Those students at universities offering courses on the Occupy Wall Street movement often face a problem: What do they study after they’ve mastered everything that there is to know about “Occupy”* (*but were afraid–indeed, really afraid–to ask)?

Never fear: just as you might have thought, top-ranked universities have rushed forward with a solution.  The Johns Hopkins University (“the 16th best university in the country”!!) is on the forefront of such studies, apparently, with its upper-level seminar on the Philosophy of Obama.  (See the course description from the Hopkins course catalog, below.)

Just imagine with me (and John Lennon): in this course, you can study not merely the philosophy of Obama, but also the theology of Obama–which is quite wonderful, given that there is no theology department at Hopkins.  And, although the course focuses on Obama’s special blend of Christian realism and “deep pragmatism”, it by no means neglects Obama’s early period, back when he used to appeal to “small miracles” (the millions of $5 internet contributions from China?) and, presumably during the 2008 campaign, favored those “simple ideas” (like “hope and change,” I guess).

Now, the really good news is that, since it costs about $50,000 a year to attend Hopkins, the effective price of this course is only about $7000.   So that’s a real bargain.  Or, since it meets about 2 hours per week for 14 weeks, that works out to about $250 per hour.

Now I’d say that someone who spends money like that is getting an education, too, in how to work in the Obama administration.  It’s a practical course, then, and not merely theoretical.  It both is stimulating, and stimulates.

If you’ve had concerns about why it’s not possible to take a seminar at Hopkins on Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, or Aquinas — never mind Marcel, Scheler, Butler, Reid, or Newman or Wojtyla — now we know that there is a perfectly good reason why.  It’s not possible to offer courses on everyone, after all.

Again, Johns Hopkins is ranked as “the 16th best university in the country.”  So pay no attention to those who say that “Obama and Philosophy” raises a question about the state of undergraduate education at Hopkins and other institutions like it.

Postscript: Harvard Law School is hardly in the vanguard, then, with its course on Obama, offered next Spring.

AS.300.390 (01) Obama and Philosophy [-] Spring 2012 Homewood Campus TTh 10:30AM – 11:45AM H. de Vries Open
Level
Upper Level Undergraduate
Area
H
Credits
3.00
Department
AS Humanities Center, AS Philosophy
Enrollment Limit
50

Description
The course will investigate the theological and philosophical as well as rhetorical and literary backgrounds and guiding principles that have informed Barack Obama’s writings, speeches, and political strategies so far. While paying minute attention to a few pivotal controversial recent debates, both in domestic policy and international relations, our central focus will be on understanding the curious blend of Obama’s version of so-called Christian realism, influenced by Reinhold Niebuhr, among others, and of what we will call his deep pragmatism. Special attention will be paid to his early appeal to “simple ideas” and “small miracles,” each of them yielding the Biblical and sobered injunction of a “hope against hope.” Cross-listed with Philosophy
Textbook Info

Schedule
01-30-2012 to 05-04-2012 | TTh 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM | Homewood Campus, Gilman 132