‘50 Shades of Grey’ Is the Subject of a Course at American University
Sex educator and American University adjunct professor Stef Woods didn’t see “mommy porn” when she first heard buzz about the E.L. James erotic romance bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey at a doctor’s office, where the receptionists, nurse, and doctor were all reading the book. She saw a potential class topic. Having taught college classes on activism and social media and sexuality and social media, Woods found the combination of number of books sold, media hype, and issues related to female sexuality, fan fiction, and social media compelling enough to successfully propose “Contemporary American Culture: The 50 Shades Trilogy,” which she will teach to 25 students starting in January.
“It never crossed my mind to use another book for a case study,” she wrote on her blog, City Girl. The class already has a waiting list, and is filled mostly with senior honors students (22 or 23 of whom, according to Woods, are female). “No other contemporary text on sexuality has transformed American culture the way that this series has,” Woods told student newspaper The Eagle, where, in the comments, she offered an anonymous student commenter the opportunity to sit in on the class.