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October 30, 2010 12:00 PM Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

By Daniel Luzer

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For the average college student interested in, say, meat-based formal wear, there’s good news. This spring the sociology department of the University of South Carolina will be offering a course on Lady Gaga (right). According to a press release from the university:

The course will introduce students to a sociological analysis of issues related to the work of 24-year-old Stefani Germanotta, a.k.a. as Lady Gaga.
Students who take the course will study socially relevant elements in the rise of Lady Gaga to her current status as a pop music icon, but the course won’t be about musicology, Deflem said. It will instead focus on relevant elements of the societal context of Lady Gaga’s rise to fame, with students better able to engage in scholarly thinking about relevant aspects of popular culture, music, and fame.

Sociology professor Mathieu Deflem, who will be teaching the course, apparently come up with the idea while watching The Tonight Show. He watched Germanotta perform for the first time and thought she was “an extraordinarily talented and exciting new artist who was doing great things musically and creatively.”

Germanotta herself did not actually complete college. After graduating from the Convent of the Sacred Heart in 2003 she entered New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She dropped out of NYU in the middle of her sophomore year.

Students in the class, “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame,” will use sociological theory to explore Lady Gaga’s popularity. One of the required readings for the course is an article called “Us Boys Together Clinging: One Night in a Gay Club.” [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer