Area University to Offer 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Class in 2013

Undergraduate offering to be part of American Studies program at American University.


Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James' best selling trilogy, can be found on countless Kindles, Nooks and nightstands across the nation, and starting this spring, in American University's (AU) classrooms as well, states a story in the Eagle, AU's newspaper.

The American Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the university, located just across the Maryland boundary in Washington, will offer the undergraduate course.

The course description promises to explore the "interplay of sexuality, health, public relations and marketing," describing the topics to be studied as including "feminism, addiction, social media marketing and sexual expression versus sexual repression."

The course will be taught by Professor Stef Woods, who pens the D.C.-based blog City Girl that seeks to "Educate. Advocate. Titillate," according to the site. Woods told the Eagle that the trilogy of novels noted for their explicit sexuality has "opened up dialogue about previously uncomfortable topics."

Sarah Voelker, a student quoted in the article, said the books are not "an accurate representation of American sexual culture," but Woods said that the trilogy is unequaled in its transformation of American culture.

The AU website  features a full course description.

Homewood resident January 04, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Students and their parents take on enormous debt for this?
FiFi Griffin January 05, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Nice. Creating a class based on poorly written sexual novels -- where the oft repeated words, "He is so hot!" can be seen in almost every chapter in ALL 3 books. These books aren't even close to the literary works of such greats as "Lady Chatterly's Lover." I love our education system! No wonder other countries are out distancing us in just about every subject.
W. L. January 06, 2013 at 02:34 PM
What a waste. The books are trash. Certainly not literary works that need to be studied. I would watch out for this professor parents and students.
Mike H January 06, 2013 at 04:28 PM
You all seem to be bashing this class, but it is part of an American Studies program, and an elective within that program so what's the big deal? The books have reached a level where they are viable as a matter of study within our culture. I haven't read them, but I get the gist. Just because it is poorly written and a bit "lowest common denominator" doesn't mean it isn't worth studying. There are viable classes about comic books in popular culture or heavy metal in music degree programs. For my undergrad degree I took an elective course in "Writing from the Chesapeake" It was filled with some of the worst writing and poetry I have even seen. But I still learned something about the culture of the place and time from the writing.
PTprimetime January 07, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Mike, the problem is that 50 Shades was the spawn of Twilight fan-fiction and the books are absolutely horrendously, over-glorified mommy porn. What a joke. And, actually, because it is poorly written and the lowest common denominator it shouldn't be studied. That would be like wanting to learn about music and being given a course on Chris Brown. Come on, man.
W. L. January 07, 2013 at 08:50 PM
You are comparing apples to oranges.
Darcy Blaze January 08, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Darcy Blaze 9:14 am on Sunday, January 6, 2013 Writing novels and screenplays is a VERY formatted affair. There are lots of rules but in the end it all comes down to ideas. Great writers write instinctively but the underlying framework is still there. You can read how to to do it, without going on a course. Just start writing, don't stop and read back. After that writing is a question of rewriting. EL James opened up the BDSM market and certainly inspired me. My Deadly Prediction novel started out as a thriller idea but once I added the BDSM, sex and romance the story just took off and wrote itself. Now the protagonist, who likes giving up control in sex has to take control to survive. Deadly Prediction was always written with the screenplay in mind so it will be very interesting to see how Fifty Shades winds up on the big screen, not an easy thing to get right, especially for the ultra-conservative US market. S&M of course has always been a great English tradition, in the eighteenth century London was full of spanking houses. http://www.darcyblaze.com/
Roxanne January 08, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Why does everyone focus on the sexual aspect of the books? What about his abusive childhood and how he coped and overcame that? What about how his relationship with Ana grew and developed with trust and respect?! Sheesh people! These may not be literary masterpieces but I enjoyed reading them and that's really what reading is about for most people.
Darcy Blaze January 09, 2013 at 12:05 AM
I don't think Roxanne that Fifty Shades sold the way it did because of an interest in trust and respect? Elementary my dear Watson, it it was the BDSM wotdunit. http://www.darcyblaze.com/
My2Cents January 09, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Guess they ran out of real subjects to teach so they had to make up this nonsense class. Really? Very disturbing. And, at the cost of college classes these days, why would anyone waste their money? At least the "textbooks" will be cheap. Oy!
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Darcy Blaze January 09, 2013 at 07:45 AM
Art college certainly changed my life but I wouldn't pay for higher education today. Those who can, do, and those who can't, teach, and those who can't teach, teach gym. In the early nineties: Quantel (pre-photoshop hardware) cost around £500,000, a seat at a Silicon Graphics workstation running Alias, the type of software that Pixar used to create Toy Story, cost around $400,000. Therefore a student could only learn 3D animation by going to university. Today Pixelmator, which I prefer to Photoshop, costs a ridiculous $14.99. Cheetah3D costs $99 and is quite enough to get you started in 3D animation. Both run on a Mac. Tutorials are free on Youtube. So if you haven't produced something interesting on your own in your bedroom by fifteen you are probably not talented or enthusiastic enough for the industry. The same goes for film making - Spielberg et al, all started by making little Super 8 movies as kids. That was when cameras and film were expensive and editing was tedious and needed more equipment. Today everyone has a movie camera and an editor with no film costs. The rest is the art of film making and you can read William Goldman, freeze frame, re-watch sequences and study how it's done just by watching movies. Nothing beats your own portfolio when it comes to getting a job, and you can post your efforts online for all to see. http://www.darcyblaze.com/
d January 17, 2013 at 05:04 AM
Mommy porn? Really? Cmon do u think "mommies" become such by not liking sex? Or do you just expect a chicks sex life to suddenly become bland when she has kids? That being said: what on earth could they possibly be teaching in this class? The proper way to spank the teacher? Ten bucks says the turnout is an all horny-male-just-hoping-to-hook-up-with-horny-girls audience like the proverbial home ec elective lmao. I haven't read the book but my only real problem with it is that the price of whips and chains has doubled... stupid fad followers
Craig January 17, 2013 at 05:07 AM
Gasp! Whips and chains! Oh no! So barbaric (this is continuing from our enlightened posts on another Patch piece about banning spanking). We must ban whips and chains! And ban 50 Shades! In all seriousness though - I agree with you: pretty dumb idea for a class, regardless of who it's trying to appeal to. Still though, I'm just glad Americans are reading SOMETHING in this day and age.


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