Beyoncé Studies: University Offers Students A ‘Beyoncé Course’

Beyoncé has made herself quite the empire in the music industry, alongside her rap-superstar husband Jay Z. Now, the iconic diva has become an inspiration to academia and is being studied at The University of Waterloo — and not just in passing, either. The University now offers an entire course devoted to studying Beyoncé’s art and attitude, as well as her influence on pop culture.

The Toronto Sun relays that the Canadian university will begin to offer the course this fall and will comprise of an “entire course on the mega superstar, analyzing videos from her fifth and most recent album, simply titled ‘Beyoncé.’ ”

The course, titled “Gender and Performance,” is to be taught by drama professor Nalia Keleta-Mae, and was based on this album specifically because “it’s the first time Bey explicitly aligns herself with feminism.” One specific example provided by Keleta-Mae is within Beyoncé’s track, “Flawless.” Within this song, lyrics note an importance for both boys and girls to be taught to “believe in social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

Beyonce has inspired a new view of feminism; image via Cosmopolitan
Beyonce has inspired a new view of feminism; image via Cosmopolitan

Nalia Keleta-Mae continued in describing Beyoncé’s importance, and why such a course is so relevant today.

“The fact that Beyonce… is making feminism mainstream… is worth studying… Just as we would study T.S. Eliot or Shakespeare, Beyoncé’s impact on her field and modern culture is undeniable. It’s about being relevant. And it’s about being connected.”

In a time where the face of feminism is changing from an often-criticized and rigid term to one where pop icons and notable actresses, such as Beyoncé and Emma Watson, are wearing the feminist badge with pride, such a course seems fitting and welcome. CBC News relays Nalia’s intentions and the direction the course will take for students who sign up.

“This is not an ode to Beyoncé, where we sit back and watch her videos and think about fully how amazing she is. What we have to think about is her influence and her impact, and what is the messaging that she is articulating, not only through words, but also through images.”

This undergraduate course does not require a prerequisite and therefore allows any student to sign up. It will be offered by Waterloo University’s drama and speech communication department. As noted by CBC based on Nalia’s words, “students shouldn’t expect the course to be a hit parade or that the performer won’t come under critical scrutiny.”

Watch Beyoncé in her official video for her hit, “Flawless.”

[Feature image via Spin]

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