Studying Beyonce… in Higher Ed?

Lately, Beyonce has been in the news a lot more than usual. Recently, without any warning(or PR), she released a self-titled  album to the public. She was also, debatably, the most talked about performance at the 2014 Grammy’s a few weeks ago. However, the most interesting news I (Pooja) have recently read about Beyonce has to do with the world of academia.

Rutgers University now offers a course called “Politicizing Beyonce,” in which her musical career is used as a lens to investigate“race, gender, and sexual politics.”  The instructor of the course, a Ph.D. student, says “he’s seeking to help students think more critically about media consumption.”

I am intrigued by this course, yet not sure what to make of it. Is this a relevant and contextualized way of studying issues of race and gender or is this normalizing our (society’s) idolization of celebrities by creating a place for it in higher education?

What do you think?

Read more about this course:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/rutgers-beyonce-course_n_4697541.html

http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/01/27/rutgers-beyonce-course-5-potential-lessons-on-the-syllabus/

Source: www.policymic.com
Source: http://www.policymic.com
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One thought on “Studying Beyonce… in Higher Ed?

  1. Such an interesting topic Pooja. As a (teacher) educator I would very likely take the course for a number of reasons… 1) Beyonce speaks to our newer generations — ages 12 – 30 are “all over” Beyonce and the culture and cultural messages she offers 2) If our students are speaking “the language of Beyonce” then it is important that we as educators also understand it and more importantly 3) are able to critique what she offers. I believe an entire course could be spent unraveling the media literacy of Beyonce!
    By way of thinking critically about the implications of her work perhaps we as educators are in a better position to foster critical thinking in our students… what better more culturally relevant way to approach investigating race, gender and sexual politics than through a pop culture icon. Interestingly, I found this post floating around social media:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ellie-slee/beyonce-feminist-drunk-in-love-lyrics_b_4676557.html

    I was stunned… baffled… and interested to learn more after reading this media article. It would be interesting to deconstruct the media workings of Beyonce and the social affect her works has on our generations thinking about race, class, gender in an environment that provides critical frames and analyses. I find this to be a fascinating forum for critical literacy development.
    Thanks for sharing!

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