Miley Cyrus to be studied at American university

PETER VINCENT
Last updated 15:17 28/03/2014

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Forget the craft and toil behind Bruce Springsteen's incomparable live act, or the everlasting commitment to creativity shown by the likes of Neil Young, PJ Harvey or Prince. Forget the business acumen and endurance of The Rolling Stones or Madonna, or even the bizarre media baiting by brilliant hip hop star Kanye West.

No thanks. Of all the many hundreds of genuine musical geniuses who American university Skidmore College could have chosen as the focus of a tertiary sociology course they settled on hammer-licking pop princess Miley Cyrus.

Skidmore, in upstate New York, will offer a 2014 summer course entitled 'The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media'. It is the "brainchild" of Skidmore's visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, Carolyn Chernoff.

American music website Billboard.com is reporting that Chernoff got the idea "after teaching a course on youth culture that featured video of Cyrus twerking at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards".

Chernoff's course will "focus on the 21-year-old performer and all her incarnations as a way to study such topics as gender, race, class, fame and power".

Billboard noted that students in the class will not be forced to "do any class twerk". Boom! Tish!

To be fair, university courses about pop stars are nothing new: Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and yes, Kanye have been been the focus of formal university studies. And there's a school of thought that Miley's recent stellar career trajectory - in the face of withering conservative criticism - was so remarkable that she warrants attention just for that, if not being immortalised in study quite yet. She went from being frustrated ex-Disney star to peerless pop provocateur (and hitmaker) within the space of a few months last year, surely the result of a brilliantly conceived and executed plan that may have placed unprecedented power in the hands of the kind of artist who was been manipulated throughout the 20th century: a young woman.

Could uni courses about famous musos happen here? Of course, but which musicians might warrant a tertiary course in their honour?

Some ideas: 'The Sociocultural Pathways Formed by Cultural Artifacts Within The Constructed Identity: Angus Young's School Uniform'. Or the practical note of caution in: 'The Inexplicable Physiology and Constitution of Jimmy Barnes: Don't Try This At Home'.

Or a university could tackle one of Australian music's great mysteries: 'Intertextual Analysis of the Psychosocial Delusion That Is Russell Crowe's 30 Odd Foot of Grunt'.

Let's face it, university courses can seem pretty abstract and even arbitary to outsiders. Case in point: Bruce Springsteen too has been the subject of a course, but not relating to his performances or the fact his lyrics reflect many values of heartland USA. Rutgers University in The Boss's hometown of New Jersey devised a program unpacking the biblical references in his lyrics.

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- FFX Aus

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