University of Texas to offer course on Beyoncé, Rihanna

Natasha Tinsley UTexas

A post by Peter Jordens.

Adam Hamze of The Daily Texan reports on a class to be offered in the spring of 2015 by the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies of the University of Texas at Austin. The new class is titled “Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism” and will examine how the actions of these women reflect aspects of black feminism.

Natasha Tinsley, associate professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, created the concept for the class and will teach it. She said she chose these two women to be the focal points of the course because she believes they are currently the two most quoted women in the world, and they have the capability of reaching a larger audience than any other activists. “Their words reach around the world in a way no other African-American or Afro-Caribbean woman’s currently does,” Tinsley said. Beyoncé and Rihanna have both sold millions of albums worldwide and are ranked in the top eight of Forbes’ “The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities” of 2014 list.

According to Tinsley, a course on the feminism of women of color is important because it serves as a reminder that this topic offers insight on race, class, gender and sexuality, which are applicable to everyone. “Since black women’s voices have traditionally been excluded from the academy, it’s important to offer courses that feature those voices so that students can have access to the rich analytical tools black feminism offers,” Tinsley said.

This course is one of many offered by the University whose curriculum is focused on popular culture. Mary Beltrán, associate professor who teaches “Film & TV Stardom” in the Department of Radio-Television-Film, said it is important to teach classes about popular culture because it reflects what is relevant in our time period. “I think that it’s helpful for people to consider that pop culture reflects our culture and cultural values and our ideas about race, gender, class and social power,” Beltrán said. […]

Tinsley said she hopes the course can provide students with an understanding of what feminism looks and sounds like. “I hope, first, that they will take away the idea that theorizing is something that black women do everywhere and all the time,” Tinsley said. “Feminism isn’t about hating or detracting from anyone but about cultivating respect and love.”

For the full, original article, go toé-rihanna or

For more about Professor Tinsley, see

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