I think it’s safe to say we’ve reached a new level in celebrity today. I don’t know if that level is a new high or a new low. But for those of you that like Kanye West and Jay Z, you now have the opportunity to study them. Yes, as in college study. English students at the University of Missouri can now take a full course on all things ZZ and Yeezy. Entitled “English 2169: Jay-Z and Kanye West,” the course will examine the power-duo’s joint and respective careers from three different angles, according to the syllabus:
1. Where do they fit within, and how do they change, the history of hip-hop music?
2. How is what they do similar to and different from what poets do?
3. How does their rise to both celebrity and corporate power alter what we understand as the American dream?
Students will get to listen to music, read poetry from the artists, and decipher lyrics. There are no reports of going to any concerts but I’m sure that would be a bonus. I wonder if Jay Z or Kanye will show up as guest lecturers. By the way, this isn’t the first time musicians or celebrities have been studied in this way.
The University of South Carolina offered a course called “The Sociology of Fame and Lady Gaga” in 2009. The University of California Berkeley students could once take a philosophy class based on The Simpsons, and the department of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers offered a course revolving around Jay Z’s wife called “Politicizing Beyonce” in 2012.
We’ll keep you posted on how this course plays out.