Students Study The 'Force' of 'Star Wars'
Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 [12:21 PM]
Students in "The Philosophy and Politics of Star
Wars" screen Star Wars: A New Hope
in the Thomas D. Clark Reading Room.
Editor's Note: In celebration of
Star Wars Day -- which is celebrated on May 4 around the world --
Lindsey Wilson College is spotlighting a class that studied the
sci-fi classic this semester.
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- In
1977, Star Wars: A New Hope was released in U.S. movie
theaters. Within a few years, it was embedded as a staple of
Today, Star Wars
has exploded into a multi-billion dollar empire that includes six
feature ﬁlms, an animated television series, hundreds of toys, and
scores of novels and comics.
Add to philosophy and political
science class to the list.
This spring semester, Lindsey Wilson
College Assistant Professor of Political Science Stefan Brooks taught "The Philosophy and
Politics of Star Wars" class to 25 students.
"I have always been a fan of Star
Wars. As I grew older and became educated, I discovered
Star Wars was rich in philosophy, politics and
religion, and I realized it could be used to explore a range of
complex issues," Brooks said. "Star Wars deals with issues
that philosophy, politics and religion have been studying for
years. Such as the ideas of liberty, justice, love, hate, betrayal,
friendship and what constitutes as happiness."
During the class, students watched all
six of George Lucasʼ ﬁlms, and they examined the political decline
of the ﬁctional Republic and rise of the Empire while studying the
stoic aspects of a Jediʼs life.
Before diving into Lucasʼ ﬁlm series,
students studied the philosophy of Epictetus and Plato, whose
teachings helped students better understand the Jedi philosophy of
"The class isn't necessarily about the
movies," said sophomore Daniel Pulliam of Crestwood, Ky. "The
Star Wars movies are used as a building block to better
understand ancient philosophy more than anything else."
Students also analyzed the
mythological aspects in Lucasʼ Star Wars story, explaining
how they relate to myths from around the world.
A large part of the class involved
discussions about the ﬁlms' deeper meanings.
"My favorite part of the class has
been the discussions with the students," Brooks said. "I have found
them to be very thought-provoking.
Some of the class' students were
familiar with the Star Wars saga, although some did not
know a lot about the film franchise.
"I had never seen the ﬁlms before, and
I don't think that I could have gotten that much information about
the ﬁlms without the class," said senior Josh Nagode of Sheboygan,
Students who entered the class
familiar with the story also pulled the same information out of the
"It's made me appreciate the ﬁlms
more. There are things to learn from the ﬁlms that you don't
realize until someone points it out to you," said junior Sara
Keller of Greenville, Ind.
Through word of mouth, the Star Wars
class has become one of the more popular on campus, and students
have asked about when it will be offered again.
Reﬂecting on the semester, Brooks'
reply was: "May the Force be with you."
"I have always been a fan of Star Wars. As I grew
older and became educated, I
discovered Star Wars was rich in philosophy,
politics and religion, and I realized it could
be used to explore a range of complex issues," says
Assistant Professor of Political
Science Stefan Brooks.