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Another Academic Icon Deconstructed

In a departure from traditional classroom fare, Georgetown University students might have to bring “woofers and turntables to class” this semester instead of books, according to the College Fix [1], which reported that the school is offering an academic course about Rapper Jay-Z [2].

The class, taught by rapper Michael Eric Dyson, who reportedly “riffs on luxury cars and tailored clothes and boasts of being the ‘Mike Jordan of recording,’ may make time for catchy rhymes, but to Dyson, they also reflect incisive social commentary.”

Titled “The Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z,” this class might appear to be a fluke at a school that boasts graduates like former president Bill Clinton. However, Dyson assures the public that the class “confronts topics present in any sociology course: racial and gender identity, sexuality, capitalism and economic inequality,” according to USA Today.
During a recent lecture, Dyson explained that his course “meets people where they are,” – “It’s like Jesus talking to the woman at the well. You ask for a drink of water, then you get into some theological discussions. . .”

However, such charitable views of the hip-hop class may not be the norm. Stephen Wu, a Georgetown junior, critiqued the class in a recent edition of Georgetown’s school paper, The Hoya, noting that “hip-hop cred does not necessarily translate into academic credibility.”

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Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia [3].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [4].