Woman Graduates With a Master's Degree in ... The Beatles
And on Jan. 26, the 53-year-old music professor at the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Ontario can proudly say she's the first person in the world to graduate a certified Beatles scholar.
"It's been a really intense 18 months doing the course, then the dissertation, and I'm working full time back home at the college," she said in an interview. "So I'm really chuffed -- very proud and excited to the first to get this degree."
The former Miss Canada finalist applied for the program after Ontario required college department heads to have postgraduate degrees. The one-of-a-kind course studied the Beatles' studio sound and compositions and how Liverpool shaped the band's music. Wanting to pursue her own music career 30 years ago, Zahalan-Kennedy has always been deeply rooted in music and even was a nominated for a Juno (a prestigious Canadian music award) in 1983.
And while some are still skeptical that the Beatles belong in academia, Zahalan-Kennedy, whose thesis explored the "latent post-colonial cultural capital" that helped Canadian music fans fall into Beatlemania, begs to differ.
"It's absolutely academic," she told the BBC. "It was an examination of how The Beatles came to be. What the political and social climate was and the cultural aspects that helped to facilitate an environment where The Beatles' could happen. It was a lot of history. It was very much having to understand all of the history of British music, British politics and the economic state of the country at the time and what people where doing to stay positive and how music impacted on everyday life."
While we congratulate her on being the first Beatles scholar, it does make you wonder -- which musical icon will we be able to get a degree in next?
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