Finally, a course on science fiction that makes itself relevant to the real world.

Dave Huber at The College Fix interviews Professor John Putnam from San Diego State University:

Learning history and culture via Star Trek

Meet Professor John Putman — he teaches “Star Trek, Culture, and History” at San Diego State University. As a life-long science fiction fan (including, natch, Star Trek), I was highly intrigued by the course’s content and syllabus.

Professor Putman graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions regarding the course … and Trek in general.

1. It is my understanding that SDSU has no US History course requirement for graduation. How do you feel about that? Should colleges have such a course mandate, or are courses like “Star Trek, Culture, and History” sufficient?

While SDSU does not have a specific requirement for US history, it does have an American Institutions requirement in which history is one, if not the, most popular choices to fulfill it. Usually a little more than 1000 students take either our Early American or Modern American survey history course each semester. In addition, all students are required to take a World or Western Civ history course as part of the General Ed requirements.

Perhaps it’s my bias but I do believe students should be required to take an US history lower-division course so that they are better informed citizens. The Star Trek course would not be sufficient since it only focused on post-WWII America. Moreover, most of the students who do take it are history majors.