Argh! Students Hooked on Pirates Class

Hopefully, U of C students won’t spend years at "C"

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009  |  Updated 9:01 AM CDT
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Argh! Students Hooked on Pirates Class

Getty Images/National Geographic

A new University of Chicago class teaches students about traditional and modern-day pirates.

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Young, eager men and women attend college to learn about a number of topics: pedology, politics, pirates...

Wait, pirates?

A new anthropology class beginning March 30 is entitled "Intensive Study of a Culture: Pirates," and it has quickly become one of the most popular courses on the University of Chicago campus.

Even after increasing the class size from 90 to 150 students, spots filled quickly. As of Tuesday, only one seat was left.

"As eggheady as our students are, they also are very much of their generation and in touch with mainstream culture," assistant anthropology professor Shannon Lee Dawdy, who teaches the class, told the Chicago Tribune.

Students will learn about traditional "eye-patch" pirates as well as modern-day pirates like unauthorized copies of computer software and Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty to investor fraud.

The class will also visit the new exhibit at the Field Museum, "Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship," which features the bounty of a nearly 300-year-old wrecked pirate ship.

"It is almost too fun for the University of Chicago," Dawdy joked, "so I will make sure they read a bit of theory each week."

Now students can tell their parents they're learning the three "Arrrrrrrgh"s.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, thinks pirates are part of avast conspiracy.

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