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Skidmore College Adds Miley Cyrus to the Curriculum

CarolynChernoffPicPer a report by The Saratogian‘s Jennie Grey, it started in the aftermath of the 2013 VMAs and took fuller form this January when Skidmore College visiting assistant professor of sociology Carolyn Chernoff (pictured) gave a lecture at the Women’s Center titled “The Rise and Fall of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.”

Reaction to the talk was generally positive, and as a result, Chernoff is now finalizing the syllabus for a much more extensive examination of Cyrus. A summer learning track:

The course, called The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media, is a 251-level special topics course. Chernoff encourages students to look past the colon in her course title and see what the class is really about.

“I was teaching a course called Youth Culture in and out of School, and the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) became the twerk heard ’round the world,” Chernoff said. “I showed that video to my class, and the students had so much to say.”

Chernoff also impressively couches that infamous “Blurred Lines” performance by Cyrus and Robin Thicke. “Miley is a lens into cultural conflict,” she suggests.

There has been, predictably, quick media reaction to the Saratoga Springs, NY summer offering. Time‘s Lily Rothman defends the idea of courses anchored around celebrities, while BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick reminds that Rutgers’ “Politicizing Beyoncé” is also back this summer.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview with The Daily Gazette‘s Justin Mason, Chernoff said there will be no multiple-choice exams offered as part of the two-and-a-half-hour, three-days-a-week class. Instead, lots of essays.

[Photo courtesy: Skidmore College]

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