Mad Men the College Course

College classes aren't what they used to be.

The AMC series "Mad Men" wrapped up the season last weekend, but it will remain the subject of some high brow discussions until the end of the semester at UC Berkeley.

That's because the popular show based in the 1960 is the subject of a fall course.

It's a two-unit class that meets once a week in the school's DeCal program. It focuses on the "thematically, symbolically and historically rich television series." DeCal classes give a platform to students who want to dig into atypical subjects, according to the university.  This fall's topics range from a class on the "Sociology of Seinfeld" to longboarding. DeCal is run by the students themselves, but the classes give real college credits.

Mad Men is taught by two fourth year students who admit they are big fans of the show.

The class treats each episode as if it were a chapter of great literature. Each class begins with a lecture, followed by a viewing of an episode and ending with an open discussion.

If you aren't a fan of the series, "Mad Men" is about a group of advertising executives in New York City and takes place in the 60s.

The DeCal idea was a big hit with students. The class only had room for 30 people and 80 showed up.
The teachers, Katie Dowd and Annie Powers, say they are covering the following themes:

  • contemporary culture
  • politics of the 1960s
  • the role of women, class and society
  • the family unit

Students have more than just a television show to watch as homework, they are also given supplemental reading assignments.

Dowd said in a university press release that the class proves television is more than entertainment. "I think shows like 'Mad Men' prove  that it can be more than entertainment. It can be thought-provoking. It can say something about our culture," Dowd said.

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