EVANSTON – In a move to appeal to an increasingly Internet-centric youth, Northwestern University will be offering a major in Meme Studies, Assistant Dean for Curriculum Joan Linsenmeier announced yesterday. Northwestern will become the first major university to offer a degree in the up-and-coming science of Internet memes.
This announcement comes in response to years of student petitions for the university to offer a full major in studying Internet memes – which, for those uninitiated in Internet culture, is defined by Wikipedia as being “a concept that spreads swiftly via the Internet.”
“I can’t tell you how many students have come up to me and asked, ‘Assistant Dean Linsenmeier, why you no have Internet Memeology major?’” Linsenmeier said to reporters. “Well, I’m here to say that, Northwestern students, you can has a degree in Meme Studies.”
Yale University’s philosophy department offers a course titled “Philosoraptor and Society,” and the University of Chicago recently drew headlines when they paid rapper Xzibit “upwards of $50,000” to come to campus and lecture about recursion. However, this step by Northwestern is being lauded as a groundbreaking move in a still-developing academic field, which aims to study “the ways that Internet memes reflect and influence society as a whole.”
“We live in a meme-based world, there’s no denying that,” said Northwestern sociology professor Grant Richards. “While it might not be considered standard academic material, I believe that this in a important move for Northwestern. It shows we’re embracing the changing culture and not remaining stagnant.”
Linsenmeier revealed several of the courses offered by the new Department of Internet Memeology, which included “Introduction to Redditology,” “History of the Internet: IRC, /b/, and Beyond,” and a 300-level course in “The Sociology of Rage Comics.”
The newly created program will partner up with Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in offering a series of courses about the current social media market.
“At Northwestern, our goal is to offer an education that gives our students a chance to impact the world in a very real way. The Department of Internet Memeology and Medill will be giving our students the tools to do just this,” Linsenmeier said. “Students majoring in Internet Memeology won’t just be ‘derping’ around.”
Reaction among the students has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I was like, me gusta,” said junior Alex Goodwin, who is enrolled in the Weinberg College of Arts and Science. “My parents have been paying $60,000 a year for me to browse the Internet, so it’s only fair to them that I at least get something out of it.”
Goodwin added, “Good Guy Northwestern: notices you’re browsing Reddit during lectures, gives you a degree for it.”