Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Spring class to explore "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy

Spring class to explore
A model poses with the best-selling novel.

A new class based on the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy will be offered to undergraduates this spring.

The class will be in the American Studies program of the College of Arts and Sciences (AMST-330-005). It will focus on the trilogy’s impact in many areas of society as well as the reasons behind its popularity, according to its course description.

Professor Stef Woods, who runs the D.C.-based blog titled “City Girl,” will teach the class. She currently teaches a course on health and activism.

Woods thought the books were appropriate to use in class because of their impact on pop culture, with more than 20 million copies sold in four months, she said.

“The trilogy has impacted the fields of public relations, writing, social media marketing, health and sexuality,” she said. “It has also opened up dialogue about previously uncomfortable topics.”

Woods said the course attracted interest in the student body, but some students did not think the trilogy merited a course.

“It’s not an accurate representation of American sexual culture,” School of Communication freshman Sarah Voelker said. “It does not present these things in a way that is safe and positive. It’s basically S&M porn.”

Despite the appropriateness of the books, Woods said the trilogy presented a uniquely powerful perspective on American culture.

“No other contemporary text on sexuality has transformed American culture the way that this series has,” she said.

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