Why am I here?: Class syllabus

January 17, 2020

Welcome, students, to your first day of class. I am thrilled to be teaching “Those Sexy Victorians” to you this semester, as I am sure you are excited to take off all the layers of this course. Before we read the syllabus, I will quickly introduce myself. My name is Harold Sackrider but you can call me Professor Harry. I studied at the University of Cambridge, England and graduated with a degree in history with a specialization in fashion over time. However, my favorite time period is the Victorian era and I am very excited to be teaching this course to you all. So, let’s jump into the syllabus. 

English 125b / Spring 2020
Those Sexy Victorians
Professor H. Sackrider

Office Hours:

My office hours, as required by the university, are on Tuesday mornings from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Let’s face it, you never go to office hours anyway, and when you do it won’t even be in the time frame I have set up. Instead, you’ll email me and tell me you are coming to my office at noon the next day. What am I supposed to do? Say no? I know you will be crying as you write that email so I can’t say no. So, let’s make this easy for both of us and make office hours unimportant from the beginning because secondarily, if you need office hours for this class I don’t think anything I say or do could save you. 

Course Assistants:

Course assistants have been assigned to this class. Unfortunately they, like you—the student reading this—have zero idea as to what the point of these classes truly is, so going to them won’t exactly help you so much as it will increase your confusion and leave you just as puzzled as you were before.


This course is based mainly on group discussion. I expect, as your instructor, that you will all be making very assertive and interesting comments on people’s clothes, not just in class but outside of it as well. This is a course designed to help you through life and your participation in class and newfound knowledge should certainly be brought outside of the classroom walls and into real life. If the CAs or myself see you commenting on other clothes outside of class, we will give you bonus points for doing so.


There will be no assigned homework in this class, but begin to familiarize yourself with a sewing machine. It will soon become evident why this skill will be needed. Let’s face it; even if this was a serious course, you wouldn’t be bothered to do the homework anyway. So I am not going to assign any in this class.


I also do not believe in tests, so throughout this course there will be no graded work. Except for one project. You will have a final project that will be worth 100% of your grade, so try not to flub it up. You will be tasked with designing a Victorian era suit or dress. The suit should be 70 inches tall, 32 inches around the waist, and 36 inches for the shoulders. The dresses should be 55 inches tall and have a bust of 40 inches. 

Learning Goals:

The aim of this course is to teach how to criticize people’s apparel from the point of view of a Victorian era upper class noble. Now, with the final project, why do I provide the measurements of myself and my wife? Well, it is up to you throughout the course of this class to determine if it is an absurd obsession I have, or perhaps a fetish my wife and I enjoy exploring.

Well, class, I hope you are as excited as I am to begin this long, puffy, stiff and uncomfortable journey with you!

Editor’s note: This is the fifth part of the series “Why am I Here?”

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