The course will examine the films and writing that influenced Bourdain's own work.

By Mike Pomranz
October 01, 2018
NBC / Getty Images

Part of what made Anthony Bourdain’s passing so upsetting was that, despite being 61 years old, in many ways, the chef and TV personality was still in his prime: Parts Unknown was rolling; he was involved in plenty of other projects from films to comic books; and he was always ready to chime in with his two-cents on almost any topic. For those he inspired, there seemed to be plenty left to learn. And a professor at Nicholls State University agrees: He’ll be teaching a class based on Bourdain’s work this coming spring.

For the Spring 2019 semester, Todd Kennedy—the head of the Thibodaux, Louisiana-based university’s film department—has announced “English 475: Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers.” In a description Kennedy posted to Twitter last month, the professor writes, “This course will pair Bourdain’s work with the writings and films that influenced him, connecting ways of understanding the world around us through the lens of a transformative writer and public figure.” The class will reportedly be available for credit for film studies and some English majors or can also be taken as an elective by other students.

“I've always enjoyed his shows. I wasn't obsessed per se, but after he died it affected me more than I thought it would,” Kennedy told USA Today in a recent interview. “I thought about how original he was putting together literature, film, travel and food. In my profession, we look to see how these things come together in culture. I thought it would be a good idea for a class.” Kennedy also told the paper the idea received almost immediate approval after he pitched it to the department chair.

On Twitter, Kennedy suggested that even with months left to prepare, getting together a Bourdain-based class wouldn’t be easy. “For this class to work, its gonna create more work for me than any single class ever has,” he wrote about the course which will include books like Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall and movies like Apocalypse Now.  “So while I'm excited, I'm leery. But I'm still glad I'm doing it.”

Though the professor, who’s been at Nicholls State for six years, also wrote that “I doubt they ever let me do this again,” he also apparently told USA Today that at some point down the road a less comprehensive version of the class would be available online as a half-semester option.

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