‘Fifty Shades’ of Lit Trad: new class to shake up curriculum

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Clare Myers

Chief Justice of the Court of Poor Writing

 

 

 

 

The new Literary Tradition V course will rely heavily on the new, groundbreaking style of literature found in the “Fifty Shades” series. -Photo courtesy of Gallery Hip
The new Literary Tradition V course will rely heavily on the new, groundbreaking style of literature found in the “Fifty Shades” series.
-Photo courtesy of Gallery Hip

All University of Dallas students will now read the complete works of E.L. James as part of a broader initiative to revitalize the Core curriculum and make it more relevant to today’s culture.

After weeks of consideration, the Curriculum Committee decided to add Literary Tradition V to the Core. The fifth part of the sequence will focus on contemporary works of literature, with James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” forming the highlight of the course.

“We’ve been trying to incorporate more modern popular culture into the Core, and ‘Fifty Shades’ was the obvious choice for the English department,” the committee’s official press release states. “This trilogy is a literary masterpiece.”

James’ books have been a controversy since “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the first book in the series, became a runaway success since its publication in 2011. Not only has it been criticized for its sexual content and its depiction of an abusive relationship, but  also as a poorly written novel. But according to English professor Dr. Andrew Moran, the committee made its choice after considering the work on its literary merits, not on its critical reception.

“We recognize that James has not exactly been a critical favorite, but remember, ‘Moby Dick’ was a failure when it was first published,” Moran said. “UD has always prided itself on being a place for independent thinkers, and we independently think that these books are worth reading.”

The committee is also considering other changes to modernize the curriculum. Faculty members are currently debating whether to add a New Age Philosophy course and a one-credit Yoga & Eastern Meditation elective to the required Core classes. For now, however, Literary Tradition V is the only new addition.

The Alumni Association has released a statement in support of the curriculum change.

“The additions to the Core are a proactive initiative by the university to bring UD into the 21st century,” the statement reads. “As alumni, we feel the Core has become outdated, and we are proud of our alma mater for taking this step toward moving UD in the right direction toward the mainstream.”

Despite the alumni support, the committee’s decision is facing furious opposition from the student body.

“This is an outrage,” senior Alex Taylor said. “E.L. James’ books can hardly be considered literature. There is no way she deserves to join the ranks of the great writers we read in Lit Trad.”

Other students disagreed with the decision, but for different reasons.

“Honestly, that’s another 500 pages we have to read,” senior Danielle “Lazy Dan” DeBry said. “And ‘Fifty Shades’ isn’t even on SparkNotes.”

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