By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor
What do Harry Potter, Bad Bunny, COVID-19 and AI have in common? Not a lot actually, except that you can take classes in all of these topics next semester.
As many students are meeting with advisors this month and gearing up to register for classes, the age-old struggle continues: All of the good classes are full, and it seems like there’s nothing interesting to take. Your schedule piles up, and it’s doomed to be full of 8 a.m. snooze fests and classes that just never end.
So, if you’re looking for something to break the cycle and add a bright spot during your week this spring semester, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the most interesting undergraduate classes you can take in the College of Arts and Sciences in the Spring of 2024. Many of these courses require prerequisite credits in order to register, so be sure to check with an academic advisor if interested.
The English department has some of the widest offerings of interesting upcoming courses. ENG 3378 is a broad course code that includes a wide array of unique topics that depend on the professor.
Some of the best sections next semester include campus literature, a course on literature that takes place on college campuses and deals with the issues college students face. ENG 3378, campus literature, will be taught by Dr. Sebastian Langdell and Dr. Chloe Honum.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, there’s another ENG 3378 option for a course on the Harry Potter series. Taught by Dr. Greg Garrett, students can earn three credit hours for reading the most popular young adult book series of all time.
ENG 4395 has a vague and intriguing title: “Show Me Where It Hurts.” This is a course on the poetry of grief and elegy. According to the English course booklet from Spring 2023, Dr. Chloe Honum and the class will examine the ways that poets put deep, human feelings into words, and students will “workshop their own creative pieces.”
Film and Digital Media
If you’re a “film bro” with a few semesters of prerequisites earned, you can take FDM 4344, a course in film criticism. In this course, Dr. James Kendrick will take students through the history of film criticism and teach them how to critically evaluate and analyze films on their own.
The history department is offering a large catalog of HIS 1300 listings. HIS 1300, like ENG 3378, allows the professor who teaches it to lend their own area of research to this general education requirement. Some of the most eye-catching sections in the spring include “Pandemics That Made Us” with Dr. Ruth Oropeza, “Music, From Gospel to Garage Rock” with Dr. Skylar Ray and “Latinx Politics and Culture” with Dr. Felipe Hinojosa.
Each professor has a specific angle to provide, with decades of research and knowledge that will make each section a wildly different experience. For instance, Dr. Felipe Hinojosa told the Lariat he plans on incorporating his research on the United States’ relationship with Latin America in his class, as well as mixing in some pop culture to relate to the college demographic.
“I can bring in Bad Bunny, you know, bring in pop culture, bring in art,” Hinojosa said. “I can bring in things that I know young people are in tune with today and get them excited to trigger these ideas about history and social change, pop culture, politics, how they all intersect.”
PHI 1308 with Dr. Robert Reed will examine the new and blossoming technology of artificial intelligence and the ethical questions it proposes. As the university has only recently defined its policy on AI usage, PHI 1308 is a timely course which may be useful as what could be the technological advancement of a century gets on its feet.
Existentialists, if they enjoy much at all, will enjoy PHI 2303 with Richard Sneed, a course on the philosophy of existentialism.
Art and Art History
Finally, the art and art history department is taking it way back to the ancients with ARTH 4369, Greek and Roman sport and spectacle with Dr. Jerolyn Morrison. This class takes a look at the history and political functions of sporting and spectator events in the Greek and Roman empires through art and architecture.