Although not quite the USC you know in California (it’s actually the University of South Carolina), a new English class is offering, “Reading and Writing about Magical Girls.” or a university level Magical Girls class. Rejoice as anime has finally infiltrated the upper echelons of our educational system!
The new course focuses on the Magical Girl Genre with some feminist/political undertones
An interesting way to bring Anime into the classroom, but you maybe thinking… what exactly does this course teach? And why even bother ?
Apparently, you get to watch several Anime episodes (a few of which are shown here) and then deconstruct them into their political themes:
Course video: Sailor Moon – A Moon Star is Born
Course Video: Revolutionary Girl Utena – Nanami’s Egg
Cardcaptor Sakura – Sakura and the Blacked Out School Arts Festival
Yes, the class may seem like a tangent from your traditional Poli-sci course, but it’ll definitely will spark interest from those who: A. Aspire to become a magical girl, B. Cosplayers who spend way too much time on Facebook, and C. Want to get easy credits for their 101 course.
The topics are also quite technical
- Understand the basic tropes and methodologies of the magical girl genre.
- Use the genre to introduce basic tenets of feminism to the course. One of the big themes of this course ended up being the representation of women in media, so this was an important touchstone.
- Question whether niche interests like anime can elaborate on theoretical questions of aesthetics versus politics in a meaningful way (for those who may be familiar, the Frankfurt school philosophers were instrumental in this point). In other words, can a text talk about social issues without sacrificing the qualities that make it “art?”
- Connect the magical girl genre to larger questions of political importance (I’ll elaborate on this point later).
- Teach students how to write (this is, after all, an introductory level English course).
So far the the course has been praised and news have been spreading (it is here on Doki Press after all) and more information can be found from the professor him/herself on Reddit.
Here is a similar video (although not from the course itself) for you to get a taste of what this class might be about:
Is this a well thought out course to engage those who are in the anime-fandom community?
Or just a way to click-bait students and otaku into applying for the course? You decide!