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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Politicizing Beyonce" and Four Other College Courses About Musicians We'd Love to Take

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Anyone who's ever done a degree in the humanities will tell you that the opportunity for studying music in college is plentiful. Generally speaking, it'll be a "History of Pop Music" type deal, or business students might get the opportunity to study the economics of the music industry occasionally. But once in a while, some magnificent professor takes what is clearly an overblown personal interest in an artist and turns all of that passion and intrigue into their actual job. Here are the music courses we'd most like to study if we were in college right now.

"Politicizing Beyonce," Rutgers University


If you've ever fancied spending your days juxtaposing Beyonce's music videos with black feminist theory, this new course from Rutgers University's Department of Women's and Gender Studies will be right up your alley. The class will be taught by a Doctoral student named Kevin Allred. If we enrolled in this course, we'd be most disappointed in anything that didn't involve Allred conducting lectures in Beyonce's "Single Ladies" outfit and waving the metal glove every time an important point was made. (But we've probably just been watching too much of the Dean in Community.)

"Michael Jackson: The Business of Music," Clark-Atlanta University


If we wanted to acquire some business tips, Michael Jackson isn't the first person we'd go to to get them. Because despite being one of the most popular and beloved pop stars in the world, Jackson did manage to go bankrupt. Let's not forget that even his iconic Neverland Ranch was foreclosed upon in 2007 thanks to the fact that he owed $23 million on a loan against the property and consistently failed to pay it back. But, by all means, if you want to dissect Michael Jackson's approach to business and marketing, enroll in this course by entertainment lawyer James Walker. It may not be terribly useful, but it's bound to be fascinating.

"Sociology of Hip-Hop: the Theodicy of Jay Z," Georgetown University


More than two years before his wife got a course in her honor at Rutgers, Georgetown students were enrolling in a course about Jay Z. Professor Michael Eric Dyson told Forbes magazine in late 2011: "Jay Z is located within the central motif of American history. I think that thematic preoccupation of Jay Z's is central to what it means to be an American, which is why he's such a successful person and valorized in many ways, having meetings with Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, trying to figure out how to become the first billionaire in hip-hop." Sign us up, Georgetown!

"Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame," University of South Carolina


Frankly, we feel like merely doing one single course on Lady Gaga is a tad negligent. This woman can be analyzed from so many angles, we think she deserves an entire degree. Sure, having a B.A. in Lady Gaga Studies might limit your job options after graduation, but how much fun would it be to study this woman? The opportunities are endless: The History of Stefani Germanotta; Symbolic Fashions and Lady Gaga: an Exploration; LGBT Culture and Lady Gaga; Cracking the Egg: Lady Gaga's Impact on Popular Culture; Lady Gaga as Cinderella; Modern Day Fantasy as Reality. Is there a University out there that will hire us to teach this thing? Because the syllabus is already clear.

"Bruce Springsteen's Theology," Rutgers University


Y'know how Springsteen fans treat seeing him live as an almost religious experience? Well, Rutgers' class on The Boss provided some back-up info that could help explain why. The University's description of the seminar was as follows: "We will focus on Springsteen's reinterpretation of biblical motifs, the possibility of redemption by earthly means (women, cars, music), and his interweaving of secular and sacred elements. Springsteen's work will also be situated within the broader poetic tradition that casts the writer as a religious figure whose message does not effect transcendent salvation, but rather, transforms earthly reality." Yeah. What they just said.

-- @Raemondjjjj

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