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Would You Major in Lady Gaga?

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Kathryn Knight Randolph

December 03, 2010

Would You Major in Lady Gaga?
Lady Gaga is known for making major waves in the tabloids -- but in the classroom? Next semester, Professor Mathieu Deflem, a professor at University of South Carolina, is teaching Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame -- a course that seeks to explore and define the evolution of fame in our society. Deflem’s website states that the goal of this course “will be to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga with respect to her music and other artistic endeavors, with special attention for the role of: business and marketing strategies; the role of the old and new media; fans and live concerts; gay culture; religious and political themes; sex and sexuality; and the cities of New York and Hollywood.”

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Our culture, as a whole, is growing increasingly obsessed with celebrities. So much so that we’re inventing celebrities through “reality” programming like Jersey Shore and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This begs the question: should celebrities be allowed in the classroom? Or do they pose a danger? Professor Deflam provided a nonchalant answer to the question. He said, “Relating scholarly questions to popular culture is not necessary but it surely can be useful.” His coursework on Lady Gaga hopes to prove why popular culture can influence and be a part of academia. Deflem has been gaining national and international attention for his new course, generating over 80,000 web stories on the topic and grabbing a bit of fame for himself. You can follow his fame on his YouTube channel.

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Professor Deflem will be providing frequent updates to his blog on the study of Lady Gaga’s fame. Follow the blog here.

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