You Can Get A Degree In Beyonce! Here's The Syllabus
Yes, this is a thing.
Good news, BeyHive. You can put all that Beyonce knowledge to good use and earn a degree in the politics of Bey. Cosmo got its hands on the syllabus for Politicizing Beyonce, taught at Rutgers University.
"I wanted to create a full syllabus of black women's writing, black feminists' writing ... and I wanted to orient it around Beyoncé," says George Allred, the course creator. "I had no idea what it would turn into, but it's become this platform that I'm super excited about, marrying pop culture and politics and the world around us in very interesting ways."
So what does the Sasha Fierce syllabus look like? Here's how the class connects Beyonce's discography to feminism, politics and race:
Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman?" & "Diva"
When Sojourner Truth wanted to know in 1851 Ain't I A Woman? she was speaking both to the intersection of race and gender and illuminating the fact that gender categories were built around whiteness. Stating "I'm a diva" in 2009, Beyoncé makes a similar claim. The term "diva," often used pejoratively, sits at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. By reclaiming the term and using it to empower herself, Beyoncé is a modern-day echo of Sojourner Truth.
Alice Walker's "Womanism" & "Grown Woman"
Historically, being called "grown" in African American vernacular was used as an insult, especially for girls. But when Alice Walker used the term to ground her reworked definition of black feminism, she gave it new and powerful associations.
Beyonce also uses the term as an expression of empowerment in "Grown Woman," which combines shots of Beyoncé as an actual child and depictions of her in the present-day. Together, Walker and Beyoncé rework the conception of what it means to be "grown" and realize it as a space that frees women to speak for and assert themselves.
Melissa Harris-Perry's "Crooked Room" & "Partition" & "Jealous"
Though many criticized "Partition" as "too sexual" and therefore antithetical to Beyoncé's feminist proclamations, few took into account the visual relationship between the video for "Jealous" and the video for "Partition."