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10 Hollywood Stars Who Have Been the Center of College Courses

College professors use the careers and lives of celebrities in their teaching.

College courses based on celebrities aren’t exactly a new idea. In recent years, college professors have become more likely to create their own unique courses that revolve around a particular celebrity.

For example, Taylor Swift has had countless college classes that focused on her lyrics, songs, fandom, and general fame.

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Harry Styles is another one studied by students.

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With Swift’s immense fame, it’s no surprise that she’s been the topic of conversation in not one or two, but a handful of university courses across the country in recent years.

One example was a course called “Psychology of Taylor Swift – Advanced Topics of Social Psychology,” offered at Arizona State University.

The course was taught by psychologist Alexandra Wormley and involved studying albums with connections to psychology.

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“The course essentially uses Taylor Swift as a semester-long example of various phenomena — gossip, relationships, revenge,” Wormley said on the Arizona State University website when the course was announced in 2023. She also emphasized that “the class is not a seminar about how much we love or don’t love her – we want to be able to learn about psychology.”

The University of Texas at Austin offered a Swift-centric course in 2022 called “The Taylor Swift Songbook.” The course was taught by Elizabeth Scala.

“Students in the course will study Swift’s songs alongside the traditional canon of Western literature: Shakespeare, Keats and Frost,” Scala said in the university’s press release about the course. “They are asked to analyze and contextualize common practices and problems over the centuries.”

Harvard University and New York University’s Clive Davis Institute have also offered courses on Swift.

The former boy band member continued to achieve worldwide success throughout his career as a solo artist.

Styles’ career was further explored in the course entitled “Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet and European Pop Culture,” offered at Texas State University.

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The class was announced for spring 2023, with Dr. Louie Dean Valencia as Professor.

Students from New York University’s Clive Davis Institute had the opportunity to study Lana Del Rey.

The university announced the course “Topics in Recorded Music: Lana Del Rey” in September 2022.

This class took the Swift course taught at the university earlier this year.

At the University of California, Berkeley, students had the opportunity to register for “Black Barbie Femmecee & Hip-Hop Feminisms,” about Nicki Minaj.

The course was offered during the spring semester of 2023.

The class, focused on the hip-hop star, was offered through the African American Studies department.

In 2011, Georgetown University offered a course focusing on Jay-Z.

The class was titled “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.”

The course was taught by Michael Eric Dyson. A required text for those enrolled in the class was Jay-Z’s book “Decoded.”

The second half of the Hollywood power couple, Beyoncé, was also the focus of a university course.

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Rutgers University offered a class for students called “Politicizing Beyoncé.”

Kevin Allred created the class on the “Single Ladies” singer in 2010.

Another previous celeb course offered at Rutgers University was “Bruce Springsteen’s Theology.”

Springsteen, originally from New Jersey, had his song lyrics examined during this course.

When the class was introduced in 2013, the description emphasized that it would look at “Springsteen’s reinterpretation of biblical motifs, the possibility of redemption through earthly means (women, cars, music), and his interweaving of secular and sacred elements.”

Skidmore College in New York offered a course on Miley Cyrus in 2014.

The special topics course was titled “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and Media” and was taught by Carolyn Chernoff.

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When the class was announced, Chernoff told TODAY.com that it would “provide a better understanding of the way we see social issues play out through mass media, the way even trivial things like entertainment reflect larger cultural conflicts, over race , class and social inequality.”

In 2010, a course on Lady Gaga was offered at the University of South Carolina called “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame.”

The course description for the course read: “The central goal is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of Lady Gaga’s fame,” according to The New York Times.

The lesson was given by Mathieu Deflem, professor of sociology and a long-time Gaga fan.

Professors who teach university courses on celebrities draw on all different aspects of the stars’ lives for their teaching.

“Michael Jackson: The Business of Music” was an MBA-level course at Clark Atlanta University.

This course focused primarily on Jackson’s business operations, not just his music.

The curriculum included topics such as “how he negotiated and toured, recording contracts, merchandising, and how he revolutionized legal practices related to entertainment copyrights, trademarks, licensing and more,” People reported.

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