Cool Classes at the Claremont Colleges

Altered States of Consciousness: ANTH120 PO, Professor Perry

Exploring various altered states of consciousness, this course goes beyond the drunken revelry some students choose to engage in at the 5C's. For centuries, and throughout the world, many people have chosen to engage in mind-altering activities, and have sometimes been required to experience this alteration to gain membership to certain societies. Professor Perry explained that for students, "the cross-cultural exploration of altered states through time and space offers a sense of legitimacy, meaning and relevance to their personal interests and pursuits." Through this course, Professor Perry undermines students' assumptions that "what they do on the weekends doesn't have much to do with what they are studying in the classrooms," and many students find this newfound ability to "blend their academic and personal interests" incredibly fascinating.

Human Sexuality: ANTH152, Professor Bolton

Understandably attracting a lot of attention, this is one of the most popular classes at the Claremont Colleges. "The topic is inherently interesting to most students," Professor Bolton explained, "and in the class I try to treat it with the seriousness it deserves." One of the best attributes of the class is the series of speakers, a collection of individuals who come to class on certain days and share their experience and expertise on a variety of subjects, including: sadomasochism, sexual health, prostitution, STDs and AIDS and sexuality in relation to religion. Professor Bolton said that "the topic is fun," sexuality affects nearly everyone, and it has many cultural dimensions that are essential to understand. This course covers the Gender & Women's Studies requirement, and many students give the class an incredibly positive review; some have even informed Professor Bolton that the course changed their lives.

Women and Comedy: LIT170 CMC, Professor Bilger

This course offers an academic approach to a fairly abstract concept: humor. Laughter has existed since the dawn of humankind, and has played a vital role in our culture. To make people laugh garners social power, but the hegemonic implications of comedy are often implicit rather than understood. The place of women in comedy has always been limited, and even today, women are often dismissed as simply "less funny." This course offers a classic as well as modern approach to comedy (and women's place within it), from the bawdy restoration humor of Aphra Behn to the modern stand-up comedy of Margaret Cho. "I never thought about comedy in a gendered way," student Rachel Mitchell ('09) explained, "but Women and Comedy made me look at humor differently—Bilger is also an incredible professor." This course fulfills the Gender & Women's Studies requirement, and covers a broad range of comedy mediums, including fiction, stand-up, comics and television shows.

Foreign Language and Culture Teaching Clinic: Core003 SC, Professor Boucquey

One of the options for Core III courses is the Foreign Language and Culture Teaching Clinic, which offers the unique opportunity for pairs of students who are both fluent in a language to teach that language to fifth-grade students twice a week. Led by Professor Boucquey, students first spend three weeks studying pedagogy, and then go into classrooms where they create and direct their own lesson plans. Erin Coleman (‘11), who taught German with her language partner, Alayna Fisher (‘11), said that the class is challenging but worthwhile. "It is a lot of work coming up with lesson plans and exerting a lot of energy to teach, but the children pick up the language and routine so fast," Coleman said. "You get to play games, be in a leadership position, and establish a relationship with others in Claremont who aren't students or professors." Students may teach any language as long as there are two in the class who are fluent and can work together. To enroll, students must receive permission from Professor Boucquey.

Music of the Spirits: MUS121 SC, Professor Huang

In Professor Huang's course, students are introduced to Tewa Pueblo Indian, Hawaiian and African-American religious music in the United States. Addressing the subject from ethnomusicological, sociological and anthropological standpoints, the class focuses on the role of these different types of music in rituals and religious observances. Felicia Palmer ('12), who is currently enrolled in the class, said that "while the class is a lot of work, it has been extremely rewarding; I've learned so much about three amazing cultures in a really short amount of time."

"Music of the Spirits" fulfills both the Fine Arts and the Race/Ethnic Studies requirement at Scripps. In the course, students complete listening and reading assignments, participate in discussions and occasionally do in-class presentations. The class ends with a mini-research project, in which students investigate a religious musical tradition of their choice.

Another highlight that Palmer mentions, besides the course's unique subject matter, is Professor Huang's involvement in the class. "Professor Huang is super entertaining and engaging," Palmer said. "Though he expects a lot of his students, we are happy to rise to the occasion because all the material is just so incredibly interesting."