Miley Cyrus, Beyonce Knowles Now Part of College Curriculums

Image: Miley Cyrus, Beyonce Knowles Now Part of College Curriculums Miley Cyrus, left, and Beyonce Knowles.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 09:19 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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College students can expand their knowledge of the world with an elective class on former Disney star turned music diva Miley Cyrus, but twerking probably won't be part of the curriculum. Or they can study the feminine perspectives of Beyonce Knowles.

Pop culture has long been discussed in college classes. The University of Missouri offered an English class around the work of Knowles husband Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, and Kanye West, according to People magazine.

In 2011, the University of South Carolina examined the career and the musical themes of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, in the class "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame," noted People.

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Starting this week, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, is offering the class on Cyrus. The course, titled "The Sociology of Miley Cyrus," will examine her transformation from child star in the Disney hit show "Hannah Montana" to her current status in the music industry as a "pop temptress," according to The Telegraph in London.

"She's a really interesting case study for how someone can represent sex and gender while maturing in the public eye," Carolyn Chernoff, an assistant professor who created the course told The Telegraph. "Miley is a work in progress, but you can already see such a complex narrative of how people talk about her unbridled sexuality."

Rik Scarce, chair of Skidmore's sociology department, told The Telegraph that he approved of offering the Cyrus class and found value in it.

"Miley Cyrus is a delivery device for themes of American life," Scarce told The Telegraph. "When you say, 'Miley Cyrus? Who cares about her?' you shut down the very purpose of sociology."

Rutgers University doctoral student Kevin Allred will be teaching a class on Beyonce Knowles, entitled "Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé," reported the New York Daily News.

Allred told the Daily News that the class will examine how Knowles juggles being a pop star along with marriage and motherhood.

"She's the most powerful black woman in entertainment and pop culture," Allred said, according to the Daily News. "She's gotten more confrontational and more explicit when she's talking about beauty and gender."

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