Saturday, December 3, 2011

Final Grade: Mixed Reviews on Michael Eric Dyson's Jay-Z Course at Georgetown


Your Black News reports:

When word spread in October that Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, known for dropping a Hip Hop verse mid-conversation, was offering an in depth look into the life and times of Shawn Carter at Georgetown University, he received his share of criticism.

According to Dyson, the course, titled “Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z” tackles the same topics of any sociology class: racial and gender identity, sexuality, capitalism and economic inequality. “It just happens to have an interesting object of engagement in Jay-Z – and what better way to meet people where they are?” Dyson said. “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.”

As the semester draws to a close, some students aren’t so sure Jigga-Man is worthy of academic dissection.

Stephen Wu, a junior at Georgetown wrote an opinion piece in The Hoya, the university paper where he says,“It speaks volumes that we engage in the beat of Carter's pseudo-music while we scrounge to find serious academic offerings on Beethoven and Liszt. We dissect the lyrics of “’Big Pimpin’” but we don't read Spenser or Sophocles closely.”

Hip-Hop journalist, Kevin Powell, says that no study of Jay-Z is complete without discussing his misogyny toward women and his excessive materialism. But then Steve Stoute, the former Interscope exec who was allegedly assaulted by Sean "Diddy" Combs in 1999, has spoken to the class, and he contends that the course "has practical value for those interested in business."

Whether you agree or disagree with Dyson, Jay-Z’s success is undeniable --- depending on one’s standard of success. From the streets of Brooklyn to the CEO of Roc-a-Wear clothing and part owner of the New Jersey Nets, he’s had quit a rise. Maybe, just maybe, that's something that students should be studying --- and all the negative and positive that dwell within Hip-Hop culture.

Weigh in YBNews Readers: Is a Jay-Z course academic pursuit or a waste of time?


Anonymous said...

I cant deny the worldly accomplishment of JZ. I wouldnt call it a waste of time however being a fan of hip hop as a culture, in some circles it may have its place. Now A study of The late TUPAC AMARU SHAKUR! which has been done as well, another thing entirely. When we look at the 2 there is no comparison. In my oppinion. We are talking about someone who sold his soul the former, verses someone who fought and died to keep his! the later. just my take on it. thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Michael Eric Dyson needs to find something to waste Georgetown's money on other than dissecting a black millionaire who became rich singing or speaking rap.

Anonymous said...

Jay-Z is overrated and not worthy of being the focus of a University class unless the class is about sexism, lack of class and foolish things to let come out of your mouth. I know that Mr. Dyson is considered an intellectual, but really he justs seems like an intellectual fool!!! Idiodicy is alive and well even on the University level and people wonder why our world clout is slipping. We're producing educated fools because the standards at our schools have been lowered to such levels that this would even be considered a worthy topic to study much less actually taught!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Dyson is keeping his students' eyes OFF their text messages. It's very difficult today to engage university students, even the brightest ones. I applaud any teacher who can do so. We can have students turn cell phones off, but when it is a large lecture hall,even if the prof walks around, he or she doesn't always see texting going on.
And we don't know the total context. Mr. Dyson is a very astute individual. It is likely that he would use information about JZ to get to larger issues in sociology. We are not in the classroom, and we really have very little information how this was used in the total scheme of the syllabus. Also, how about some trust for teachers. We are entirely too quick to judge teachers these days. We need to put some trust, not absolute trust, but logical trust in our teachers. Thank you.