Sociology of Gaga

A course focused on an eccentric pop icon is a waste

When I learned a university was offering a sociology course focused on Lady Gaga and “fame,” I thought it was a joke.

The University of South Carolina is, yes, offering a course defined as “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame.” There is actually a class syllabus on USC’s website. I don’t see how this class is going to be a useful asset in a student’s future.

The instructor of the course, Professor Mathieu Deflem, said his objective was originally to use her as an example in his class, but he decided to dedicate the entire course to Lady Gaga. He has seen her live in concert 28 times, he told University of South Carolina’s school newspaper, The Daily Gamecock.

Although the basis of the course is supposed to focus on sociological elements in relation to Lady Gaga, such as gay culture, religious/political themes, sexuality, and the cities of New York and Hollywood, I don’t believe an entire class should be focused on one pop star.

This class does not even seem to focus on the core concepts of sociology, it’s the fact that Deflem is going to be teaching students about Lady Gaga, and how is that going to be beneficial to a stable, realistic career?

The Daily Gamecock published a story on Nov. 5 regarding criticism toward the class. The story was even picked up by major media outlets such as The New York Times, BBC News, and TIME Magazine.

An online debate was created with students debating whether or not Lady Gaga should be a topic of discussion in an academic environment. One post read, “I have nothing against Lady Gaga for who she is. She just needs to stay out of politics and the classroom.” I could not agree more with this statement.

I am baffled by the fact that the university even allowed such a course to be implemented into its Sociology curriculum. Yes, everyone needs a certain amount of electives, but electives are also supposed to teach a new skill, intelligent idea, or strengthen knowledge, not reflect on how Lady Gaga became famous.

I would also consider this course to be a waste of money. According to USC’s website, the in-state tuition cost for an undergraduate is $5,245 and $11,275 for out-of-state. Each credit is $396 for residents and $475 for non-residents. If I was a student at USC, I would not spend one credit hour on that class. How would it help me?

Personally, I feel that Professor Deflem and The University of South Carolina are cheating students and themselves out of a valuable education in sociology by offering the class. Yes, Lady Gaga has become quite well-known in today’s society, her songs are chart-topping and she’s become a major pop icon; however, she does not belong in an academic setting.

I will be astounded if Ferris ever offers a class similar to likes of this one. Let’s stick to the basics so knowledgeable and employable persons can make positive changes and have something great to offer.

What bizarre, useless course will come next? Will we see the political ideologies of Sarah Palin or Sociology of Snookie? I sure hope not. n