News emerged this month that a US university is to start offering a class in ‘Bruce Springsteen theology’. Rutgers University’s semester-long course will focus on the biblical references in the song-writer’s work. This got us thinking: what are the most unusual musical alternatives to English and Maths out there? Here’s what we found:
It was reported in 2010 that the University of Virginia was offering a class titled: ‘ENWR 1510: GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, and Identity’ in which students analysed “how the musician pushes social boundaries with her work.” Graduate Arts & Sciences student Christa Romanosky said: “We’re exploring how identity is challenged by gender and sexuality and how Lady Gaga confronts this challenge.”
The Washington Post reported on Georgetown University’s SOCI-124-01 or “Sociology of Hip-Hop — Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z”, which included a close-textual reading of Hova’s memoir ‘Decoded’.
Liverpool’s Hope University offers The Beatles, Popular Music & Society (MA). They say the postgraduate degree “will examine the significance of the music of The Beatles in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities and industries, and localities.”
The University of San Diego offers a course in ‘Hip Hop: The Politics of Culture’, which examines “hip hop’s technology, lyrics, and dance and its influences in graffiti, film, music video, fiction, advertising, gender, corporate investment, government, and censorship with a critical focus on race, gender, and popular culture and the politics of creative expression.”
Pitzer College broke new ground when they began offering a course in ‘Learning From YouTube’. We just hope they didn’t rely on the comments for insightful analysis.
The Ting Tings have been working with Creative Arts students at The Manchester College. The College also offers a course in ‘Pop Production’.
The perfect course for pop culture addicts, Bowling Green State University in Ohio offers a Masters in Arts in Popular Culture.
Hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa is a professor at Cornell. When the appointment was announced, he commented: “I guess [Cornell] wanna have somebody that’s talking the whole culture movement, and I’ve always been speaking on that since the beginning of hip-hop.”
Finally, Wu-Tang Clan founder GZA is working with professor Chris Emdin, of Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, to teach maths and science to children in Harlem.