The University of Austin at Texas is offering a course titled ”Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism” for it’s spring 2015 semester.
According to the university website, students who enroll in the class should expect more than just an endless loop of “Crazy in Love” or “Umbrella.” The course will focus on “how the lyrics, music videos, and actions of these women express various aspects of black feminism such as violence, economic opportunity, sexuality, standards of beauty, and creative self-expression.”
As associate professor Natasha Tinsely, who works in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Austin at Texas, sums it up: she hopes that the course will shed light on the role black feminism plays in popular culture as well as everyday life.
In the wake of the current culture’s fixation on “girl power” – with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Sophia Amorouso’s #GirlBoss crusade, and celebrities like Lena Dunham at the forefront of the movement – it’s no surprise that celebrity figures are being used as models to examine the movement.
According to Kevin Allred, the professor of “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé” at Rutgers University, featuring celebrities in course material, like Beyoncé and Rihanna in this case, is a strategic way to draw students in.
“It’s a way to speak to the students in something they’re already familiar with,” Allred tells Yahoo Style. “So if professors use pop-culture figures, it makes it easier for students to engage with the material. And it may get them interested in the course while hopefully introducing them to a whole group of writers, history or something they weren’t already aware of.”