By Katharine Q. Seelye
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta may not sound famous, but the University of South Carolina is offering a course next spring devoted to her — and the sociology of fame.
Apparently one secret to becoming famous is to change your name. Ms. Germanotta now goes by Lady Gaga.
What else accounts for the soaring popularity of the 24-year-old global phenom? The question has intrigued and inspired Mathieu Deflem, 48, a sociology professor at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, who plans to teach a course called “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame.” He believes it is the only such full-time college course in the country.
He wants to explore what makes a person famous and what being famous means in today’s culture. Or, as the course description puts it: “The central objective is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga.”