Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Classes to take when you reevaluate being a pre-med

William Liu / Thresher

By Thomas Pickell     1/9/24 11:25pm

As the spring semester gets up-and-running, many of us will reckon with the consequences of registering for 18 hours of organic chemistry, discrete mathematics or some unholy combination of tedious and unmanageable STEM. While passionate about your major, it can certainly be overwhelming to have such a dense serving, and many people will be looking for a taste breaker. 

Rather than subject yourself to an onslaught of alkene synthesis and group coding assignments, why not explore a more open-ended approach through the school of liberal arts? These classes boast dedicated professors, manageable workload and an opportunity to diversify and balance your rigorous education.


Professor: Timothy Morton

Mon/Wed/Fri  10-10:50 a.m.

If differential equations aren’t worth your sanity, but you’re still interested in the empirical nature of STEM, look no further than Timothy Morton’s “What is a Fact?” This class explores the nature of how information is conveyed and understood and how these concepts apply to the material world. The class tackles a wide range of topics, from examination of totalitarian thought, to conspiracies claiming that birds don’t exist (is anyone really sure?). Course material is wide-ranging in both medium and content, and promises an epistemological base from which one can navigate the world, inoculated from misinformation.


Professor: Carl Caldwell

Mon/Wed/Fri 9-9:50 a.m.

A solid understanding of history is pivotal to navigating the world we find ourselves in, and there is no cultural theater more impactful and well documented than that of 18th-20th century Europe. The revolutionary energy that permeated the continent had an unfathomable impact on modern culture and society and understanding how these dynamics played out is pivotal in understanding the current state of the world. Through gripping historical narratives and Carl Caldwell’s enrapturing lectures, this class is sure to give you the tools to understand the world as it was, such that you can navigate the world as it is.


Professor: Casey Williams

Tu/Th 2:30-3:45 p.m.

The world we live in can often feel disorienting and bleak. While challenges to humanity are difficult to comprehend and manage, many are able to do so through the lens of science fiction. Since its only limit is what our minds can conjure, science fiction manages to grasp some of the most essential components of the human condition, even if the literal material couldn’t be further from it. This class is sure to provide a vivid idea of how culture copes with events that are seemingly larger than naturally possible.


Professor: Justin Cronin

Monday 2-4:50 p.m.

If you’re already familiar with science fiction, consider delving into one of the larger facets of the genre: the apocalypse. Through film, literature, and captivating seminars, Justin Cronin offers a cohesive platform off of which students can understand the underpinnings of this timeless genre. The course also tasks students to write their own apocalyptic prose, allowing students to provide their own inputs under the guidance of a New York Times bestselling author.


Professor: Ofra Amihay

Mon/Wed/Fri 9-9:50 a.m.

If traditional novels are a bit dense for your tastes, consider a more visually stimulating take on literature through Transcultural Comics. This class offers a peek into the dynamic interactions of culture through the accessible medium of graphic novels. Like previous entries, Ofra Amihay makes a point of having authors of a diverse range of national and periodic background, such that the course material is timeless, gripping, and is sure to offer anyone who takes it a vivid understanding of the cultures conveyed. 

More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 4/21/24 11:51pm
Jeremy Zucker is no longer a ‘sad-boy troubadour’

Jeremy Zucker’s arms, like most of his body, host a scrapbook of tattoos — a faded clementine peel, his childhood pets (Rusty and Susie), a Pinterest doodle of Sonic the Hedgehog with a bouquet of flowers. His middle finger is etched with a single tooth, hanging off a thin branch wrapping around the rest of his hand.

A&E 4/17/24 12:00am
Super Smash Bros. ultimate tournament sees smashing success

The Super Smash Bros. Club held their second annual ultimate tournament Friday, April 12. Club president Jashun Paluru said all Smash players were welcome, regardless of ability, experience or involvement in the club. The event was held in collaboration with Owls After Dark, a late-night activity series headed by the Rice Student Center, at the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall.

A&E 4/16/24 11:07pm
Tribute band ‘Suede Hedgehog’ talks inspirations, legacies

Last Thursday, the halls of the RMC were graced with smooth melodies and funky grooves courtesy of “Suede Hedgehog,” Rice’s very own tribute band to “Silk Sonic,” a musical duo made up of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. Although the tiny desk concert only lasted about 20 minutes the atmosphere was electric, and Coffeehouse — their venue — was packed with listeners.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.