The Collegian
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

New rhetoric course focuses on Lady Gaga

Madison Moore, a doctoral candidate at Yale University, will join the Richmond Theatre and Dance and Rhetoric and Communications departments in the fall among his courses one will focus on Lady Gaga and the persona she has created.

Moore graduated from the University of Michigan in 2006, where he said he had studied French literature and violin performance. At Yale, he had a primary discipline in performance studies and a secondary discipline in cultural studies. He will finish his dissertation over the summer.

Moore's enthusiasm and excitement about his class, which he said he had created himself, could be sensed immediately. He said it would depend on the popularity of the class whether he would teach it again second semester or come up with another course idea.

"It is very important to take popular and performance culture seriously, as a way to understand heavy socio-cultural issues," he said of his Lady Gaga course.

"We are going to have a lot of fun listening to her music and talking about her many and various headpieces--and perhaps making our own--but it is also going to be hard work thinking about what, specifically, her performance practice does."

He said that talking about Lady Gaga would open up a host of other issues, including "performance art, Dada, drag, ethnicity, fascination, stardom and fan cultures, and much more. "But I don't want to give it all away," he said.

Moore said that this is his first time teaching the Gaga class, but he has taught similar classes in the past. "I recently taught a class at Yale on music and nightlife in New York City, and I taught some courses at Parsons The New School for Design on supermodels and popular cultures," he said. "I have a pretty good record for teaching classes like this."

"I have so many ideas for different classes," he said. "I would like to teach a class on electronic dance music, but I'm also really interested in popular culture, music, fashion, reality television, performance and everyday life. I will always have something fabulous to offer."

Mari Lee Mifsud, chairwoman of the Rhetoric and Communications studies department, first met Moore at a Modern Language Association (MLA) conference in New Orleans. Dorothy Holland, associate professor of theatre, said that Mifsud had gone directly to the dean after leaving the conference and told him how perfect Moore would be for the position, before he had even applied.

Moore then visited Richmond a number of times. He gave a presentation on fierceness and quickly captured faculty and students, Holland said.

Mifsud had only kinds words to say about the first time she met Moore: "He wowed everybody. He is deeply authentic, the kind of person who I am eager to hear what he has to say next. He drew me in as a listener and drew me out as a speaker, and I felt that we would be truly fortunate if we could bring him into our community."

Mifsud said that word of Moore's arrival had not yet been publicized but that the news would be circulated during advising. Holland said that she expected the class to fill up very quickly.

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Moore said that he was very much looking forward to teaching at Richmond. When he visited before, he said that he had met some students and everyone seemed engaged and excited about what he was going to do. "I am very excited to join the community. It is going to be great."

Contact staff writer Charlotte Brackett at

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