Study the Genius of Beyonce at the University of Copenhagen

Beyoncé 'Formation' music video | © Parkwood/YouTube
Beyoncé 'Formation' music video | © Parkwood/YouTube
Photo of Aliki Seferou
6 September 2017

This semester 75 undergraduate students at the University of Copenhagen will be examining Beyoncé‘s lyrics and music videos to learn about black feminist thought, pop culture, and gender issues.

The Danish professor Erik Steinskog found a way to gain students’ attention before his class at the University of Copenhagen began. Undergraduates at the Arts and Cultural studies department can now enroll in a “Beyoncé, Gender and Race” course. Actually, the class is already full, so those who missed the chance must wait for the next semester.

Being a great fan of Beyoncé, Steinskog decided to use her performance, lyrics, and music videos in order to examine and analyze, along with his students, gender, sexuality, and race issues. An introduction to black feminist thought will also be in the course’s agenda because as he claims it is not very well known in Scandinavia.

Beyonce, Bruno Mars | ©Arnie Papp / Flickr

“Black feminism can provide an alternative to white, European feminism, and introduce new ways of thinking about feminism. Theory written by black women presents a different point of view and a different frame of reference that can expose us Scandinavians to new ideas,” points out the professor in Denmark.

Steinskog strongly believes that whatever the popular pop star does has an impact on society and as she is part of the pop culture, studying her actions or lyrics can help us understand the world we live in.

“She’s a controversial feminist, which is crucial. She makes us consider what it means to be a feminist—or what it can mean, but her feminism is addressed to a non-academic audience,” Erik Steinskog said on Tv2, explaining that the lessons will be held based on similar methods to those used when studying opera or literature in cultural studies.

He admitted he is a great fan of Beyoncé. As he stated, “It is hard not to be impressed. She is extremely good at what she does. Life is too short to work with music I don’t like.” But the reason he chose Queen Bee as a case study is because her songs and she herself don’t only represent the pop culture but a form of black feminism that is important to understand.

After a great number of students (75 in total) enrolled for “Beyoncé, Gender and Race” course—who couldn’t see that coming?—the class had to be moved to a larger lecture classroom, says University of Copenhagen’s magazine, Uniavisen.

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