On paper, it might seem like there isn’t much common ground between sneaker culture and a college English curriculum, but a professor at Charlotte, N.C.’s Johnson C. Smith University is connecting the dots and capturing student’s attention with his English 296 class.
The course is taught by Jemayne King, a professor, author, and self-professed sneakerhead who says he could go a few years without wearing the same pair twice. King penned the book Sole Food: Digestible Sneaker Culture back in 2008, and now he’s using his findings to teach students lessons that reach far beyond English. The course also touches on elements of sociology, economics, and history, all through the lens of sneaker culture.
According to King, it’s the first English class in the history of higher education and HBCU schools that uses sneaker culture as a theme. He says he teaches the class the same way he would any other literature or writing course, with the biggest difference being that this class examines the past and present of sneakers.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t actually the first college course about sneakers—in 2008, two Carnegie Mellon alumni started a course known as Sneakerology 101—but it is the first English class to use sneaker culture as a guideline.
You can hear King talk about the class in more detail above and find more information on the course at Charlotte Agenda.