I'm fascinated by this news from The Eagle about this class!
A new class based on the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy will be offered to undergraduates this spring.Professor Stef Woods also posted about the class and 5 points she plans to explore, and can I just say I love that female sexuality is going to be discussed explicitly, as well as erotic literature, on the college level? Also, I had to click through to find out what a sexual genogram is - students will have to create one!
The class will be in the American Studies program of the College of Arts and Sciences (AMST-330-005). It will focus on the trilogy’s impact in many areas of society as well as the reasons behind its popularity, according to its course description.
Professor Stef Woods, who runs the D.C.-based blog titled “City Girl,” will teach the class. She currently teaches a course on health and activism.
Woods thought the books were appropriate to use in class because of their impact on pop culture, with more than 20 million copies sold in four months, she said.
“The trilogy has impacted the fields of public relations, writing, social media marketing, health and sexuality,” she said. “It has also opened up dialogue about previously uncomfortable topics.”
a. Double standards abound with respect to female sexuality. Does referring to the book as "mommy porn" further belittle women's sexuality? Are men's publications subjected to the same judgments about sexuality?
b. A common criticism of the book is its poor writing style and editing. What are our expectations when it comes to reading fiction? Do we expect less from online writings? Would E.L. James's writing have been judged to the same extent, if she wasn't a female writing an erotic trilogy? How would you revise an earlier chapter of the first book to sustain a more discriminating reader's attention?
c. Evaluate the relationship in the book in light of our readings on domestic violence. Are the leads in the trilogy in a healthy or abusive relationship? Why or why not?
d. Why is the trilogy a public relations success story? Would sales have been as high if e-readers didn't exist? Given the studies we looked at regarding the buying power of the mom demographic, do you think the book series would have been as successful if the mom demographic hadn't been targeted?
e. What was the role of social media in perpetuating the trilogy's success? If you were in charge of marketing the upcoming movies, how would you utilize social media?