The Force was strong with the two professors who realized their dream of creating and teaching a class on “Star Wars.”
Dr. Joseph Pelletier, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. Mark Blincoe, assistant professor of history, successfully put together HUM 400: Star Wars and the Human Condition. The course is an interdisciplinary, upper-division humanities course offered in spring 2015.
The discussion-based class will focus on the worldviews presented in the films, as well as the philosophical and religious aspects in the films.
“The design for the class is really to get students to engage in worldview, how worldview ends up creating demands on the shape of society and culture… and types of resistance to that, where you begin to see the Rebel Alliance versus the Empire,” Blincoe said.
The mutual love of “Star Wars” that Blincoe and Pelletier shared initially kindled their friendship.
The professors had several lunches together where their conversations consisted of “Star Wars” and the love they had for the films.
“We had such vigorous discussion over the films and its themes and everything,” Pelletier said. “We both thought, ‘There is a class in this.’”
The professors knew their enthusiasm for the “Star Wars” films went beyond their own personal conversations.
Blincoe said a number of students share their intense appreciation and interest, and a course on the films and themes would be well-received among the student body. They want students to enjoy the course while at the same time getting a deeper appreciation for the films.
“We want two things: You have to have a passion for the films, for the whole culture of Star Wars, but beyond that you have to have a passion for learning, in general, about application and critical thinking,” Pelletier said.
Student reception to the class was positive, as it filled up quickly. Students are vocal about interest in the class.
“I’m a fan of Star Wars and I feel I would bring more to the class and feel more obligated to do better because it’s something I am extremely interested in. It’s like a hobby,” said Samantha Stiles, sophomore psychology major.
The professors said they want the course to act as a vehicle for critical thinking while enjoying a particular fuel for learning.