In the spring of 2023, the University of Texas will offer its students a course that will focus on British singer Harry Styles.
There are the stars who studied at university, like Natalie Portman or Emma Watson, and then there are those who are studied at university. Among literature courses or other classic college subjects, their favorite personalities slip into the class schedule of students. Professors in very serious fields, such as law or history, have decided to rely on current icons to transmit knowledge. From sociology with Lady Gaga to American history with Jay-Z, a look back at these celebrities studied in college.
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The University of Texas announced last week the opening of a brand new course, starting in the spring of 2023. Titled "Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet and European Pop Culture", the series of lectures will explore the career of the British singer, former member of boy band One Direction. It will be moderated by Dr. Louie Dean Valencia, lecturer in digital history. “I've always wanted to teach a history lesson that is fun and covers a period that the students are going through. By teaching the art, the consumer society and the notion of fandom around Harry Styles, we will be able to raise real contemporary questions,” he told NBC.
The students will therefore work on the solo albums of the superstar but also all those of One Direction and the films in which he played. They will have to present a series of podcasts as their final project.
After a runaway fan on Twitter, the teacher announced that he will not speak or little of the famous rumor “Larry Stylinson”. Very popular among the "Harries" (the nickname of the singer's fans), she assumes that Harry Styles would be in a relationship for a long time with Louis Tomlinson, also a former member of the boy band.
In 2022, Taylor Swift received an honorary doctorate of art from New York University (NYU). At the same time, she could have taken a course on her own life. New York University's Clive Davis Institute has launched a series of courses on the singer. In its description relayed by Variety, the cycle proposes “to deconstruct both the attractions and the aversions towards the singer, through attentive listening to her music and her public speeches”.
Hosted by Rolling Stones editor Brittany Spanos, the course analyzes the star's skills as an entrepreneur and enduring artist, as well as the figure she embodies in the music industry.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z
The famous star couple has obviously not been forgotten by universities. In 2017, the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) made Queen B a subject of study in its own right. It is musicology professor Erik Steinskog, in love with the symbol that the singer embodies, who chose to open this course. He explained to the Huffington Post: “Beyoncé makes it possible to focus on African-American feminism which she distills in all her albums. We will dissect her performances, her videos and others, through an analytical reading, in order to lead our students to the shores of Afro-feminism, a subject little studied in Denmark. This is not the first time that the American icon has invaded the benches of the university. In 2014, an American university and an American university also opened courses on Beyoncé.
Her husband, rapper Jay-Z, never sat on the benches of a university but that did not prevent him from entering it. In 2011, Georgetown University created a class devoted to the rapper, titled "The Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z." The course, followed by a few hundred students, required the reading of Decoded, the autobiography of the star.
The superstar abandons the glittery world of Hannah Montana and infiltrates the amphitheatres. In 2014, New York State's Skidmore University is opening a course titled "The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Identity, Class, Gender, and Media" which will use "Miley's example as a mirror to explore questions sociology around identity, the world of entertainment, media and celebrity". Professor Carolyn Chernoff, who facilitates the sessions, explained to ABC: “Miley's case is very interesting because it complicates representations of the female body in pop culture. »
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In 2010, the University of South Carolina proposed a cycle whose "main objective is to unravel certain sociologically relevant dimensions of Lady Gaga's career", as indicated by the New York Times. The aim is to explore the concept of celebrity: how does one become famous and what that means in today's society.
Since 2019, students at Rutgers University in New Jersey have been able to deepen their analysis of Bruce Springsteen's lyrics. American History teacher Louis Masur asks his students to write about a song that particularly upset them. He told Rutgers News, “The song Born to run changed my life. For me, a song reflects a desire to get out there, to break down boundaries, to escape and to seek eternal love. »
The King of Pop was of course also at the heart of a university course, set up by an entertainment lawyer. The description from the University of Atlanta explains that it is a question of exploring “the way in which the singer negotiated his tours, his albums and his merchandising, but also how he revolutionized the legal practices of the world of entertainment ( copyrights, trademarks, licenses, etc.).
Author: Michael Zippo