Heer Kothari tours us through universities around the world that delve into the world of fiction, giving mundane literary and science subjects a whole new dimension
Have you found yourself locked up in the toilet appreciating the fictional charms of an Enid Blyton or a Roald Dahl novel for hours on an end? Most of us remember growing up reading Malory Towers, or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There are many who remember details of these stories with outstanding clarity. Some of these tales left quite an imprint on our minds! But what happens as we grow up? We are only left to the residue of our imagination. We can only imagine being offered to take a course in the understanding of sorcery and witchcraft. But what if such a course actually existed and we really could take it up! Wow! This indeed measure up as the opportunity of a lifetime where you can almost live the life of the celebrated J.K. Rowling character, Harry Potter.
As we grow up, most of us are smitten by the ways of the world, and go by the daunting yet sensibly, practical route. We take to a course that will add merit to our career. But how about taking to these fictional courses. In their own way it does good to the society and us and are in great demand as well.
As we take off from childhood to adolescence, most of us are gripped by the lucrative vices of real life and allow the reel life to take a back seat. But a little fiction, a little fantasy and magic will only enable some psychological good and allow us to deal with the unending bouts of stress. In case one finds someone shying from fiction, one must understand that there is a clear evidence of them shoving many joys and other pleasant emotions under the carpet. We all grew up with a little fiction in our lives. If it weren’t for our dreams (which also includes liberal bouts of fiction) we wouldn’t be where we are today! Fiction has a very strapping influence in the life of a human being. As children, fiction plays an imperative role in embodying a steadfast value system in an individual’s life. It helps them to differentiate good from bad, and right from wrong.
Fiction courses have many more advantages as compared to the real and the more practical courses. It tends to open the human mind up in a rather unimaginable way. Take the Joy of Garbage course at the Santa Clara University. The course seems to earn some sky rocketing appreciation. The students uncover garbage from different regions, like they seem to unearth some archaeological goodness. The course is a serious one, where students learn the numerous hot and cold rules of garbage. The idea is to instill some sensitivity towards the environment and how society can deal with waste more efficaciously.
If fantasy and magic tops the charts, then Ohio State University, actually conducts a course on ‘Fantasy Literature, Harry Potter.’ The modules of the course are interestingly planned giving insight on the details of the celebrated author, J.K. Rowling, the style of writing she’s incorporated, the literary technique, cultural roots of the novels and a lot more. Students are expected to read the seven versions as part of the syllabus.
If talking gibberish intrigues you then there is another exciting subject that is taught at the University of Texas in Austin. The subject fully decodes the language that is used in the Star Trek series. The course titled as, ‘‘Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond’ actually does exist. Though the course doesn’t include teaching how the language is spoken, it does explore the future possibilities of linguistic theories and also explores the numerous language ideas and interactions around society. Isn’t it surprising to learn how the language has been such a topic of discussion over the years?
If the theories of physics actually bum you out, there is a new way of exploring the subject. The course entitled ‘Science of Superheroes’, taught in the University of California, Irvin, gives you insight on the real principles of physics using superheros and their especially wielded super-powers. Physics can certainly put quite a few science enthusiasts to sleep, but this one seems like a shot of Americano at the wee hours of dawn and keeps you awake all through.
In India too we do have fiction explored but in a very subtle manner. Take the University of Chennai for instance. It unearths the riches of Premchand’s text and also explores the literary on-goings of the era too. There are students who also take to the art of reading the future through the study of astrology. The course also includes understanding numerology, the science of tarot cards, Rune stones and a lot more.
Interestingly there are other celebrated universities that analyse famous sitcoms to learn of the impact of the viewing of the same on society and children.
Often we wonder why go the fictional way!
But nonetheless taking the less traveled route only gives a better perspective, instead of going the bookish way. It also gives the students impetus to research a lot more than what they are actually supposed to. It is a more satiating experience as compared to going by the formal method of learning. Fictional learning has not garnered as much popularity in India owing to a number of reasons. However, it is interesting how when one signs up for a fictional course one can comprehend life a lot better than otherwise. Take the super hero’s course for instance! Would one really imagine doing Physics that way? But students who take up to such courses are more open and accepting to try out the newer things.
Volume 5 Issue 11