Comm. Class Explores Celebrity, Social Media, and Branding

Kardashian BookStudents who are looking to dive deeper into the fame and celebrity of the Kardashian family can do so with Dr. Amanda McClain’s special topics course in the spring semester, COMM 399 - Celebrity, Social Media, and Branding. The course is based off of McClain’s book, "Keeping Up the Kardashian Brand: Celebrity, Materialism, and Sexuality."

The course is open to all majors.

“Celebrities are everywhere in our culture, from social media to politics,” McClain said. “They embody certain ideals and values, which are important to understand. Mediated popular culture, like celebrity, offers a way of analyzing American culture. Through the lens of celebrity, we learn about our peers, our society, and ourselves.”

This course will examine how social media can create celebrity and brands. Celebrity offers insight into American culture: societal norms, values, and ideologies. Students will examine the paradoxes of sexuality/conservatism, family/business, beauty/unhappiness, narcissism/celebrity, intimate/transgressive, and traditional/non-traditional gender roles, as well as materialism and public/private sphere themes.

“I hope students will see that we create celebrities and that celebrities reflect us,” McClain said. “Why is culture fascinated with women who flout the rules of convention? What does that say about American culture? The Kardashians are a way of talking about sensitive topics: race relations, LGBTQ and trans issues, materialism, femininity, masculinity, and sexuality, among others. It should be an interesting class for all.”