University courses on celebrities are gaining popularity
(NewsNation) – Advertisers know that celebrities sell, but it might surprise some people to learn that college professors do too.
A growing number of universities are turning to the cult of personality to teach an increasingly demanding class of university “consumers”. Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and the Beatles have all been the subject of lessons, and now Harry Styles is joining the ranks.
The styles will be the subject of a course at Texas State University this fall. The teacher who organized the class, Louie Dean Valencia, said the singer would help with the story.
“Really, students are going to look at the last 12 years of history, since Harry Styles became famous,” Valencia said. “And for a lot of our students, who are maybe 18, 12, that’s a long time.”
Call it Celebrity 101. It was alive and well with the Beatles at Indiana University in the early 1980s, and today’s celebrities like the Kardashians provide plenty of lessons.
At the University of Nebraska, they are the main subjects of an advertising and public relations course.
“(It’s) understanding influence, digital influence…and when you look at the Kardashians, they’ve been able to master influence on media every step of the way,” said Kelli Britten, the professor classes. “They had the blogs, they had the paid apps, then they jumped into social media, then, you know, they got into mainstream media with a TV show.”
The American television family has students read 13 different textbooks and 25 peer-reviewed articles. And not everyone is in class because they are in love.
“I had one this semester that was, ‘Well, my girlfriend likes the Kardashians, so I thought I’d take the class,'” Britten said. “But they seem to be extremely positive in this space of, ‘I’ve learned so much because it’s through this pop culture space that I know. “”
Learning, whether from Styles or Kim Kardashian and the gang, can inspire an understanding of arts and history that can pay off down the line.