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A Profound Impact

On June 8, 2018, Professor Todd Kennedy was visiting Spain with his wife. They were headed to dinner to try a dish they had seen Anthony Bourdain feature on his hit CNN show “Parts Unknown.”   Walking en route to that meal, Kennedy and his wife heard the tragic news that resonated around the world,  Bourdain had died.

“It shocked me on how much it moved me. Because I’m not normally moved by celebrity deaths,” said Kennedy. “And it shook me for days. Really, almost as if I lost somebody that I knew.”

The impact of Bourdain’s death surprised Kennedy. He considered himself a bit of a Bourdain fan, but he’s by no means a “superfan.”

A Bold Move

So Kennedy, who has a Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature and Film, started to analyze why Bourdain’s death had such a personal impact. And he realized all the brilliant ways Bourdain looked at cultural studies, film studies, and literary studies.

Todd Kennedy Bourdain
Professor Todd Kennedy. Credit: Todd Kennedy Twitter

“We talk about being an inter-disciplinarian and we talk about connecting between different ways of approaching culture,” said Kennedy. “We rarely just take the whole enchilada and approach it in one go. And that’s what Anthony Bourdain did every single week, and he did it quite brilliantly the more I realized.”

So Kennedy, who teaches at Nichols State University in Louisiana, started thinking about ways he could teach a course about Bourdain.  He says it began as a hair-brain idea, but the more he mulled it over, the more complex and meaningful the concept of the course became.

In Episode 73, Kennedy tells us how he pitched the idea to his superiors and ultimately got approval for a three-credit course titled “Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers.”

In Spring of 2019, the course will be available on campus and online. Kennedy says you can enroll in the online course even if you’re not a student at Nichols.

To hear what reading and assignments Kennedy plans to open up his course with, listen to Episode 73 of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.

Other Links in Episode 73

Mark Zuckerberg Is Trying to Transform Education. This Town Fought Back.

MIT has just announced a $1 billion plan to create a new college for AI

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