August 28, 2015

Canadian universities ‘drunk in love’ with Beyoncé, launch courses on pop superstar

Rebel Staff

Canadian universities appear to be ‘drunk in love’ with Beyoncé.

The University of Victoria and the University of Waterloo have dedicated courses to exploring the career of the singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, dancer, businesswoman and word-famous pop diva.

The University of Victoria course, ‘MUS 391 A03: Beyoncé’, which seeks to explore, among other things, Beyoncé’s use of social media and the role of female sexuality in pop music, will “involve a lot of music listening, video watching, and critical thinking,” according to the university website.

Speaking to the Canadian Press, the University of Victoria lecturer behind the elective, which debuted in January and will return this September, Melissa Avdeeff, said: “I just thought she would be an artist that a lot of the students - especially in this young 20s age range - would be able to identify with […] They’ve pretty much had Beyonce in their lives their entire lives.”

“She’s an artist that has stayed relevant culturally. She’s had her hand in a lot of different cultural aspects - not just her music,” she added. “She’s also done a bit of acting. She’s very active on social media and she presented a really interesting case study, I thought.”

Avdeeff's Twitter profile describes her as a “musicologist, sasquatch seeker, cultural critic [and] minion gatherer” - and features such politically enlightened highlights as this tweet: 

Responding to potential criticism of the academic module, Avdeeff told the Globe and Mail: “The arts, in general, do get criticized a lot […] But it’s important to have these courses. They get people thinking more critically about how they are engaging with the media.”

But what kind of person would dedicate a semester of study to such a program? Beyoncé fanatics, perhaps?

“It’s aimed at students who probably listen to Beyoncé, fans, or people who just like pop music in general,” said Avdeeff.

Beyoncé’s cultural influence will also be the subject of a new course called “Gender and Performance” at the University of Waterloo this fall.

Offered by the school’s drama and speech communication department, the course will focus on analyzing videos from the mega-star’s most recent album and looking at performance study models, feminist and race theories in the context of her body of work.

The instructor, Professor Naila Keleta-Mae, a self-proclaimed practicing performance poet, playwright, and recording artist, defended her decision to teach the course, writing in the Huffington Post: “[Beyoncé’s] influence is undeniable and that alone makes her a legitimate person of study for scholars and students interested in gender and performance in the 21st Century.” 

Beyoncé Knowles, 33, who reportedly earned an estimated US$115 million in 2014, according to Forbes, topped last year’s Celebrity 100 list and is married to U.S. rapper, record producer and entrepreneur Jay Z.


JOIN for more fearless news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else.

VISIT our NEW group blog The Megaphone!
It’s your one-stop shop for rebellious commentary from independent and fearless readers and writers.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2015-08-31 15:43:43 -0400
wow, can’t wait to hires the losers grads out of these courses! NOT
commented 2015-08-31 00:51:54 -0400
Joan: You’re right about the suitability of people either enrolled in a trade school or university, but I’m talking about the ones who are enrolled at university studying for a BA which alone does not mean much & all they’re doing is passing time & warming up the bench. Unless you’re aiming for a certain profession, then I think many are there not because they want to be there, but because they want to please their parents or they can afford to wait longer to get a job or maybe it’s expected of them (but not where their heart is) etc……
commented 2015-08-30 23:43:20 -0400
Yvette – Not everyone is suited to work in a trade just like not everyone is suited to go to university. One isn’t more worthy or valuable than the other. Just different. People are different from one another, not better. Money is not the only consideration. People should do what they are good at.
commented 2015-08-30 22:32:07 -0400
Beyoncé dresses like a porn star & talks like one in her sexually explicit videos. So I guess that makes her a perfect role model. More nutty lefty professors teaching tomorrow’s leaders.

Rick P……….you made a very good point in your post re kids enrolled in useless courses who can’t find a job after graduation & then blame everyone but themselves for their stupid choices. How about a course in plumbing or welding or electrician, where there are plenty of really good paying jobs…..i.e. …..a 23 yr old who took the electrician course, apprenticed & now is supervising a crew somewhere in Sask & made $150G last year.
commented 2015-08-30 20:52:47 -0400
Rick – The bright graduates of a liberal arts education have learned that artists starve. If they choose to make art, they know what to expect.

Good art is not made by government funding. It is made by suffering.

Great art is important to humanity as are our artists, even when, like Van Gogh did, they fail miserably in their lifetimes.

Humanity needs those who do not compromise but who hear the angels and follow their advice.
commented 2015-08-30 13:50:47 -0400
JOAN ABERNETHY said: “Rick – Every life path chosen is limited. Yours included.” Indeed. The problem lies in those that “graduate” from these “courses” come out of University expecting to be hot commodities in the work force, and then are totally blind sided when the labour market has limited or no opportunities for them! Such is the beginning of yet another Socialist mind set, intent on blaming everyone else for their choices!
commented 2015-08-30 08:18:21 -0400
Rick – Every life path chosen is limited. Yours included.

I recently spoke with a man I went to high school with who became wildly successful as chief actuary for the European Union. As he went into countries to change everything, he had armed security and servants meeting his every need. He honestly believes he never hurt anyone.

All paths chosen give their taker a blind spot.

The great boon of a liberal arts education, for those who recognize it, is not wealth, security or a pension but the skills needed to think freely – to suspend judgement and consider ALL perspectives – not just your own, not just what you are limited to consider with your life path blind spot.
commented 2015-08-29 18:40:39 -0400
“I say make it swift and clean, one cut, 100%.” Agree. Defund the CBC!
commented 2015-08-29 18:38:00 -0400
“Do something that truly inspires you. Want to dance? Do it. Want to make movies? Do it.”
Sure, who picks up the tab Mom and Dad or the taxpayers?
commented 2015-08-29 18:36:10 -0400
“It’s time the CBC received another round of cuts, 50% for a start.”
I say make it swift and clean, one cut, 100%.
commented 2015-08-29 16:32:28 -0400
Bravo Zulu said: “give me a farm kid or military background anytime.” I believe a lot of employers think as you do. They want reliability, or at least somebody who will show up to work! My career has advanced because employers liked my Military and Coast Guard background from my youth. They wanted that combination of independence and self discipline in their organizations, which served them well for the periods I was with them! Subsequent employers recognized the “intrepreneurship” I was executing and liked the inititiative! I am very close to retirement now having advanced myself into one of the few Companies in Canada that offer a pension plan to those that have paid into it. Which I have. I am sure had I been educated for a thesis on “Beyonce”, my career path would have been much different. Jimmy has advocated Music and the Arts. Nothing wrong with that, except they can be very limited in scope, time spent, and so few actually make it to the “big times”. “Good work if you can get” but not as guaranteed with a good education and relevant life experiences.
commented 2015-08-29 15:16:23 -0400
Jimmy said, "It’s Time For The Music Industry To Speak Up About CBC Funding Cuts "

It’s time the CBC received another round of cuts, 50% for a start.
commented 2015-08-29 13:06:26 -0400
And that is why I seldom hire anyone under the age of 35 – and would never consider a recent university grad with a liberal arts degree – give me a farm kid or military background anytime.
commented 2015-08-29 12:10:53 -0400
Sad state of the education system.
commented 2015-08-29 00:00:11 -0400
While I am not so sure Beyoncé is deserving of her own course – I suspect most people here look down at any sort of arts/entertainment education – be it film school, music production, video game designer, etc.

Success or failure – it’s typically liberals that go for their dreams and we need people like that. Becoming an accountant because your Dad was an accountant is great and all – but we only live one. Do something that truly inspires you. Want to dance? Do it. Want to make movies? Do it.

It’s never too late to work 9 to 5.
commented 2015-08-28 21:54:52 -0400
See you on the unemployment line.
commented 2015-08-28 21:49:00 -0400
I hope this course covers the concept of “jumping the shark”, because that’s damn sure what this university has done here.
commented 2015-08-28 18:31:27 -0400
I’ll tell you who will take this course – pre-med, math and science undergrads who need an arts credit to get their Bacelor’s degree. It’s what we used to call “a bird course” – one you don’t need to work for because you know the subject already. An easy A grade.

No one is getting a degree in Beyonce, although we’ve likely already seen some MA theses. This is just one elective, not a whole program.

Who would be smart to take this course is business students interested in building a career in music talent management. Because you must admit $US115 million ain’t bad for tits, ass and voice.
commented 2015-08-28 17:46:18 -0400
Too many courses are no more than a “prof” having an interest in the subject and nothing more; an easy course to teach, fun with pay. There is nothing truly educational, and there is no value in having an easy credit course where its fans, fans, fans. Will there be a field trip to one of her concerts? Positive review of the show for grades? What if your review finds the show a farce?

Some may say that studying Byron is no different. By that standard, Adam Sandler films would be considered great art (like “Bouncy”, he sings, acts, dances, writes, produces, entertains, et cetera). There is a difference between studying her and Byron.

What if you take this course and find “Bouncy” a cookie-cutter pop star with great PR, shallow music and vapid lyrics? You defend your position with example and documentation. Will you be graded upon your work, or with the venom of an angry, wide-eyed star struck fan which happens to be the instructor?

More and more universities wonder why people think some programs are jokes. These courses are jokes. What next? Knitting 301, a Fine Arts course?
commented 2015-08-28 17:28:59 -0400
“your career is going to be living in Mom’s basement, smoking dope and gushing over JT then you’re in good shape.” Methinks the typical Dipper/Lieberal voter was just described in that passage!
commented 2015-08-28 16:18:30 -0400
Looser 101, right in line with Leeching off the Govt. 101. Yeah those are job getters, although if your career is going to be living in Mom’s basement, smoking dope and gushing over JT then you’re in good shape. Speaks volumes about the supposed educators teaching this crap.
commented 2015-08-28 15:56:54 -0400
Ugh. Never mind exploring the universe, that’s just a load of fluff. Never mind the Central Banking system robbing you blind, that’s boring. Never mind the thousands of children that die of starvation every year, that’s depressing. Shame on anyone that thinks that this has anything meaningful to contribute to the world and humanity as a whole. My faith in the future of the human race gets weaker every day. This type of garbage just adds fuel to that fire.
commented 2015-08-28 15:25:36 -0400
I can see it now. Graduates with a B.A. in Beyonce! Yeah, that will get you a good job in the real world!