Despite having been removed from the curriculum almost a decade ago, Ye Olde Pornography Class at Wesleyan still manages to make the news. Radar has named COL 289 Pornography: The Writing of Prostitutes, a course offered in 1999, #3 in its list of 10 most moronic college courses in America.
Early in the new millennium, porn studies (or Pornology) became a fashionable discipline. Several colleges offered classes that incorporated the work of Annie Sprinkle and some dude with a mustache. But only Wesleyan associate professor Hope Weisman took the pedagogy one step further and, alongside assigning readings by Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag, required students to make their own pornography as a final project. One photographed herself and her boyfriend engaging in oral sex, while another taped his friend masturbating to the music of Ella Fitzgerald (and got an A). After two years, the class was canceled, but that didn’t stop Wesleyan’s workhorse students from exploring the topic through independent studies.