To Bey or Not to Bey That is the Question: Politicizing Beyonce

beyonce1Multimillionaire and megastar Beyoncé has become the subject of academic study. If you ever doubted her influence, now might be the time to cross over to the Bey side. Rutgers University created a course called Politicizing Beyoncé in their Women’s and Gender Studies department, dedicated to dissecting Beyoncé’s many controversies. The syllabus includes Beyoncé’s music videos and a close look at her lyrics. Where do we sign up?

The class examines Beyoncé’s ambiguities, including her tendency to hide behind alter egos like Sasha Fierce, questions of whether or not you could call her a feminist and the implications of her recent hyper-sexualized persona. The course asks, isn’t it weird that a woman so incredibly famous isn’t taken seriously as a political figure? And can Beyoncé’s music be seen as a blueprint for progressive social change?

This pop culture class hopes to “shift students away from simply being consumers of media, [and to think] more critically about what they’re engaging in on a regular basis,” Kevin Allred, doctoral student and teacher of “Politicizing Beyoncé” explains. The ideology behind some of history’s most powerful and idolized musicians is a long-time subject of interest. Much so that multiple “post-secondary schools [around] the U.S. and England already offer classes studying everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Seinfeld,” CTV Vancouver reported.

Celebrities like Beyoncé now have the power to shift the atmosphere of a culture in unprecedented ways, which makes them political figures by default. Even if the celebrity remains completely unaware of it. It’s no wonder that the academic world is taking an interest. Come January 2015, the University of Victoria will also be offering a similarly structured course as the one offered at Rutgers titled, “Beyoncé.” For anyone more interested in Beyoncé’s other half, you can sign up for Georgetown University’s class titled, The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Theodicy of Jay-Z.

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