The UC San Diego History Department unveiled a new lecture series on the history and celebration of Thanksgiving available starting this Winter quarter. The new lecture series will be a year-long set of courses labeled HILD 15 which includes diverse classes like The First Thanksgiving (HILD 15A), Cooking Thanksgiving Meals (HILD 15B), and Avoiding That Weird Relative (HILD 15C).
The history department hopes that these courses will help bring Thanksgiving back into the public eye and possibly encourage students and their families to celebrate it. When asked about what led to the creation of these courses, an associate professor of the history department, Christine Columbo, Ph.D. replied, “Due to the increase of Christmas festivities after Halloween, especially in these past few weeks, Thanksgiving has been largely forgotten by the general population.”
While the history of Thanksgiving is already required by the California Curriculum for elementary school students, many teachers instead opt to show movies about different “non-modern” time periods, like Timur Bekmambetov’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Because of subpar teaching and other better holidays, many students enter the school not aware of the existence of Thanksgiving which the UC San Diego History Department hopes to rectify with their new HILD 15 series – and slightly less subpar teaching.
When asked about whether or not he would take these courses to fulfill his history requirements, Muir college sophomore Alan David replied, “If they’re easier than the other humanities requirements, then yeah, sure.”
Another student questioned the significance of Thanksgiving, asking, “So it’s just a meal on Thursday night? There aren’t any costumes or candies or presents or anything?”
Many students also expressed their confusion, both about the courses and the holiday. One student, Stephen Lee, prefers Halloween or Christmas over Thanksgiving, claiming, “You get free stuff, like candy during Halloween and presents during Christmas, you know? Thanksgiving is kinda just a meal, but the long weekend is nice.
“A nice honey-glazed Christmas ham is objectively better than a dry turkey,” Lee continued. “And why would I care about a holiday without free stuff when I got a bag full of candy last month and I’ll get a bunch of presents next month? Thanksgiving was probably just invented because someone felt bad for November.”
Columbo dedicated her career to Thanksgiving research which she hopes to be able to share with the new class. When pressed for details about the specifics of her research, she confessed, “I’ve just been using my grant money to buy turkeys and pumpkin pie. I don’t actually know what I’m going to do with them.”
Columbo did give a basic overview of the holiday she summarized as “Christmas with less presents and decorations, but more undertones of imperialism and exploitation.”
Thanksgiving reportedly occurs annually, somewhere halfway between Halloween and Christmas. Many may know it as the meal ritualistically eaten by Americans before lining up for Black Friday where Americans celebrate capitalism and consumption by fighting each other in crowded department stores for the opportunity to hand over their money to large corporations.
At press time, there were still 33 of 33 available seats in all five HILD 15A sections, except for the 11 a.m. section which boasts a meager 32 available seats.