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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Nov 04, 2014
Headline for Celeb-ology: 10 Post-Secondary Courses about Celebrities and Entertainment Culture
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Celeb-ology: 10 Post-Secondary Courses about Celebrities and Entertainment Culture

What and who we seek out for entertainment can reveal things about our beliefs and feelings as individuals, and as a society. A performance on a stage that is being watched by millions of eyes has the ability to change meanings and cultural narratives.They can do this by starting a thread of discourse from spaces like social media to the good ol' water cooler. Here are 8 Post-Secondary courses that study celebs and culture:

1

The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and the Media at Skidmore College in New York

The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and the Media at Skidmore College in New York

This course is about what Miley Cyrus represents in her platform as a highly watched entertainer. Professor Carolyn Chernoff says that the course will explore the "core issues of intersectionality". Miley Cyrus had a very specific moment where she got people talking about gender and race in her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards with the use of props and body parts. Even if it was just shock entertainment, Miley still engages in meaning-making through appropriations and performance.

2

The Simpsons and Philosophy at University of California

The Simpsons and Philosophy at University of California

By Mixing in Sartre et al. with the Simpsons, this philosophy course picks apart one of the most famous shows in Televison history and explores the ways it brings up deep philosophical questions about life. The show itself spins in story lines from culture outside, using allusions and big names, so it never strays from the pop culture 'reality'.

3

Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame at University of South Carolina

Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame at University of South Carolina

This course uses Lady Gaga's immense fame as the base to use sociological theory and examine the reasons why she's famous, and how fame works in society all together. Lady Gaga seems to understand the importance of performance and character. She takes the larger narratives and issues in our culture, like religion and rights, and cooks them together in her work.

4

South Park and Contemporary Social Issues at McDaniel College

South Park and Contemporary Social Issues at McDaniel College

South Park takes on hot topic social issues very quickly and with zero respect for political correctness (on purpose). It dives right into them instead of side stepping these issues, and while it might not always be in line, it is a show that gives some kind of a popular platform for these issues.

5

Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular "logic" on TV Judge Shows at University of California

Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular "logic" on TV Judge Shows at University of California

Judge Judy follows a fairly conservative type of logic that she would likely categorize as "common sense". While this is typical, common sense isn't something set in stone and natural, it's built up in ideologies and philosophies, and combined with social interactions. This only means that the idea of what is common sense and logical changes culturally. The course examines the arguments made by the Judges and why they do or do not work.

6

Breaking Down Breaking Bad at State University of New York at Buffalo

Breaking Down Breaking Bad at State University of New York at Buffalo

Breaking Bad came into a time in American culture when Obama care was a hot topic and Drug enforcement debates were raging. It represented the anxieties of inadequate heath care and drug morality in society and that is why there is a course in this show's meanings. It was entertaining and epic in it's way of blurring what we consider good/bad as individuals and what our institutions do to alter our feelings about ethics.

7

English 2169: Jay Z and Kanye West at University of Missouri

English 2169: Jay Z and Kanye West at University of Missouri

Jay Z and Kanye West are close as friends and entertainers. Their lyrics are actually quite poetic and subversive at times. The course dives into those topics and asks students about their connection to the mythology of the "American dream" and how they're changing thoughts around it.

8

The Science of Harry Potter at Frostburg State University

The Science of Harry Potter at Frostburg State University

This course examines the "magic" of Harry Potter in a scientific sense by explaining how these happenings could occur in physics and biology. It obviously doesn't have the nitty gritty lab work, but sometimes grinding things down scientifically can stir up even more magic and imagination.

History and Cultural Impact of Dr. Who

This long running series is legendary enough to have a huge impact on the culture around it. A Syracuse University is going to provide a free trial course online next semester.

10

The O.C. and the Self-Aware Culture of 21st Century America

The O.C. and the Self-Aware Culture of 21st Century America

Like, this is so totally post-modern. Duke University provided a course that reflected upon the O.C. television show and its commentary on our hyper self-aware society. Oh California.