This fall, Tufts students will be “Demystifying the Hipster” for college credit.
The university’s Experimental College released its upcoming course list, covering topics as far-reaching as “Entrepreneurship and Healthcare” to “Introduction to Comics and the Graphic Novel.” The Experimental College, founded in 1964, features classes taught by full- and part-time faculty or undergraduate students that tend to stray from the courses offered in Tufts’ traditional departments.
Jacqueline O’Dell, who’s taught the more traditional English courses at Tufts over the past four years, will be offering a one-credit class called, yes, “Demystifying the Hipster.” Per the course description:
The hipster is a divisive cultural figure that elicits both envy and outrage, and some argue that it has run its course — but what exactly is (or was) the hipster? Are hipsters part of a counter-culture, or are they just another marketing niche in the mainstream? How can we tell the difference?
Students will be tasked with reading and questioning contemporary writing that claims to define the hipster, focusing primarily on film, fiction, fashion and music produced over the last two decades. After catching themselves up to the present day, the class will reportedly flash back to Norman Mailer’s seminal 1957, “The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster.”
The course description continues:
Over the course of the semester, students will develop their own canon of hipster art. Students will become critics and sociologists of today’s hipster culture as they explore how hipster identity reflects larger cultural anxiety.
Tufts isn’t the only area school that’s zeroed in on the stereotyped skinny-jean, prescription-less glasses wearing crowd, however. In early 2012, Harvard offered a scientific explanation as to why you’re a hipster and hate mainstream music. Essentially, you want to keep your “hip” identity, and the only way to do that is to scurry off in search of some underground band when too many of your friends start liking The Decemberists.
A fun experiment might be to throw Tufts students into the throes of the hipster haven better known as Emerson College, a Downtown Boston school that’s previously been ranked the third most hipster in the country. This throwback video explains it all:
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