Special Feature: Year of the Humans

By John Garry

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        As many of you know, there is exciting news from the Provost’s Office: academic year 2015-2016 is the year of the Humanities! On August 27th, 2015, Provost Patricia E(-Z Money) Beeson broke the silence, asking all to contribute to the overarching theme of “Being Human.”  This pronouncement by the Pitt front office of course represents a big 180º turn for the University.  No one needs a reminder of the disastrous “Year of the Automatons” in academic year ’05-’06.  The statistics from that year alone were heartrending (for everyone except the automatons): 1,896 broken bones in the first-annual humans vs. robots charity football game; 53 failed body augmentations by engineering students trying to compete with the computing power of their new “classmates”; let’s not even go into the computer glitch that organized an automaton attack on Panther hall, delaying its opening by two years.

        So before you go rush to sign up for all the humanities classes Pitt has to offer, wait.  The hard-working researchers at the Pittiful News have already scoured through classes to find you the best of the best.

        Studio Arts 0120* Foundation Color- This class is a perennial fan favorite.  Each class period is a field trip around campus, where students observe others from afar and judge the makeup of their unknowing targets.  There are two midterms and a final, in which the students have to find a target in Hillman and go fix the makeup of said target, with or without the permission of the unexpected studier.

        English Literature 0642 Comedy
        English Literature 0643 Satire – These two prerequisites to the Pittiful News, taught by the esteemed Teli Albert, serve as foundations to all that we hold dear. The class will become infinitely harder now and in future semesters, as the only subject matter (The Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart) no longer exist as they did in the past to provide social commentary on current events.  While researchers at the Pittiful News were not able to find out where the new subject matter would come from, sources lead us to believe that the class topics will most likely be from established satirical sources, such as the Onion or the satire section of the Pitt News.

        Geography 0810* Earth and People- This course absolutely put the “Human” in “Year of the Humanities.” Weekly assignments include “kidborrowing,” – bringing a new individual to class for observation and discussion.  Group projects include observing the reactions of subjects who, while not aware they are being studied, have heaps and mounds of earth thrown upon them.

Music 0100 Fundamentals of Western Music
Music 0211 Introduction to Western Art Music
Music 0222 History of Western Music to 1750
Music 0224 History of Western Music since 1750
Music 1226 History of Western Music 3 – This five-semester series of classes is based solely on the glory that is Lady Gaga. ‘Nough said.

English Literature 1645 Critical Approach to Children’s Lit- What underlying aspect of the human experience is Theodore Geisel trying to make us recognize by advising us to “Hop on Pop”? This class explores everything you never wanted to speculate about your favorite books growing up.  Was the Magic Treehouse really about adventure and imagination? Or did faceless multinational corporations subliminally influence children to be more accepting of hallucinogenic drug culture?

While there is not enough room in this entire newspaper to go into depth about all the great humanities classes that Pitt has to offer, we hope this brief glimpse of courses has gotten you as excited as everyone here at the Pittiful News already is for the Year of the Humanities.

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