When most people think of academics and literature, they think mathematics, philosophy, and the classic works. Although these topics and works of literature have a lot to offer, many students find them dry or out of context in today’s society. That is why universities like Rutgers and Skidmore College are offering classes on popular culture.


Professor Kevin Allred teaches a course on Beyonce at Rutgers University (nydailynews.com)

Rutgers University offers a summer course on the topic of Beyonce. The course, taught by professor Kevin Allred, is titled “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé,” and looks at how Beyonce uses her authority as a celebrity to comment on issues such as gender, sexuality, and feminism. Allred hopes the class will encourage students to become more aware of the things and ideas they hear and see everyday saying,

“I want my students to become more conscious of pop culture and what they’re consuming every day. I hope people begin to appreciate what Beyoncé is doing in terms of feminism and what she represents for race and gender.”


Popular culture classes like Allred’s are becoming ever-important as our lives become more heavily bombarded and influenced by the mass media.  These types of courses offer a look into our society, exploring what it means to be a feminist, an icon, social authority, or simply a voice in our world today.  Offering relevant popular culture classes alongside classes that focus on the classics, allows for students to have a broader perspective.  A perspective that encompasses both the ideas that shaped our culture throughout history, as well as the ideas and people that are shaping our history in modern times.


Other universities have offered classes on icons such as Miley Cyrus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, and the Beastie Boys. These classes pique the interest of most students and also encourage a greater conversation about the relevance of popular culture figures in our lives today.


What do you think about popular culture classes on Beyonce and Miley Cyrus? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @whatsthesich