Beyonce Studies

Professor Kevin Allred godammit

Kevin Allred, a professor in the women’s and gender studies department at Rutgers University, is stirring up controversy with his signature course: Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyonce.

In a recent interview with NPR, he discusses the genesis of the course. “I read an article a few years ago by Daphne Brooks, a professor at Princeton, and she was arguing that the ‘B’Day’ album should be looked – politically, in kind of line with black, female protest singing throughout history.”

It’s nice to know that Professors at Princeton are thinking about Beyonce too.

Allred continues, “And I wanted to continue that and, like, think about all of Beyonce’s work, post and pre ‘B’Day,’ and her career in general as a way to engage students around these conversations about race, gender, sexuality and the politics of those categories in the United States, especially.”

So I’m, like, how many units is this class and like, what is the cost per unit? Will it help the students to pay back their college loans or what?

If I were teaching Beyonce Studies, I’d start with her transformation from a pretty African American girl to a sleek blond bombshell.

Beyonce Knowles

beyonce--2010

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Does a Black woman have to look ‘whiter’ to achieve success with a mass audience? Why is the prevailing concept of female beauty still a busty blond? For all Beyonce’s talk about empowerment, I see a shrewd businesswoman selling herself as a non-threatening sex symbol. Where’s the power in that?

I have no idea what Beyonce means to our culture, but nothing about her piques my curiosity. I’m much more interested when something fresh or challenging manages to capture the public imagination, like Amy Winehouse or ‘Breaking Bad‘. Or when someone truly awful, like Taylor Swift, manages to make $1 million per show.

But that’s just me. I am obviously out of step with most of humanity.

If you’re thinking of taking Professor Allred’s course, you should familiarize yourself with his own dissertation project, for which he is now, ahem, ….

“interrogating U.S. black feminism through the sonic register, reframing debates over intersectionality versus assemblage through taking careful account of the sounds black women’s voices make, both live and recorded. He is particularly interested in the ways black female musicians – like Nina Simone, Odetta, Beyonce Knowles, Nicki Minaj, and Janelle Monae – manipulate their voices in order to resist racist and heteronormative power structures.”

Oh God. Like his hairstyle isn’t enough.

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15 Responses to “Beyonce Studies”

  1. Romeo Says:

    When I was in Australia I used a b’day.

  2. Suspended Says:

    lol Romeo, and like Beyonce, your arse was a little less brown afterwards. Perhaps there’s an irony in the name B-day that we all missed.

    I have no time for Beyonce. There was nothing feminist about becoming Jay-z’s hoe after several cries of “independence.” This is terrible, I know, but I like Solange more now that I’ve seen she can kick ass in a Diana Ross diva kinda way. I realise we share similar urges when we see Jay-z’s ugly mug.

    They all have pretty fucking stupid names!

  3. Andra Says:

    There is an abundance of absolute bullshit in the world and this is some more. What a waste of space.

  4. Dj Says:

    Sonic register?? What a pretentious boob– oh yeah all the black girls are going to sit down with this douche and discuss heteronormative power structures! The fuck! I think he just wants to get it on with black women, and then go back to the classroom to bloviate. Oh, let’s not forget, tuition pays for this Coffee house– grande latte with rice milk, honey hazelnut essence and a load of bullshit please–conversation! “Mom, dad, I’m taking this epic course on politicizing of Beyoncé for $1600 per credit hour…it will like really look good on my resume.”
    “But Muffy dear, I thought you were going premed, that’s why we spent $120000 on private school, and what is Beyoncé ?” Mom, there are just more important things in the world, I need to be part of the interrogation and debate about black women and how their voices are manufactured.”

    I’m mad as hell…fuckery…

  5. Ann Hooker Says:

    Once again, I’m in agreement with you. I have no earthly idea what all the stir is on this performer. Why are the critics elevating her to Marxist, or Lenin status?? What the heck is she singing about that makes everybody go ga ga? Speaking of which Lady Ga Ga is the more appropriate artist, this chickadee is so wackadoodle, that I truly think that her legacy will be more lasting than any of these femme fatal dujour. I just can’t stand to listen to Queen B’s music, I think it stinks. have to turn it off immediately. And what is it about black women who always get the nickname of Queen anyway?!?!?!? When those two idiots tried to copyright the name Blue Ivy, that’s when I said, enough, from this point forward, I will pretend that they don’t coexist on the same planet with me.

  6. BOSS Says:

    Look at you all? You’re typing as if your stomachs hurt. DO you have stomach pains every time her name is mentioned? *giggles* Beyonce is hated.. strongly. Beyonce is loved.. deeply. You like drug addicts.. I don’t. Stay mad. Polarizing indeed.

    And young man ( I’m being facetious, I know you’re a White woman) Black men and women are the original Kings and Queens. You’ll just have to cope with Queen Bey in the manner in which you exalt/accept/revere/overuse “King Elvis”. Pft! Good day hooker

  7. Erika Says:

    It’s common to have classes on contemporary topics like this. I met a nice girl once who was taking a class on Radiohead at UC Berkeley. He seems to be putting his own ridiculous spin on this. I’m guessing hes a real fan.

    I’m a big fan of Nina Simone and seeing her name in the same sentence or category with Beyonce makes me cringe.

  8. ali Says:

    Nobody (especially the oaf with the hair) should be studying mainstream contemporary pop music as though it is complex material with artistic relevance.

    The truth is, “regular” people look up to (and emulate) famous people. As long as these idiotic figures have social influence, they’re relevant. Unfortunately.

    Beyonce name dropping feminism in some magazine (and she only did this because feminism is TRENDY right now) was enough to create waves and make headlines (and inspire *THINK PIECES*).

    Woe to us all.

    I’ll stick up for Destiny’s Child though. I loved them when I was 13!

  9. ali Says:

    Erika- I would take a class on Nina Simone!!!!

  10. Bessie the Cow Says:

    If he had any brains, balls, or ovaries he would discuss people like Immortal Technique, Brother Ali, Lowkey, CunninLynguists, and even Dead Prez, or Bob & Ziggy Marley would be better fodder for his students than someone as meaningless and corporate as Beyoncé. (Please God of Cows, may I never hear one song of hers!)

    Great piece Sister Wolf!

  11. annemarie Says:

    Well hello, co-ed Mystique.

    The sad truth is that this is the exact kind of drivel that will be published and land this asshole a tenure-track job. I bet he’s already added the NPR Interview to his CV. I know all about these assholes. I could write a dissertation on them if I hadn’t already finished one– I just got my Ph.D, but I’ll never get a job because the kind of work I do (committed intellectual labor, fuckers) is no longer valued or rewarded by the institution. If I only I hadn’t been so high-minded, I could have written my dissertation on pretentious know-nothings who write gimmick dissertations that require no real research and even less thought.

  12. Eek Says:

    Sister Wolf, I need an answer on this. I am a simple person. i assume that most people want to appear sexually attractive and to get laid often, correct?

    Can you explain to me how having a large black button in your ear, esp if a man, makes one more fuckable? Why would I want to have sexual relations with someone who has created an enormous flapping hole in their earlobe? I understand wearing a dress in which one’s tits hang out or wearing tight jeans, but pls explain the weird button earlobe destroyers.

    Also why do people get earrings in their eyebrows? How does this make them erotically more appealing?

  13. ali Says:

    Oh it makes sense that it is a gimmick dissertation… gross

  14. Sister Wolf Says:

    Boss – Are you talking to me?

  15. Dj Says:

    Sister, I want to hear the black button explained please…

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