(Getty Images)This week, a story about a Rutgers University course that focused on Beyoncé and American gender and sexual politics bubbled back into the spotlight, as stories on the Internet sometimes do. Unfortunately for those who hoped to jumpstart a major in Beyoncé (good luck with that!), the class was actually offered two years ago — even though it would most certainly be worth revisiting now that she's released BEYONCÉ, an epic feminist album that just happens to have a few domestic violence jokes thrown around for good measure.
Beyoncé is one of several pop culture figures to inspire serious study. Here are a few of the other pop-oriented classes that have been offered in the United States:
"Bruce Springsteen's Theology"
This seminar at Rutgers offers "a theologically oriented approach" to Bruce Springsteen's lyrics, examining his interpretatons of Biblical themes.
"Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z"
Sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson, who taught courses on Tupac Shakur and Marvin Gaye at the University of Pennsylvannia, offered this course at Georgetown University in 2011.
"English 2169: Jay-Z and Kanye West"
This University of Missouri course takes a close look at the careers of Kanye West and Jay Z in relation to the notion of the American Dream.
"Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame"
Sociology professor Matthew Deflem encouraged students to think about "how Lady Gaga has become this thing, this event, on a social level, and on a global scale" at the University of South Carolina in 2009.
"GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, and Identity"
A similar course at the University of Virginia that explored the singer's pushing of social boundaries in 2010.
"The Phenomenology of Performance: David Bowie"
University of Southern Maine professor Shelton Waldrep has been teaching this seminar, a critical look at Bowie's cultural significance and his blurring of the lines between high art and pop, for ten years.
"The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur"
Graduate student Georgia Roberts led this University of Washington comparative history of ideas course in 2003.
"Madonna the Phenomenon"
This happened at the University of Amsterdam in 1997:
“Spirituality & Politics of U2”
Saint Mary's University offered this course, which takes a closer look at the spiritual and political messages in U2's music, for the January 2012 term.
There are so many college courses on the Beatles the New York Times wrote an article about it.
"Michael Jackson: The Business of Music"
This MBA course at Clark Atlanta University focuses on Michael Jackson's business practices, including "how he negotiated and his tours, record deals, and merchandising [and] how he revolutionized legal practices related to entertainment copyrights, trademarks, licenses."