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.
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