Kanye vs Ye: Genius by design: All about Concordia’s Kanye West fine art course


Taught by Iraqi professor and rapper Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman, the course sparks debate among students

The Concardia class will be the first in Canada dedicated to the West. Graphic Joey Bruce

Concordia’s new fine arts class, Kanye vs. Ye: Genius by design, is causing division among students.

While the 200-seat class filled up within days, some students have reservations about the intentions behind the class.

The professor, Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman, has been teaching fine arts at Concordia since 2013, while also pursuing a career as a rapper.

As a teacher, he said his responsibilities to his students are to make sure the lessons are memorable as well as teachable moments for them.

Kanye West’s class isn’t the first class the professor has dedicated to a hip-hop artist. Previous classes taught by Alsalman at Concordia included one on Lauryn Hill and another on A Tribe Called Quest. He explained that he believes in the importance of studying living artists.

“More [of] At the time, there was a tendency to study deceased artists because it relieved the professor of a story that flowed and grew. I believe it’s important to celebrate people while they’re here,” Alsalman said.

He added that teaching is evolving alongside the Internet and that teachers should adapt their approach to subjects accordingly.

“I just want to think outside the box,” he said of his teaching style.

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Eldad Tsabary, the Area Head of Interdisciplinary Studies in Fine Arts, explained that FFAR courses are interdisciplinary and compulsory for all fine arts students, in addition to being open to all non-fine art students. arts.

He added that the faculty seeks to explore relevant, timely and accessible topics in the field of culture and fine arts. “Each year, we invite our professors to come up with new topics to keep the course offering fresh and relevant,” Tsabary said.

“I just want to think outside the box.”
—Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman

Michelle Hossari, a third-year marketing student, said she signed up for the course before it went viral. She admitted she wouldn’t have signed up if the feud between Kanye, Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson hadn’t happened. Since she was already avidly reading about this feud for entertainment purposes, she figured she might as well take a class on it.

“I’m already studying him, his character, [and] her brand. I might as well get some credits out of it,” Hossari said.

As someone who works in PR as a publicist, she added, “Kanye is a prime example of a PR crisis that needs to be managed.” She considers it a case study that can help her in her career in terms of understanding why celebrities act the way they do.

“Kanye, to me, is a great example of a celebrity getting lost in fame and glory, and studying why that happens is relevant and timely,” Hossari said.

She clarified that the people who hate Kanye are the ones “probably needing to take this class the most. [They] forget that celebrities are people just like us, and fame and the stress of success have ruined so many of their lives.

“I think Concordia is doing something that other universities need to learn: stay timely and relevant for the next generation of students,” she said.

In addition to being fun, Hossari said this class differs from traditional Concordia classes in a positive way because it’s something she can discuss with friends.

“It is, for me, when I feel most educated – when I can add ideas to relevant topics in conversations with friends and family,” Hossari concluded.

However, not everyone is thrilled that this course is offered at Concordia. Sophomore sociology student Jacob Wade, however, believes that having a course aimed at studying an artist’s content isn’t a bad idea, “to proclaim them as [being] genius […] put them on a pedestal.

According to him, West has shown a clear pattern of misogynistic behavior throughout his career, and he worries that this behavior is not critically analyzed in the fine arts curriculum.

“I think a class analyzing [toxic celebrity and toxic masculine behaviour] would be very interesting, and I would probably take it,” he said. “But this class is just trying to build their ego out of sound.”

The Kanye vs Ye: Genius by design course, offered only in the fall 2022 semester, will be the first course in Canada dedicated to West. But, as Alsalman wrote on Instagram, “This class isn’t just about Kanye. It’s about community, creativity, accountability, responsibility, fame and sanity, dreams and nightmares, and most importantly, self-actualization.


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