In 2007, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s comparative media studies program began offering a course titled “American Pro Wrestling.” The same department also offered a course in 2008 exploring American soap operas.
“It was understood that wrestling is a very significant cultural phenomena,” said David Thorburn, professor of literature and comparative media studies, when asked about MIT’s decision to offer such a course. “The normal reaction for people, when they see in the curriculum things that come from their ordinary lives, like television or wrestling or sports events … is to think the teacher is pandering to the students, or that the class is intellectually dubious. But it would make perfect sense if a film student or an anthropology student decided to take courses in this sort of thing. They would be learning about other aspects of popular culture.”