Beyoncé fans at the University of Waterloo will be crazy in love with the introduction of a new course beginning in the fall semester. Entitled “Gender and Performance”, the course will discuss topics of race, gender, and sexuality in performance art and popular music by focusing on the career path of popular singer Beyoncé Knowles.
Professor Naila Keleta-Mae, the course instructor, thought that the artist’s most recent album, “Beyoncé,” would serve as a flawless entry point to discuss feminism and female sexuality in the entertainment industry.
“Beyoncé, like popular culture, has often been relegated to the space of low-brow, low-class work, so I think there are people who are alarmed by the fact that low-art could find its way into a high-art elitist space,” said Keleta-Mae, speaking with the National Post. “What is it about Beyoncé that makes people think she’s not worthy of study? Was Shakespeare deemed to be worthy of study at the time he was making his art?”
Amongst other accomplishments, Dr. Keleta-Mae holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from York University and is a recipient of the Mary McEwan Award from the Centre for Feminist Research at York University. She is also a poet and playwright, has released two full-length albums, and has been produced by various theatre companies.
The University of Waterloo is not the first university in Canada to give the green light to a Beyoncé-themed course. The University of Victoria also holds a course simply entitled “Beyoncé”, that similarly explores the use of social media, sexuality, and feminism in the music industry.