Students at Rutgers University will soon be able to select a course to study the career arc and impact of one of R&B’s, and Pop’s, most popular divas of all time in Beyoncé. Just over a month after Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson created a sociology course crafted around studying the cultural significance of Jay-Z, the Brooklyn bomber’s wife will also get a course at the New Jersey college with the dubious title “Politicizing Beyoncé.”
Offered by the university’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, doctoral student and lecturer Kevin Allred was clear to distinguish that the title of the course isn’t meant to be misleading, “This isn’t a course about Beyoncé’s political engagement or how many times she performed during President Obama’s inauguration weekend,” said Allred to Rutgers’ school paper Focus.
“She certainly pushes boundaries. While other artists are simply releasing music, she’s creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona,” continued Allred. “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.”
While Beyoncé has undoubtedly empowered large groups of women with many of her big-voiced anthems, Allred realizes he’s approaching the course as a complete outsider. “Of course, there are people who’ll say, ‘You’re not black. You’re not a woman,’” says Allred of his academic focus.
“It’s something I’m always questioning and staying aware of so as not to overstep any bounds or make any claims for a group that I don’t belong to.”