Rutgers University Offering Class on Beyonce

Michele Amabile Angermiller
The Hollywood Reporter

Now here is a class that is worth signing up for! Beyonce is now the subject of a course at Rutgers University.

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Entitled "Politicizing Beyonce," the course focuses on the entertainer's career to "explore American race, gender and sexual politics." The class is taught Kevin Allred, a PhD student who lectures for the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the New Brunswick, New Jersey college.

"This isn't a course about Beyonce's political engagement or how many times she performed during President [Barack] Obama's inauguration weekend," he said of the singer in an interview with Rutgers Today.

The course compares and contrasts the 32-year old vocalist's lyrics to the Black Feminist movement, including the writings of Alice Walker and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, while exploring the extent of Beyonce's control over her own aesthetic and image.

"While other artists are simply releasing music, she's creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona," he said, adding that the "Drunk in Love" performer often challenges boundaries.

"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," added Allred, who is currently writing his dissertation on how black female performers manipulate their vocal qualities, including tone, timbre, and pitch.

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Scholastically, Beyonce is in good company. Her husband Jay-Z is the subject of course at Georgetown University, and Bruce Springsteen’s works are examined at a theology course, also at Rutgers.

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile