Kanye Test: Pop Culture Phenomena Studied In Universities

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Kanye Test: Pop Culture Phenomena Studied In Universities
Kanye Test: Pop Culture Phenomena Studied In Universities

Video: Kanye Test: Pop Culture Phenomena Studied In Universities

Video: Drake Feelings, Kanye Attitude - Mental Health and Pop Culture - Mike Rosen NAMI NY Conference 2022, November
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Dasha Tatarkova

A new "Star Trek" came out in the cinema- "Star Trek: Infinity", the third reboot film directed by JJ Abrams. The universe of "Star Trek" has a whole army of fans who know by heart all the smallest details, to say nothing - whole university courses are devoted to its study. In the West, pop culture has long been studied no less seriously than nuclear physics, disassembling and analyzing everything - from Mad Men and Lost to the works of Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar. We are talking about several pop-cultural phenomena to which several courses at universities were devoted at once, and the study of which is beneficial to everyone - both science and society.

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Beyonce

The work of the reigning queen of pop music has long been an object of close scrutiny. This is natural, given how politically and socially charged her latest records are. Even at the time of the release of the album of the same name, Beyonce, from the point of view of a pop-cultural phenomenon, undertook to study a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario Naila Keleta-May. The most famous remains the politically charged course on feminism "Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé" at the Rutgers University of New Jersey. As part of the lectures, Professor Kevin Allred discussed the phenomenon of African American feminism, gender studies and how Queen B personifies the modern struggle against misogyny and stereotypes.

Allred's course was incredibly popular, and its author read shortened versions all over the country - he was even invited to Harvard. When the course was canceled last year, there was a storm of indignation in the media. The author, however, managed to change the chair of the course, and now Allred is writing a book based on the course. Other universities also continue to study Beyoncé: for example, the University of Texas at Austin offers the course “Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism,” and the University of Maryland offers online lectures on the history of African American women’s culture.

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Kanye West

Kanye himself never graduated from college - but now students are studying his work. Professor Scott Heath of the University of Georgia has come up with a course that includes the study of the lyrics of one of the most controversial and important musicians of our time. Logically, the focus is on hip-hop and looking at African American music from a literary point of view. The course is called “Kanye Versus Everybody: Black Poetry and Poetics from Hughes to Hip-Hop”, and Heath himself believes that West has long been shaping the image of not only modern rap, but also African American poetry, but also pop culture in the whole. The professor draws attention to the fact that Kanye is the only rapper who elevates his creativity to the level of art, so not studying it means ignoring a huge and inspiring part of the world around.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

There is a whole concept of Buffy studies, that is, a scientific study of the cult series by Joss Whedon of the late nineties - early zero. Within its framework, a lot has already been written and said: there will be several dozen books with a detailed analysis of the main topics and what is happening in the series. This may surprise some, but Buffy is also the subject of many diplomas and dissertations. So that all this rich material does not go to waste, Portland State University in 2010 launched a separate course dedicated to the favorite TV series - "Exploring" Buffy the Vampire Slayer ". It was invented by Alison Higginbotham, whose program was twice rejected for lack of "scientific", before being included in the schedule. As a result, the class was packed, and in the lectures students studied the genius of Whedon up and down - from feminist motives to corporate metaphors. The series, meanwhile, remains the most popular pop cultural phenomenon to explore in the States.

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Star way

It would be strange if there was no separate academic course on another major modern series. Just as Buffy changed television at the turn of the nineties, so Star Trek has pioneered many things never before seen since its inception in the sixties, such as the first interracial love story on TV. Star Trek was also a pioneer among artificial languages ​​- this is the first series for which a separate, completely new, but completely working language was invented. Klingon is still one of the most important pop-cultural markers of the Star Trek universe, and is studied not only by fans, but also by linguistics students at the University of Texas at Austin. As part of the Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond course, students also study other constructed languages, such as Esperanto. And Georgetown University will be studying Star Trek philosophy this year.

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The Simpsons

The cycle of lectures on philosophy in The Simpsons has become as famous as the course on Beyoncé - there is even a full-fledged book on it. Perhaps this is one of the oldest pop culture courses that has not lost its relevance to this day. It was invented in Berkeley in 2003 based on the eponymous non-fiction bestseller The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer”, in which scientists investigated the philosophical and cultural impact of“The Simpsons”on the modern world. The course is still very popular because it makes the world of abstract philosophy understandable and relevant to the present day. To master it is much more difficult than it might seem: Plato, Kant, Marx and, of course, Nietzsche are listed as compulsory reading. In fact, both the book and this course by Berkeley had such a huge impact on the idea of ​​modern university education that many other educational institutions began to repeat them after them. Here you can see what a rough outline of a lecture course on The Simpsons looks like.

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Wiretapping

The second most popular pop-cultural milestone in the academic environment after Buffy is The Wire. It is not surprising: even if you have never heard of this great series in a university style, you probably yourself have not willingly learned a lot, following the criminal life of the streets. "Wiretapping" is increasingly included in the curriculum every year, and such respectable institutions as Harvard are no exception: here they turn to the show as part of a course on social inequality in cities. Many people see in "The Wire" not just a fascinating crime drama, but a detailed and very useful study of the social situation, the causes and consequences of the current stratification of society. Based on the observations of the creators of the show, many build lectures on sociology and anthropology, illustrating them with examples from "The Wire" no worse than from textbooks. This has been done at the University of York, the University of Maryland, Rutgers University, Duke University and the University of California at Berkeley.

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Harry Potter

Not only are the Harry Potter books themselves built according to the years of study of the trinity of the main characters in school (a missed year is counted), but also in the real, Muggle world, they continue to be included in the lists of literature. The world of "Harry Potter", invented by Rowling, is explored from many different angles. For example, at the University of Ohio, they approached the matter as straightforwardly as possible, building a course in fantasy literature around it. Other institutions of higher education teach science through the lens of the Potterian world, as at Frostberg State University, or modern education, as at Durham University in Britain. It seems that this is not all the courses that are read based on the main fantasy saga of our days.

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