Students at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri are in for a rare treat this spring semester. For the first time in the school’s history, it will be offering a course based on the famous rapper Kanye West. As of right now, 75 students are registered for the brand new course titled “Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics,” which is the worlds first known college course centered around Yeezus himself.
The course is taught by professor Dr. Jeffrey McCune who specializes in the department of African and African-American Studies, as well as women, gender, and sexuality studies.
He claims that this course is not idolizing the self-proclaimed “God” Kanye West, but rather uses him as “a good way to get students to connect issues of politics, race, gender, sexuality and culture.” Kanye and Dr. McCune both grew up in Chicago and are the same age.
McCune mentioned that he has this idea for this course for a while but finally executed it this semester. He stated “I always wanted to teach a course looking at black genius and the impossibility of black genius for the American public, We’re always thought of as maybe being articulate or smart but not really genius…Kanye really uses hip-hop as a vehicle to display all of his talents, albeit some better than others.”
Some topics on the syllabus for the 14-week course:
• “Who is Kanye West and Why Is He in the Flashing Lights?”
• “Touch the Sky, When the Aspirant Turns Genius”
• “Father Stretch My Hands, or How Hip-Hop Takes Us to Church”
• “Love Lock Down, or Hip-Hop’s Queer Love Languages”
• “I Love Kanye, or How Critique Slips Into Hate”
McCune promises there will be a full segment on “The Swift Moment,” referring to West’s onstage confrontation with pop singer Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Lectures take place on Tuesdays; “critical listening parties” are Thursdays, with guest artists on select Thursdays.
Personally, I think this is a killer idea for a collegiate political course. As a political science major who understands the struggle of boring classes far out of touch with my generation, this course seems like a breath of fresh air to a typically mundane course of study. Tying in a pop culture icon like Kanye into something like political science is exactly what this world needs.
Although there are a lot of mixed views on Kanye, there is no doubt the man has influenced my generation. Actually, I do not think there is a better pop icon to base a college course on, Kanye has done so much throughout his career that it would be no trouble at all connecting him to modern political issues.
Off the top of my head I can think of 5 times Kanye shocked the world, which would all make more great lecture topics.
Calling out President Bush for not caring about Black people during hurricane Katrina
Announcing he is running for President in 2020…
“Imma Let you Finish” Taylor Swift vs.Kanye Part 1
Kanye’s Infamous 2006 “Yeezus” Rolling Stone cover
Meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss a plan to stop the violence in his home city of Chicago.
All of these insane things he as done are what make Kanye ….well Kanye. He is out of his mind in all the right ways and its these crazy things that he does which draws us into his possible genius (or pure madness.)
I’m curious to see how this course plays out and I’m hoping it starts a trend of connecting pop culture figures to the relevant issues in today’s world. One thing I know for sure is I would sign up for a similar course if one were to pop up at my university in a heartbeat, and I know many other students would want to do the same. Your move, USF.