Forget May 4 – June is rapidly ramping up to become one of the best months for Star Wars fans with the release of the highly anticipated series, “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” This, combined with other Star Wars shows like “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett,” and “Ahsoka” — which hits theaters next year — makes the franchise one of Disney’s most popular.
It’s an incredible feat considering that the first film, “A New Hope”, was released over 40 years ago – and the fascination with the franchise hasn’t diminished since. From non-fiction self-help books to mindfulness lessonspeople around the world continue to learn and seek guidance from the Star Wars shows, movies, and wider universe to understand the world around us.
A lot of that has to do with the complexity the franchise brings, asking us to immerse ourselves in the world that filmmaker George Lucas has created. How did the creators of Star Wars use real-world speech patterns to create the universe’s many languages? What does Anakin’s fall to the dark side tell us about human nature and writing a memorable character? How has Star Wars changed the landscape of cinema and what can aspiring directors learn from it?
With such fascination surrounding the franchise, it’s no wonder its effects have reverberated through the classrooms of colleges and universities. Here are some Star Wars courses that universities have taught and continue to teach on their campuses.
College courses influenced by Star Wars shows, movies, and more
West Valley College
One of the subjects in which he does well is acting. In this area, West Valley College offers a truly dynamic program. This includes a Film Studies Course which covers everything from writing for film and TV to practical effects and motion graphics.
No film studies course would be complete without studying actual pieces of filmmaking themselves – and in that, West Valley College delivers in spades. Star Wars shows and movies are explored among these. Here, the course will encourage “critical analysis from the audience’s perspective,” which includes “readings, lectures, and discussions” around the “cinematic development of the Star Wars film cycle.”
Other “Survey of Film” topics include exploring genres like horror and sci-fi, superhero movies, westerns and musicals, and gangster and detective.
Luther College, as a private liberal arts institution in Iowa, strives to provide courses that invigorate and expand the mindset of students. In this, it is not surprising that the college has introduced a sci-fi film lessons which dives into the specifics of the genre – with a particular focus on Star Wars shows, movies and other media.
Led by Associate Professor of English Andy Hageman, the course “allows students to explore specific areas of filmmaking and cultivate knowledge of visual media”. To do this, they analyze and compare two Star Wars films: “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.
“The combination of different exposures to Star Wars makes it a dynamic topic of discussion and introduces surprising perspectives,” Hageman told the university’s student magazine. “In particular, international students relate the films to their own experiences of traveling far, far away from home and navigating new cultures, relationships and values. Often they see Star Wars as a socially shared story with immense power to connect and communicate.
San Francisco State University
As a public research institution, San Francisco State University offers a wide variety of courses spanning its 118 bachelor’s, 94 master’s, and 5 doctoral degrees. He has a Experimental college system in place – giving students the space to take an innovative course offer that match their interests and challenge their worldview.
This includes a “Philosophy and Star Wars” course, which dives deep into the philosophical aspects of the franchise. Here, students will be introduced to philosophy topics with “Star Wars as an anchor to make deep abstract thought more accessible and relatable.” The topics explored range from ethics to metaphysics and eastern philosophy.
The other courses offered are just as interesting. Here is an overview of the courses San Francisco State University students are entitled to: “We Didn’t Ask This: Sexual Harm on the College Campus”, “The Radicalization of Broadway”, “Critical Character Study in the anime” and “Lucid Dreaming”, among others.
Notre Dame University
Founded in 1842 in Indiana, the University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic research institution. It has an exquisite campus spanning traditional Gothic architecture and outdoor sculpture, making it a truly unique place to pursue your studies.
For Star Wars fans, however, the university’s main draw is a one-credit course called “Unmasking the Way: Theology of and for the Mandalorian”. As implied, the course centers around the theological nuances of the Star Wars show “The Mandalorian,” which sees a bounty hunter break from what is expected of him to protect a child, Baby Yoda.
Assistant Professor Kevin Sandberg says the Star Wars show invites audiences to draw parallels with key concepts in Christianity. “If you look at the episode titles of ‘The Mandalorian,’ they’re full of religious imagery: the child, the sin, the sanctuary, the redemption,” he told student newspaper The Observer.
Students discuss “consequences of sin and the cycle of life,” as well as “heroes, myths, and beliefs.” “What struck me as theological early on was that an innocent child was to be slaughtered and otherwise saved and rescued from the clutches of evil, that is, the story of the nativity of Jesus” , Sandberg said.