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Aug 06 2017
by Caroline Mulvaney

7 Colleges Where You Can Take a Class on Disney

By Caroline Mulvaney - Aug 06 2017
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We all know the generic college classes available to students: Economics, foreign languages, maybe a writing seminar or two. However, not every class in your schedule has to be so common. They could even have a little magic in them. These are seven classes that let their students add some Disney to their life. 

1. Boston College 

Boston College has a class called “Studies in Children’s Literature,” but it is widely known throughout the campus as “the Disney class.” It’s an extremely popular class that focuses on studying Disney movies as serious films with critical messages, rather than just as children’s movies. The professor, Bonnie Rudner, also likes to have an emphasis on how Disney movies change how children — especially little girls — view themselves. It’s a great class for the more studious Belles out there. 

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2. Boston University

There is a writing course at Boston University named “The Wonderful World of Disney,” and it studies how Disney has influenced the culture and world around it as a multimedia corporation. The students do everything from watching actual Disney movies to reading essays on racial representation in the films. They also have to write three papers, including one on Disney’s success during the Cold War and Disney movies as a feminist tool. If you’re passionate about social movement and equality like Jasmine, this is the perfect class for you. 

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3. Chapman University

Disney: From Animation to Empire” is the name of a winter interterm course at Chapman University. The students in the class study the rise to power of the corporate machine that is Disney. It becomes a mixture of business, history, gender and culture studies and film studies. For the more business-minded princesses, like Tiana, this class would be right up your alley. 

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4. Bates College

For this one, the class actually counts as a General Education credit, which gives you even more reason to take it. “Decoding Disney: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Animated Blockbuster” is offered at Bates College. It turns Disney movies into “cultural texts” to be analyzed by the students, and discern the link between the political views of the public and the political views of the movie. It’s the ideal class for someone like Merida, who wants to learn more about politics in the modern world. 

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5. Western Illinois University

A communications class called “Disney World and Universal Communication Culture” is offered at Western Illinois University. The class studies the organizational and communication aspects of the Disney parks. At the end of the course, there’s even a trip to visit Walt Disney World itself in Orlando. Adventurous characters like Mulan, who want to get class credit for going on rollercoasters, would fit right in. 

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6. University of Virginia

Professor Carmenita Higginbotham took a Disney course herself when she was in college, and she liked it so much that she now teaches one at UVA. Since Higginbotham is a professor of American Studies, that is the lens through which she chooses to teach the class, studying how Walt Disney — the man and the corporation — have affected American society. Pocahontas would be fascinated, and you would, too. 

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7. Florida State University

The class offered at FSU is a little more technical based than the others mentioned so far. It’s called “Imagineering Production Techniques, Sculpting Environments,” and the students focus on character plaster, the artistic technique that appears in theme parks to mimic things like stone and wood. Of course, the class travels to Walt Disney World to see the technique in person (and maybe ride a few rides). There are also several guest lecturers from Disney who come to talk to the class. Art addicts like Rapunzel should be salivating over this one. 

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Whether you're a business major or an art history fanatic, there's an aspect of Disney that's right for you and your studies. Of course, a field trip to Orlando here and there and getting to watch Disney movies as homework are definite bonuses. 

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash 

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Caroline Mulvaney - Georgetown University

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