Cal Poly to offer entire class on Beyonce
March 7, 2017
Starting in the upcoming spring quarter, Cal Poly, through its ethnic studies department, will offer an entire course on the pop star Beyonce. [Mustang News]
The class will be called Beyonce: Race, Feminism and Politics. The instructor planning the class says the course is particularly relevant because Beyonce is an outspoken critic of police brutality.
Students taking the Beyonce class will follow a curriculum modeled after the pop star’s visual album, “Lemonade.” Each week, the course will cover one of the 12 themes in the album: intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, loss, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope and redemption.
The course will conclude with a Beyonce conference called “Cal Poly Bey Day.” The event will consist of a screening of the album Lemonade, coupled with faculty and student presentations and panel discussions on Beyonce’s work. There will also be student performances set to the pop star’s music.
Additionally, the class will construct an altar dedicated to Beyonce and women of color who have been subject to police violence.
Assistant professor Jenell Navarro will teach the inaugural Beyonce course. Navarro is a self-described unapologetic Beyonce fan.
Navarro’s bio states, in 2011, she received a Ph.D. in cultural studies from Claremont Graduate University. Her expertise and published works fall within the fields of indigenous studies and hip-hop studies, according to the Cal Poly website.
The Beyonce class will be an elective, not a required course. But, Navarro said she wants it to become a permanent course that more faculty members will choose to teach in the future.
“Some have questioned if the course is too specific or irrelevant, but we teach a class on Jesus on this campus,” Navarro told Mustang News. “There could be arguments made that that’s too specific or not relevant. It’s called academic freedom.”
Navarro said Cal Poly is a “PWI” — predominantly white institution. Beyonce’s popularity will make it easier for people to have open discussions about race on Cal Poly’s predominantly white campus, Navarro said.
Rutgers University has reportedly offered a Beyonce course for about a dozen years.