Michael Eric Dyson Set To Teach Course On Jay-Z at Georgetown University

October 13, 2011  |  

This Fall, Michael Eric Dyson, noted author, educator, and public speaker will be teaching a sociology class titled “The Sociology of Jay-Z” at Georgetown University. Dyson will draw from texts such as Jay-Z’s own Decoded, Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes, and Zack O’Malley Greenburg’s Empire State of Mind, along with other articles and films about hip-hop culture.

Dyson spoke with MTV about the project last week while at Jay-Z’s carnival-themed fundraiser for the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation:

“We look at his incredible body of work, we look at his own understanding of his work, we look at others who reflect upon him, and then we ask the students to engage in critical analysis of Jay-Z himself. Not only is he a remarkable rhetorical genius, he’s also a man of deep sympathy and empathy for those who are lost and vulnerable, but especially under-educated youth of all cultures and stripes” Dyson explained.

“The Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z” is not the first course at an institution of higher learning that focuses primarily on hip-hop or an extraordinary hip-hop superstar, however it does speak to a growing academic interest in hip-hop culture and more efforts in the classroom to look at the music as a form of social expression and activism. Jay-Z has built his career on being extremely honest about the trappings of the inner city, whether he’s focusing on young men and women being the product of a failed education system or selling drugs as a means of commerce in communities that are jobless. This course is an amazing opportunity to look not only at the conditions that create the urban struggle but also an opportunity for students to think critically about solutions to problems faced by those who live in poverty in American cities. Yeah, it’s that deep.

According to Dyson, there is an incredible amount interest and excitement on campus, where a typical class may have 30-40 slots, over 140 students have attempted to sign up for this class in particular. This is definitely a step in the right direction by Georgetown University, Dyson, and a more positive look for Jay-Z. Hopefully more schools will take note to the global phenomenon that is hip-hop culture and the artistry it represents. [MTVRapFix]

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