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#NotSemiticPhilology151 Reports Overwhelming Success

The course began to provoke controversy several years ago when it moved from a seminar room to a marginally larger seminar room.

CAMBRIDGE, MA—In what its organizers have declared “a breakthrough moment,” the grassroots movement #NotSemiticPhilology151 is taking credit for the minuscule number of students registering for this fall’s session of Introduction to Northwest Semitic Epigraphy.

Featuring a poster campaign touting statistics like “72% of students who take #NotSemiticPhilology151 is almost 72% of the student body,” as well as a Tumblr page containing the testimonies of some of the many Harvard students from all walks of life who have never taken the class, #NotSemiticPhilology151 is believed to have touched a nerve on campus, allowing students without a solid grounding in Classical Hebrew or any interest whatsoever in the techniques of Bronze Age Levantine paleography to feel heard.

“I think this movement really understands where people on campus are coming from,” said Damian Zhao ’17, an MCB concentrator whose gut-wrenching statement on Tumblr read, “I’m not interested in reading rock carvings. Even if they’re 3,000 years old. Even if they’re in Phoenician.”

“It’s just great for students in the hard sciences to feel heard, to know that there’s someone else out there who’s not interested in learning the finer points of dead languages’ grammar or in cross-registering at the Divinity School,” Zhao continued.

However, the movement’s organizers admit that their work is not done, as other notoriously “cultish” classes like Mongolian 120A and Folklore and Mythology 90S have continued to report record enrollments.

Image source: Shimer College/Wikimedia
© 2015