BBC, September 4, 2017
A university in Denmark is offering a course based on Beyonce’s life.
According to television station TV2, around 75 students have signed up.
There’s reportedly so much interest in the University of Copenhagen course – called Beyonce, Gender and Race – that it’s had to move to a bigger lecture theatre.
Professor Erik Steinskog told the Danish broadcaster that he’d be presenting the singer’s lyrics, videos and performances to students.
He says it’s designed to be an academic course where arts and cultural studies undergraduates can pick up credits towards their degree.
“We will analyse her songs and music videos,” he says. “There will be a focus on gender, sexuality and race.
“One of the goals is to introduce black feminist thought, which is not very well known in Scandinavia.
“Beyonce is important in understanding the world we live in. [She] is one of the biggest pop artists today, which makes her important in an analysis of contemporary times.”
The University of Copenhagen’s magazine, Uniavisen, says the Beyonce class is now full.
Prof Steinskog admits he’s a big fan of the singer and says she’s a good indicator of where pop music is heading.
“She’s a controversial feminist, which is crucial. She makes us consider what it means to be a feminist – or what it can mean, but her feminism is addressed to a non-academic audience.
“It is hard not to be impressed. She is extremely good at what she does. Life is too short to work with music I don’t like.”
It’s not the first Beyonce university course.
Rutgers University in the US state of New Jersey launched a class called Politicising Beyonce through its Department of Women’s and Gender Studies in 2014.
Rutgers also had a class about the theology of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics.
Georgetown University also had a class called The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z, focusing on Beyonce’s rapper husband.
In the UK, a module in Harry Potter and the age of illusion was offered by Durham University.
Prof Steinskog told the BBC that he’s surprised by all the attention the course has got.
“I am taking the discussion from the US to Europe. It makes it possible to discuss theoretical issues and say, ‘Do they look different from a European perspective? What do you think about when you think about race?’
“In the 80s, especially in the late 80s, probably more in the US, there were classes about Madonna – so why is this surprising to the media when we do it now?”