Today BlackVoices reported that a Rutgers University will offer a course on Beyonce. Just a few months after hubby, Jay-Z became the subject of a course at Georgetown University, taught by Michael Eric Dyson, now she’s to be the center of attention for an entire semester, as if college girls can get enough of her to begin with. The course, “Policitizing Beyonce” will example Bey’s videos and lyrics and compare them to greats, such a Sojourner Truth and Alice Walker.
My initial thought was, “Seriously, what are they going to talk about exactly? It’s Beyonce.” (Stans, excuse my inner hater, but see this post I wrote last year.) Perhaps, she can be mentioned in the company of these iconic women though. I mean, she did say, “I can do for you what Martin did for the people.” Give us free then, Bey!
I kid, I kid.
The story reports that Rutgers lecturer Kevin Allred’s course will not be a bird course on Bey, but a way to help students think more deeply. He says, “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 added, “When students don’t respond to theory or dense readings, it’s often easier to see things play out in the world around them.”
Great point there. In two of my favorite undergraduate classes, Ancient Egyptian History and Religion and Hip Hop, my instructors used real examples like Tupac and Biggie to illustrate some points, even giving us projects that centered around hip hop instrumental tracks. We loved it! They didn’t make the entire course about those figures though because there were bigger fish to fry on the syllabus.
More and more, the Bedazzled One is becoming synonymous with girl power and feminism, rather than iceskater outfits and nude dancer’s tights. Maybe she is changing the world.
What made me rethink my position? A few months ago, I read an article on imagining her song titles as women and gender theses for undergraduates. Here are a few:
Cater 2 U: Female Subservience and the Reinforcement of Hegemonic Gendered Power Structures
Baby Boy: The Sociocultural Effects of Prolonged Male Adolescence
Run the World (Girls): Historical Perspectives on Global Female Leadership
Clearly, they were reaching with some of these, but if the thesis reads well and provides new evidence or theories, who says it’s not valid? However, I’m not sure that a course is necessary, and here are my personal reasons why:
I’m a practical student, not an academic. It only took one semester of studying public relations in graduate school to figure that one out. I broke out into a silent “Kum Baya” every time my quantitative statistics class met, but never wanted to leave my public relations writing class. Considering that, I’d probably be more interested in learning the routine to “Single Ladies” than discussing the socioeconomic effects on single women versus married. I’m straight on all that.
I grew up with Beyonce. Well, not really, but we’re the same age. When I was 22, she was singing about what I was going through as a 22-year-old. Agewise, she is a peer, not some perfect, can-do-wrong being that I look up, unlike some of her diehard stans (whom I assume would enroll in the class. Maybe I’m wrong.) Therefore, she’s simply not that serious to me now. Would I have taken the course in undergrad? Absolutely! I’d figure out a way to fit that “Singles Ladies” routine in there somehow.
The course would piss on my parade. I often half-jokingly say that I’m just “not that deep.” I’m an over-analyzer at best, and yes, I LOVE to think and discuss and throw out my theories on subjects, but Beyonce just ain’t one of ’em. When I hear Bey, I want to shake what my mama gave me, cry a few tears over a breakup or go shopping for a tight freakum dress. I do NOT want to think about gender roles and feminism as I’m blasting “Get Me Bodied” in my iPod. I’d prefer to keep it just as light as she has all this time, and a course on her wouldn’t allow that. Again, I’m straight.
So, call me a cynic or whatever. I’ve spent goo-gobs of money on her concerts, and I have all her albums. I appreciate the woman. Her business sense is unmatched, she’s managed to keep her personal life under wraps and her hair can blow in the wind like no one else’s, BUT, I’d much rather sing along with her than study her.
Nah who mad?