Classroom: Celeb Studies

Looking for a class to fill those last three credits? Now, if you’re a student at George Washington University, you can learn how to write for the tabloids.

Although pop culture classes have been taught for years, this course covers more than just the history of celebrities, even requiring students to cover and write about a red carpet event.

But Linda Kramer Jennings, a former D.C. bureau chief of People Magazine who now teaches the 20-person course, insists that it is not a lesson in tabloid fluff, but, in fact, is worth those three credits. “The field of pop culture within sociology and American studies is very well-developed, and taken seriously,” says Kramer Jennings.

Still, students can fill their cravings for gossip. Each week, the class reads articles from the likes of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, for example.

So, might Celebritology 101 be coming to a university near you? Celeb-themed courses are being taught at Syracuse, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California. European universities are following suit too. In 2005, the University of Paisley in Scotland hosted a conference where academics shared research on stars from David Beckham to Christina Aguilera.

“People are like, ‘What? I thought you wanted to go to med school,’” says Yaminah Giles, a biology major enrolled in the class. “My parents think I should be taking more serious classes...but my friends just think it’s cool.”

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