Beyonce Gets Politicized in Rutgers University Course
Following behind her husband Jay-Z, new mom Beyonce has a college course named after herself as well. The course, ‘Politicizing Beyonce,’ is being taught at Rutgers University by Ph.D. student and lecturer Kevin Allred, who believes the R&B queen can be a conduit for social change.
“This isn’t a course about Beyonce’s political engagement or how many times she performed during President Obama’s inauguration weekend,” Allred explains to Rutger’s Focus publication. “Rather, the performer’s music and career are used as lenses to explore American race, gender, and sexual politics.”
The coursework will pair Beyonce’s music videos and lyrics with writings from such distinguished women’s rights activists and authors like Alice Walker, Bell Hooks, Toni Morrison and even abolitionist Sojourner Truth. Among the topics cover in the class include whether Beyonce’s racy performances are empowering or stereotypical, the extent of Beyonce’s control over her own aesthetic and her alter ego, Sasha Fierce. “She certainly pushes boundaries,” says Allred. “While other artists are simply releasing music, she’s creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona.”
However, there are some educators who believe that celebrities and pop stars are not culturally relevant for discussion in academia. Allred disagrees and feels that what he’s offering is a different approach in teaching students about the world they are living in. “It’s important to shift students away from simply being consumers of media toward thinking more critically about what they’re engaging on a regular basis,” he says. “When students don’t respond to theory or dense readings, it’s often easier to see things play out in the world around them.”
Beyonce’s class comes after hip-hop scholar Michael Eric Dyson developed a curriculum based on Jay-Z’s music and career at Georgetown University. With Hov and Bey-Bey being taught on college campuses, this further proves that the hip-hop couple are truly running the world.
What do you think? Should there be a college course on Beyonce? Tell us in the comments below.