University Offers Course On Beyoncé
Rutgers University is now offering "Politicizing Beyoncé" as a course within its Department of Women's and Gender Studies.
But don't think this just going to be a deep analysis into the literary and cultural allusions within "Drunk In Love" or her "Single Ladies" video.
“This isn’t a course about Beyoncé’s political engagement or how many times she performed during President Obama’s inauguration weekend,” he says. Rather, the performer’s music and career are used as lenses to explore American race, gender, and sexual politics. Allred pairs Beyoncé’s music videos and lyrics with readings from the Black feminist canon, including the writings of bell hooks, Alice Walker, and even abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
Course topics include the extent of Beyoncé’s control over her own aesthetic, whether her often half-naked body is empowered or stereotypical, and her more racy performances as her alter ego, “Sasha Fierce.” In-class discussions often lead to other vocalists, including Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Lady Gaga, and contemporary musicians who embrace the soul singing tradition like Adele and the late Amy Winehouse.
So is this actually useful?
Allred thinks so, explaining:
“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.”
Anyone planning a university transfer?? Heading back to school? Beyoncé is in session!