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Music 101: Artists Deserving of Their Own College Course

on November 12, 2013, 11:01am

music101 feat Music 101: Artists Deserving of Their Own College Course

This week, Rutgers University announced a new course offering: a theology class based around the discography of one Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen. Fans have been worshiping at the altar of The Boss for ages, and this freshman seminar could slot into your fall schedule along with a Princeton sociology class, “at least three” Monmouth symposiums, and an offering from the University of Rochester History Department.

While most of us here at CoS have been out of academia for a few years now, Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel’s theology course got us yearning to return to those hallowed halls (as long as we could get one of the likely highly-coveted seats in the seminar). Better yet, we decided it was time to design an entire musical course catalog to round out the college experience. Let us know in the comments below which classes you’ll be enrolling in.

– THEOLOGY 254 – Benevolent Cult Theory and the Polyphonic Spree – 2 CREDITS

The giddy, grinning masses all dressed in matching robes, working together on a common goal? Throughout history, other charismatic leaders have led such projects to dark results, but this course uncovers the positive leadership skills that have allowed Polyphonic Spree founder Tim DeLaughter to lead his flock without succumbing to tyranny.


Live performances of GWAR present theatre in one of its most voracious forms. With a focus on blood and slime rather than technical elements, stagings of GWAR revues explore the relationship between audience and artist in a dynamic and revolting way. This course will explore both the theoretical underpinnings of GWAR and the practical techniques for the creation of this damnation. The class will examine as literature this work that is often overlooked by critics and theorists because of its perception as a “low” art form.

– MATH 225 – 2+2=5?: Radiohead, Orwell, and Mathematical Fallacies – 4 CREDITS

*Crosslisted as ENG 312

While at its face the equation 2+2=5 may look ridiculous, many have explored its potential accuracy. In this course, we’ll look at this and other mathematical fallacies, as well as explore how corrupted math is used as a means of oppression in George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984 and Radiohead’s song of the same name.

– ECONOMICS 112 – From “Benjamins” to “A Milli”: Inflation Basics – 4 CREDITS

Back in 1997, Puff Daddy and Notorious B.I.G. were “All About the Benjamins”, and just 11 years later, Lil Wayne had “a million here, a million there.” This course will track and analyze the rates of inflation in U.S. history with assistance from monetary references in popular music.

– AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE 412 – Advanced Practicum: Festival Performance – 4 CREDITS

This advanced course prepares students to step into the workplace, namely to interpret performances at summer music festivals. Prerequisites include courses in detailed linguistics, cultural awareness, and the art of translation. Professor approval needed; only enthusiastic, badass students considered.

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– LINGUISTICS #12 & 35 – The Indecipherable Lyric – 3 CREDITS

This upper-level survey course focuses on the history of the undecipherable lyric in rock and roll music. Points of emphasis include “Louie Louie”, John Fogerty, early R.E.M. recordings, and everything Bob Dylan has sung or said since 1982. As a final project, students are required to attend a Bob Dylan concert and produce an accurate setlist. (Prerequisites: LINGUISTICS 111 – Misheard Lyrics)

– PHILOSOPHY 210 – Gender and Sexuality in Daft Punk – 2 CREDITS

Through lecture, discussion, projects, and dance, students explore the nature of uncanny valley and the dangerous evolution of robophobia. Students follow the musicality of Homework, Discovery, Human After All, and Random Access Memories from conception to production to promotion, examining the artistic process and the role that sexuality and gender play in each process. Must receive signed approval from Dr. Farrell.

– PHYSICS 666 – Keith Richards and the First Law of Thermodynamics – 4 CREDITS

This course rigorously examines the law of conservation of energy, which states, “Keith Richards can be neither created nor destroyed.” Texts include Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and Keith Richards’ memoir, Life. Due to the cosmological and theological implications of this line of inquiry, students taking this course will concurrently be enrolled in COSMOLOGY 457 – Big Bang or Big Riff? and THEOLOGY 545 – Dear Keith, It’s Me, God.

– FOREIGN LANGUAGE 420 – Grateful Dead Languages – 0 CREDITS

In addition to once-dead languages Latin and Hebrew, our language department now proudly offers a beginner’s class in Deadhead. This course will allow students to linguistically “get on the bus” and make sense of terms such as “noodling,” “puddle,” and “wooks.” Actually liking the Grateful Dead’s music is not a prerequisite for enrollment in this course.

– HISTORY 451 – Jandek and the Modern Myth – 3 CREDITS

The purpose of this course is to enlighten students about the popularized notions of fringe culture; more specifically, outside musicians starting with Jandek. In this course, students will be instructed to craft their own alter ego and promote their respective work through various mediums outlined in lectures and readings. Guest lecturers include: Loren Connors, Christina Carter, John Trubee, and a Houston resident who claims he played catch with Sterling Richard Smith. No prerequisite courses. Required reading and listening only available via Corwood Industries.