Syllabus not distributed
After three weeks into the semester, visiting professor Robin Hopkins has yet to distribute the syllabus for his Anthropology 250 course. While there has been some growing concern in the Dean’s office that perhaps the class is being mismanaged, Hopkins denies there is reason for such concern.
“How the hell am I supposed to know what anthropology is? I’m doing the best I can here,” said Prof. Hopkins in an interview. “Even Wikipedia doesn’t have a damn clue.”
So far, the class has consisted of screening several Will Smith movies. “I really believe that these cinema classics pertain directly to anthropology’s primary queries regarding the human condition,” Hopkins said. “Also, these are the only movies I own.”
The viewings spark multifaceted anthropologic debate amongst the students. In which of the three films of the Bad Boys franchise are the boys most bad? What in the world does Smith have on his face in The Pursuit of Happyness? Can life truly have any meaning if Martin Lawrence gets paid to act in movies? The students wrestle with these conundrums, and many more, at Hopkins’ behest.
“I’m a big believer in the Socratic method of instruction by asking questions,” he said. “It stimulates critical thinking. Plus, I don’t have to actually learn what I’m supposedly teaching.”
Hopkins received his BA from Smokey Oaks College in 1983, before going on to get his teaching degree from Pacific Lutheran. He taught for over twenty years at American University (Dubai) before being brought on as a visiting professor for the 2011-2012 year by Puget Sound. Hopkins describes himself as an enthusiastic numismatist and reluctant sesquipedalian.
He has made believers out of his students. Freshman Zeke Rosenberg calls the class “awesome” and “really awesome.” This sentiment is shared by all of Hopkins students; even his potentially harshest critics are big fans.
Junior Andy Weissler agrees. “As a psych major, I know bullshit material when I see it, but this has blown me away,” Weissler said. “I never thought such deep connections could be formed from something so apparently trivial. Who cares if we don’t even have a syllabus?
“We’re all rats in Professor Hopkins’ Skinner Box of Knowledge,” Weissler continued. “Pressing that bar until he distributes a little morsel of insight.”
When asked if he’ll ever get around to passing out a syllabus for the class, Hopkins was unsure. “I still have I, Robot and Independence Day in my closet somewhere, so that should get us a few more weeks. After that…who knows, really?”
Perhaps Hopkins will indeed have to come up with a plan for his course in due time. But for now, he’s riding his own way. And if he fails, what of it? As Will Smith concisely said in Bad Boys: “My shit only works sometimes!”