Insects and People – a class in what bugs you

This is the class I am teaching at the University of Illinois next spring:

I asked May Berenbaum, who created this class years ago, about the main idea. She explained (paraphrase mine):

I want students, 10 years from now, to see a bug on the sidewalk and appreciate it enough not to step on it.

Anyway. It’s a class about bugs for a general audience. If you are a student at U of I, of any major, we’d love to have you.

10 thoughts on “Insects and People – a class in what bugs you”

  1. Indeed they remember it even after 10 years. I told this story many times but given to occasion, I am going to tell it again. It was January 5, 2010. I was at Vancouver International Airport, at the US immigration office, waiting to get my work permit to come to U of I as a post doc. That was when I realized that my offer letter had the wrong start date on it and neither I nor the secretary caught that mistake but the officer at the boarded!
    So I was panicking for obvious reasons and was thinking of calling the folks to get confirmation and then, I found a single letter from May Berenbaum to my potential landlord in CU about my appointment as post doc. with the right dates on it. So I gave it to the officer and said hey this is my boss and as you see the dates are right.
    She looked at it! then looked at me and said: you are going to work with May? that bug lady!!! and while I was puzzled she explained I had a course with her some 10 years ago she is such a character…you are good to go son. be careful it can get cold down there!!!!!!

    and that was how I got my work permit and realized that there is only two degrees of separation between May Berenbaum and every one else in the globe!!!

    so congratulations for getting the chance to teach this course. I can not think of any other person that can do a better job in this course but you…but remember, this is a course that people will remember…for years…

  2. Marianne Alleyne

    Judging by the comments it sounds like this would be a great course to develop into an online course 😉 Have fun teaching it! And I am happy that May will be able to take a breather. (Also, Great story Saber)

  3. Sounds like fun and spring seems the perfect time to introduce insects in a positive light.

    Contract teaching can be fairly exploitative. I hope you get benefits during the semester.

  4. I used to teach a class called Insects and Human Society at Texas A&M University (originally created by Roger Gold). The goal definitely mirrored what Dr. Berenbaum said. My favorite part of the class was getting students to change their minds about roaches and teaching about all of the mythology and the ways that insects have literally shaped human history and culture. Wish I could take yours! Have fun, I bet you’ll be great.

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