Rutgers University Offers Class On Beyonce

Niki Cruz - Author

Jan. 29 2014, Updated 6:33 p.m. ET

Beyonce is arguably one of the biggest pop icons in the industry, and now she’s being recognized as a subject of study by Rutgers University. The course which will be open to study at the New Jersey school will be called “Politicizing Beyonce.” Beyonce’s music and career choices will be used to explore how her trajectory affected American race, gender, and sexual politics.

Kevin Allred, who will be teaching the class, said that the Beyonce course won’t be an excuse to discuss the R&B’s frivolous moves, but instead it will analyze where her career fits in modern politics. “This isn’t a course about Beyoncé’s political engagement or how many times she performed during President Obama’s inauguration weekend.”

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The teacher spoke to Rutgers Today to elaborate more on what the Beyonce class will entail.

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“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.”

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Allred, who is a PhD student has given Beyonce credit for having a huge presence in American culture, having said:

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“She certainly pushes boundaries. While other artists are simply releasing music, she’s creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona. 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.”

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Specifically, the course work is expected to cover issues such as commercial image and “whether her often half-naked body is empowered or stereotypical.”

What might come up in discussion is Beyonce’s recent Grammys performance of “Drunk in Love” with her husband Jay Z. While the provocative performance made fans go wild, it also acted as a jumping point for critics to voice their worries of Beyonce selling out or using her body to engage viewers.

Rutgers isn’t the only university to offer a pop culture class as a form of educating students about socio-politics. Georgetown University is offering up a course called “The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Theodicy of Jay-Z.” Late last year we also discovered that SUNY Buffalo is holding a class on the show Breaking Bad. The latter class is said to uncover the human and social complexity.

As for the Beyonce course we’re certain that the Rutgers teacher will earn some major kudos from students.


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