In the halls of higher education, some artists have walked beyond their traditional roles and become subjects of study themselves. Whether it’s their revolutionary techniques, avant-garde philosophies, or societal impact, these creators have left an enduring legacy that demands academic scrutiny. You’ll discover how their artistic visions have become an integral part of curricula, shaping the minds of new generations of art enthusiasts and scholars. Check out the artists that have college courses dedicated to them.
Lana Del Rey: New York University’s Clive Davis Institute added a ‘Lana Del Rey’ course for the 2022 fall semester, which included examining the alt-pop star’s relationship to feminism and connection to social justice movements.
Kanye West: Three courses on Kanye West were offered, which included a course by Georgia State University in 2015, followed by another in 2017 at Washington University in St. Louis. Then five years later, Concordia University in Montreal brought the study of Ye to Canada with a course called ‘Kanye vs Ye: Genius by Design.’
Miley Cyrus: New York’s Skidmore College offered a sociology course on Miley Cyrus in 2014, called ‘The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.’
Drake and The Weeknd: Canada’s X University (Ryerson University) introduced a course called ‘Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd’ in the fall of 2021, aimed at dissecting the Canadian music scene’s representation and infrastructure problems that had both artists work on their careers in the U.S. instead of their home country.
Beyoncé: Dr. Rachel Fedock’s course at Arizona State University in 2016, which compared Beyoncé’s work to scholars like bell hooks, highlighted the cultural significance of her art. The following year, Erik Steinskog’s ‘Beyoncé, Gender and Race’ was introduced as a course at the University of Copenhagen. The University of Texas at San Antonio and California Polytechnic State University have also offered courses that dissect her work.
Rihanna: Rihanna represented the other half of the subject matter in a class taught at the University of Texas, Austin called ‘Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism.’
Harry Styles: Texas State University offered a course about Harry Styles and, more importantly, celebrity worship.
Lady Gaga: The University of South Carolina offered a course called ‘Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame’ in the spring of 2011. Aimed less at examining Gaga as a person and more at discussing her role as a social phenomenon, the course covered sociologically relevant aspects of her music, videos, fashion and more.
Britney Spears: In reference to Britney Spears’ high-profile 13-year conservatorship case, William Paterson University in New Jersey introduced an online course aptly titled ‘#FreeBritney.’ The class would explore disability rights as they pertain to the legal system.
Taylor Swift: The New York University has introduced a course on Taylor Swift, who was presented with an honorary doctorate in fine arts.