Get schooled with an online college course on Jordan Peele's Get Out

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Jan 29, 2018

Jordan Peele's Get Out has become a national phenomenon over the last year, solidifying its cinematic importance last week with several Oscar nominations, including Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya) and Best Picture. Masquerading as a run-of-the-mill horror movie, Peele's directorial debut also doubles as a deep meditation on race relations in America.

The relevant and timely themes prompted UCLA professor Tananarive Due to create a course based on the movie: "Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror Aesthetic." The class became a wild success and Peele even crashed one of the sessions back in October. However, you don't have to attend UCLA or even live in California to take the course right now. 

"I got such a phenomenal response for the UCLA course and I'm in the second quarter now, so I have a new crop of students and I have even more students than I did the first time. I have almost 70 students and last time it was about 60," Professor Due told SYFY WIRE over a phone call. "So that course is growing and there's a lot of interest in it, but obviously, most people are not enrolled at UCLA. So, I kept hearing inquiries and people saying 'Oh, I wish I could take it' ... The Get Out course as a specifically Black Horror course that centers Get Out and the kind of themes in Get Out, that we've also seen in other Black Horror was a really popular idea."

An online version co-taught by Due and her husband, Hugo-nominated author Steven Barnes is now available to the general public: "Artists, writers, readers, activists, and futurists of all kinds!" According to the website, students will be treated to special guest lecturers and interactive social media. For instance, Jordan Peele already made a virtual appearance for a special interview during a webinar session on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Due also teased Peele's return to her physical classroom in the near future. 

"He's very interested and invested in the class," she said of the director. "I think he's honored that it exists and also, he's a huge horror fan, so it's a really great opportunity for those of who love this genre to really unpack the ways that we can express trauma and express suppression through our art." 

There are currently 50 students enrolled in the online course--which is not affiliated with UCLA in any way--and you can join them by registering HERE for $348. It's not particularly cheap, but it does include a six-week workshop, which you can livestream and replay since the classes began earlier in the month. As a "bonus," you'll also get a lesson in screenwriting. There are still four classes left throughout February and March—they resume February 10—so it's not too late to sign up and catch up on perusing the required films and readings; just like any college class, this one's also got a syllabus. Still, even if you miss all six, you can still buy and watch them at your own leisure. 

"It's been thrilling for me as both a horror fan and creator and an academic to watch the students respond not only to the course materials, but feeling so personally invested in seeing Get Out get all those Oscar nominations," Due said. "They've been very moved by it, it's been a very exciting experience for everyone."