Many of our posts focus on colleagues’ research, but teaching is also newsworthy.  The student newspaper at the University of South Carolina recently ran an article about an upcoming sociology course at USC—Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame.

The professor, Mathieu Deflem, explained the idea behind the course:

“We’re going to look at Lady Gaga as a social event,” Deflem said. “So it’s not the person, and it’s not the music. It’s more this thing out there in society that has 10 million followers on Facebook and six million on Twitter. I mean, that’s a social phenomenon. It’s a global social phenomenon. So the central question of the course is, this fame, which is ironically also the theme of her first records, how can it be accounted for? What are some of the mechanisms and some of the conditions of Lady Gaga’s rise to popularity?”

Deflem added that another key question of the course is, “What does it mean, and how does a person become famous?”

Deflem usually teaches criminology, the sociology of law, and policing, but he is excited to examine the popular social phenomenon in a sociological light.

In the beginning, the course will deal with the sociology of popularity in general. The first couple weeks probably won’t be about Lady Gaga at all. But then the Gaga scenario will be used as a real-life example detailing sociological traits. More specific information about the course content can be found at – a site Deflem has already created for the class.