OnlineColleges.net has posted a listing of the 15 Strangest College Courses in America and, not surprisingly, many deal with science fiction entertainment.
We have culled the list to the most relevant to SCI FI Wire readers. This listing isn't comprehensive: For example, it ignores the newly recognized academic disciplines of Buffy studies, Klingon language and literature and conversational Elvish.
Still, the following is a nice slice of sci-fi academia.
Philosophy and Star Trek Georgetown University
Here's how the listing describes this course: "basically an introduction to certain topics in metaphysics and epistemology philosophy, centered around major philosophical questions that come up again and again in Star Trek." Topics include: "Is time travel possible? Could we go back and kill our grandmothers?" "Could reality be radically different from what we think? Could we be brains in vats?" And our favorite: "Is Data a person?"
The Science of Superheroes University of California at Irvine
Students at UC Irvine learn about physics by using familiar superhero icons such as Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The professor teaches the physics of flying and fluid dynamics using Superman as his example, and the students also learn about super-strong spider silk as used by Spider-Man.
Zombies in Popular Media Columbia College, Chicago
This is apparently NOT a course about broadcast network newscasters, but rather a history of the flesh-eating undead as they appear in popular media. That includes everything from vodoun (or voodoo) in Haiti to video games such as Resident Evil and, one presumes, Shaun of the Dead.
The Science of Harry Potter Frostburg State University
The site reports that this is actually an honors course and deals with topics such as whether Fluffy the three-headed dog could be explained by genetic engineering or whether antigravity research could actually produce a flying broomstick. Needless to say, the class is geared toward non-science majors.
Myth and Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings Centre College
Students study these films and such TV shows as Star Trek, Stargate, Doctor Who, The X-Files and Babylon 5 to examine how modern tales have their roots in classic myths.