University professors are facing a conundrum now more than ever: how to get students interested in the humanities again. As tuition costs soar and the job market remains volatile, students are increasingly turning to more "practical" fields like engineering or computer science. However, one university is implementing a bold new strategy to sway students back towards the humanities — by offering a literary criticism course on masturbation.
More than 200 undergraduate students at the University of Sheffield in the UK are taking “Criticial and Literary Theory” this fall, a course that encompasses an examination of “pleasure, self-scrutiny and auto-eroticism," the Independent reports. The syllabus reportedly includes such seminal texts as Walt Whitman: The Spermatic Imagination and Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl.
Before you go Googling the class syllabus to find out Elizabeth Bennet’s favorite techniques, be aware that this is just one component of a required literary criticism course for English majors, which would likely be a masturbatory exercise even without the risque module. The rest of the courseload won’t be much to write home about, but the component in question will delve into such regrettably overlooked topics like getting yourself off. The component is aptly titled “The Art of Masturbation.”
English Professor Fabienne Collignon told Sheffield’s student news site The Tab that “the lecture will be on Walt Whitman, Rob Halpern and the deconstruction of masturbation. The last week is called pleasure, self-scrutiny and auto-eroticism. I ended up calling it that because there’s an affinity between literary pleasure, critical self-scrutiny and auto-eroticism.”
Still no word on what the homework will be, or on whether or not students will be allowed to work with tutors.
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