Courses on Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rick Ross are Inspiring Law Students

by Chloe Baker
1 comment
Legal Education

In the world of legal education, where the curriculum often revolves around dense subjects like torts and natural resources, a wave of change is sweeping through lecture halls. Law professors are embracing popular culture and celebritydom to engage a new generation of students and make complex legal concepts more accessible. These courses not only draw on the allure of celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rick Ross but also invite guest speakers from their respective worlds to provide firsthand insights into the legal intricacies of their careers.

Taylor Swift: A Legal Muse

One notable example comes from the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law, where Professor Sean Kammer, a self-proclaimed “Swiftie,” decided to incorporate Taylor Swift into his legal writing course. His aim was to encourage his students to reevaluate legal language and construct persuasive arguments through the lens of music and art. The response was beyond his expectations as the class quickly filled up, and even alumni expressed jealousy at the opportunity.

Kammer emphasized that combining entertainment with complex theoretical legal issues can inspire students to think more deeply and push their intellectual boundaries. It’s an innovative approach that resonates with today’s law students, who appreciate the blend of fun and learning.

Rick Ross: Real-Life Legal Drama

At the Georgia State University College of Law, students had the unique opportunity to delve into the legal intricacies of rapper and record executive Rick Ross’s life. Moraima “Mo” Ivory, director of the school’s entertainment, sports, and media law program, believes in bringing legal deals, defenses, and drama to life by inviting celebrities and industry insiders to share their experiences. Students, like Luke Padia, have found this approach more engaging than traditional textbook learning, making complex legal concepts feel tangible and relatable.

Beyoncé’s Influence on Black Feminism

Beyond music, courses analyzing race and gender through the lens of popular culture have gained popularity. For example, Kinitra Brooks, an English professor at Michigan State University, offered a course on Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album and its connection to Black feminism. This course’s success has even led to the publication of a reader for other professors to use. The immediate relatability of pop culture materials encourages student participation and critical thinking.

The Psychology of Taylor Swift

At Arizona State University, a class on the psychology of Taylor Swift has captured the hearts and minds of students. Bella Andrade, a self-proclaimed “huge Swiftie,” appreciates the opportunity to apply social psychology concepts to something she’s deeply invested in. The diverse mix of fans in the class fosters rich discussions and a deeper understanding of various topics.

Evolving Teaching Styles

These courses that incorporate pop culture offer a different context for fundamental legal concepts, bridging the gap between traditional education and the world students are familiar with. As Cathy Hwang, a professor at the University of Virginia, notes, it’s essential to adapt teaching styles to meet students where they are, especially when they come from a generation with different interactions with technology and pop culture.

In conclusion, the integration of celebrities and pop culture into legal education is proving to be an effective way to engage and inspire the next generation of legal minds. By making legal concepts more relatable and accessible, these courses are reshaping the way students perceive and approach the law, ultimately preparing them for a dynamic and ever-changing legal landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Legal Education

Q: What is the main focus of these celebrity-centered law courses?

A: These courses aim to make complex legal concepts more accessible and engaging by using popular culture and celebrity examples as teaching tools.

Q: Are these courses limited to music celebrities like Taylor Swift?

A: No, they cover a wide range of celebrities and industries. For example, there are courses centered around figures like rapper Rick Ross and even TV series like “Succession.”

Q: How do these courses incorporate pop culture and celebrities?

A: Professors often invite guest speakers from the entertainment industry to share real-life insights into legal deals, defenses, and drama related to the celebrity’s career.

Q: What benefits do students gain from these courses?

A: Students find that these courses make legal concepts more tangible and relatable. They also foster critical thinking, rich discussions, and a deeper understanding of various topics.

Q: Are these courses only for law students?

A: While primarily designed for law students, some courses analyzing pop culture from a legal perspective may be open to a broader audience, including undergraduate and graduate students.

Q: Are these courses a recent development in legal education?

A: While they have gained popularity in recent years, courses using pop culture and celebrity examples to teach legal principles have been offered for some time, especially in areas like race and gender studies.

Q: How do professors adapt their teaching styles in these courses?

A: Professors recognize the need to evolve their teaching styles to meet the preferences and learning styles of today’s students, who have grown up with different interactions with technology and pop culture.

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1 comment

LegalEagle November 13, 2023 - 7:33 am

it’s about time they made law interesting for students! celebs and pop culture bring the subject to life.


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