Thursday, November 24, 2011

Beyoncé and Plagiarism

Art in New York

A. Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

B. Reflective Description
Beyoncé was just accused of Plagiarism for her dance moves last month and I played the media coverage on the case before discussing Plagiarism with my class. Most students already knew how to cite sources since my course is a graduation requirement, but they did not know about Beyoncé's case. I wanted to introduce the MLA basics in a unique way but did not want to waste any class time for it, so I decided to do both at once. In this semester, for the first time in my teaching career, I am allowing my class to cite blogs, Facebook posts, and tweets for final papers.

C. Conclusions
Surprisingly, I think many of my students did not know about Beyoncé to begin with. Or were they confused because their "high art" instructor suddenly started to talk about a trivial pop culture phenomenon? In any case, this lecture actually worked fine as a regular art topic even though students were already experienced with the MLA System.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I think your assignment is SUPER relevant to this day and age...where do my ideas end and Beyonce's begin? What is sampling and what is plain copying?

    I will totally use this video to speak of the difference among "homage," "collaboration," and "plagiarism." Thanks!

    P.S. Thanks for letting us know that Beyonce may not be as "current" as we may think...the pace of modern pop culture is dizzying!

  2. I always argue that lack of originality these days and "copy the paste" trend has ruined all pure expressions of art. Then, I ponder, what's really original? Your assignment will not only make students think deeper about what makes their art an original piece, but also inspire them to search for their motivations to create 'new art'. Our goal as educators is to empower them through this process and promote our students to adequately honor others that have come before them and give credit where credit is due. Beyonce is absolute a couple times a year and very popular during award shows, but there is always a lack of original and fresh performances on her part. I think your students will now have a life time lesson to take with them and to questions what is not questioned…

  3. I recommend that you practice the moves before class (just kidding).