Students at the University of South Carolina can now take a course that will completely focus on Lady Gaga and how she has both become famous and created her own fame. The course is called “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” and will be taught by sociology professor Mathieu Deflem this coming spring.
Deflem, a professor whose research and academic interests include criminology and policing, is a proud Lady Gaga fan. According to The Daily Gamecock, Deflem first saw Lady Gaga in concert in 2009 and has since seen her perform 28 times. He once met her in an airport, and now, he says, she recognizes him.
His students, however, don’t necessarily have to be gaga for Lady Gaga if they want to take his course. He said, “[Students] don’t have to be hardcore fans. The better fan will not necessarily be the better student. But you have to have some interest in the topic. So if you really don’t like her, you probably shouldn’t take the course. But you don’t have to be an expert.”
So, what will the course be about? It’s going to basically take the story of Lady Gaga and use her rise to fame as a case-study to help students better understand the concept of celebrity from a sociological perspective. Deflem warns that it’s not a music course, nor is it a literary course. It is strictly a sociology course, so students should be aware of that so they know what they are getting into.
Deflem, who runs gagafrontrow.net, has set up a website called gagacourse.net, which is devoted to the upcoming course. On the site, Deflem has listed the breakdown of the course, as well as readings, and requirements. The course will span three sections: an introduction to fame and celebrity, a study of Lady Gaga’s life and music, and then a final section that will examine how the fame of Lady Gaga influences sociological issues, such as politics and sexuality.
One can imagine the great discussion and papers that Deflem might have to respond to within the topics of music, gender, pop culture, and so on. Think of all the crazy Lady Gaga material and picture a group of students around a seminar table analyzing her from a sociological standpoint. Deflem will certainly be happy grading student papers with titles like “Fame Monsters: Mainstreaming the Marginalized” and “The New New Woman: Gender Roles Re-reversed in “Telephone.”” Whatever he’s doing within the course and with his students, Deflem is sure to have fun.
As for whether or not Lady Gaga will visit the class this spring, Deflem says, “I will get the word out to her that I’m doing the course, but it might be logistically too difficult for her to come.”
She will be touring this coming spring to support her new album.