5 p.m. will experience instantaneous, euphoric glory something to look at tonight as they lie in their beds clutching orange t-shirts and dreaming of Preview Weekend. While the incoming prefrosh plan six-class schedules and begin angsting over applications for HUM, we embittered upperclassmen feebly scrounge through the Registrar’s website for classes that start at 1:30, hissing like cornered cats at the words “Friday, 9 a.m.”

If there’s something eager prefrosh and desperate upperclassmen can all agree on, though, it’s the absurdity of some of Princeton’s course offerings. After the jump, courses like “Physics for Future Leaders” (not to be confused for “Future Physics”):

1. PHY115/STC115: Physics for Future Leaders (Read: “The Derek Zoolander Center for Future Bankers and Politicians Who Want to Learn How to Science Good Too.”)
Description: “What do future leaders of our society need to know about physics and technology? The course is designed for non-scientists who will someday become our influential citizens and decision-makers.”
Workload: Hilarious. Direct quote: “The weekly assignments are: reading (1-2 hours) and homework (2-4 hours).”

2. AMS317: Social Media: History, Poetics and Practice (Read: “Didn’t get into Social Networks last semester? Never fear!”)
Description: “Shared student experience with Internet-based social networking and authoring, as well as collaborative envisioning of future cultural uses of social media will be important components, and students will create and present online content.”
Prerequisites: “Familiarity with one or more contemporary social media platforms is desired.”

Is this a class on the Internet? What happens if I miss class because I was sitting in my room, using the Internet? If nothing else, the lucky ones who end up in this seminar have an obligation to liveblog their experiences. Would the professor get mad if I used class time to read Rihanna’s Twitter, put cat videos on my best friend’s Facebook and reblog love quotes on my Tumblr?

3. ANT367: Personal Anthropology (Read: “Ego”)
Description: “While reading about contemporary life in North America, students conduct a series of auto-ethnography/fieldwork exercises in their own lives that provide material for short papers.”
Sample projects: “The Mirror Challenge, What’s in My Closet?, and My Neighborhood.”

For an extra dose of narcissistic self-reflection, combine #3 with #2 and document your ethnographic journey through your own life on the social media platform of your choosing — oh wait, we already have Facebook.

4. ENG359: Princeton Film Review (Read: “Everyone is Jealous of You”)
Description: “This seminar will launch a new online film review website: a shared forum for our writings and opinions on film.”
Wait, what? Is this actually a class that gets to make a film review website?

The answer is yes. The class advertises for a COS kid who can build the site for them and promises students will get editorial experience dictating the mission and policies of the site. Princeton is giving kids class credit for the opportunity to become founding editors of an online film review. Here would be a good place to note that editors of The Daily Princetonian receive no class credit for their work, including Amy Garland ’14, who runs music/TV/film blog and frequent film review engine Intersections.

5. VIS370: Painting Without Canvas (Read: “What is Art?”)
Description: “This class is neither a historical narrative nor a deductive reasoning of what painting is or might mean. Rather, these questions will evolve through the studio processes of experimentation, contemplation and making.”
But what is art really? Unclear.

6. EGR494: Leadership Development for Business (Read: “So You Think You Want to Work at Goldman”)
Description: “The Leadership Development for Business course deals with the strategic, organizational and leadership challenges that global corporations face. The course provides students with a unique perspective on leadership vision, and how leaders recognize and capitalize on opportunities.”
Words to know: Synergy! Deliverables! Entrepreneurship! Business casual! (If female,) glass ceiling! Leadership! Leadership! Leadership! Leadership! Ability to tolerate ORFE majors with Finance certificates/the staff of Business Today also recommended.

7. SOC346: Sociology of the Cubicle: Work, Technology and Organization (Read: “How Not to End Up Living a Pencil-Pusher Life”)
Description: “We’ll discuss engineering cultures, skilled work, entrepreneurship, innovation, risk and failure in the context of such cases as the dot com boom, the rise of Silicon Valley, and the imprint of office technologies in the workplace.”
Sample reading: “The PowerPoint Presentation and its Corollaries.” Don’t ever say Princeton didn’t try to prepare you for real life.


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