Professor Cosplays Bond to Engage Students

Professor Cosplays Bond to Engage Students

Recently, I began my eight week HUM 2020 Special Topics course on The Cultural Significance of James Bond at my home base, the Nassau Center. The course is called "Views to A Kill: The Many Faces of James Bond."

Article submitted by Professor Ranjan Chhibber on one of his recent classes

Recently, I began my eight week HUM 2020 Special Topics course on The Cultural Significance of James Bond at my home base, the Nassau Center. The course is called "Views to A Kill: The Many Faces of James Bond."

My interest in Cosplay inspired me to dress up as Bond for the first class: I rented a tux and went full out Bond.

I remember how intimidating my first university classes were when I just graduated from high school, so the whole point of Cosplaying Bond is to get the students to relax a bit and to realize that college education, while demanding, is not intimidating. 

Two of the students said that they felt like dressing up for a James Bond course, even though I never spoke to them.

Bond is about spies, expensive cars, explosions, political intrigue and more explosions. But it's also about fashion and music, which the students who aren't into violence seem to adore about the Bond movies.

We're reading a graphic novel based upon the Bond mythology, "Kingsman: Secret Service," to show the pop culture celebration of the figure of the romanticized spy; but we're also reading Glenn Greenwald's book, "No Place to Hide," about domestic espionage, including the whole Edward Snowden story.  Students can see the dark side of domestic espionage through that text.

In the end, I let the students decide which narrative they prefer, or if, perhaps, there are truths in both perspectives. Touchy matters, to be sure … but all in good fun when the professor Cosplays Bond.

As part of the final exam, students have to answer questions about the new Bond film, "Spectre." This will be fun for them, since they will have seen film clips of every James Bond actor prior to Craig in my course. It will be a totally active viewing of the film, versus a passive viewing for them.

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