Miley Cyrus to be Studied in New University Course Caitlin Fitzgibbons

Skidmore College in upstate New York has announced that as part of this summer’s available curriculum, students will be able to enroll in a course entitled “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.” The new course, which has three students registered, will be taught by assistant professor Carolyn Chernoff and will meet three times a week for two-and-a-half hours. That’s nearly eight hours of Miley a week.

While that’s probably too much Miley, I think you could actually learn a few things in the class. Chernoff’s intent is not for students to learn to twerk or the proper way to stick out your tongue; instead, she wants to view the cultural phenomenon of Miley from a sociology perspective. “From Disney tween to twerking machine, Miley Cyrus has grown up in the public eye, trying on and discarding very different identities on-screen and off,” said Chernoff reading the course description. “She provides rich examples for analyzing aspects of intersectional identities and media representation.”

Ever since Miley’s VMA performance, it seems we’ve all become fixated on the former Disney star and the transformation of her personal brand. Since then, the media and people of all generations have been abuzz sharing their opinions of Miley. Many say they don’t like her,  myself included, but we still talk about her at length, tweet about her, listen to her music, watch her videos and attend her concerts. Studying this cultural fascination would be interesting. I think there are actually many things we might learn studying our society through this lens. Here are some things I think we could learn using Miley as subject matter:

  • How female pop stars are viewed differently in the media vs male pop stars
  • The process of reinventing your personal brand
  • The different standards for sexuality in performance between males and females
  • How marketing contributes to the success and trajectory of an artist’s career

And that’s just to name a few. Students at Skidmore can expect rigorous coursework and must have taken an intro to Sociology course to enroll. I’m certainly curious to hear how the class is received by students this summer. Overall, it sounds like it will be a truly fascinating way to study sociology, providing real world examples and endless topics for conversation and debate.

So what do you think? Would you take the class? Is Miley really worth studying? Let us know in the comments below!

comments

Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting spam, advertisements, and links to other websites or blogs. we reserve the right to remove your comment if it does not adhere to these guidelines. thanks! post a comment.

  1. Also, we’re much too small to be considered a university :p

  2. It’s amazing how this course is being reported about EVERYWHERE, including international online journals and now here! I’m a Skidmore student and, honestly, we are a liberal arts college full of hipsters who love this sort of stuff. I’m just appreciative of the fact that HelloGiggles is reporting about the class in terms of what it actually is. Most other places are ignoring the fact that it’s a sociology class and that, yes, Skidmore students are serious. (We’re a “new Ivy”!) Anyways, if I weren’t graduating and if I didn’t have required credits to worry about taking care of, I’d take this class.

    • Glad you liked the post! I went to Boston College and took a sociology course called “Shop ‘Til You Drop.” It was definitely a fun name, but a serious class and one of my favorites. Do you know anyone that’s enrolled in the Miley class?

  3. Sounds like an awesome class! When I was in college at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN the Art History professor had a class about Lady Gaga in relation to art history, religious symbolism and pop culture and I only heard fantastic things…

HelloGiggles Podcast