The University of Texas at Austin is adding a new literary course focused on Taylor Swift’s songwriting, and the students will soon be able to “read” Taylor Swift’s songs alongside those of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and other authors; they will hopefully know everything all too well, by the end of your courses. The course will be called The Taylor Swift Songbook and taught by Dr. Elizabeth Scala. The course is described as an “introduction to literary studies and research methods using the songwriting of Taylor Swift as the basis for teaching a wide range of skills,” according to a post by the UT Department of English. Scala explained, “I want to take what Swift fans can already do at a sophisticated level, tease it out a bit with a different vocabulary, and then show them how Swift draws on richer literary traditions in her songwriting, both topically and formally in terms of how she uses references, metaphors, and clever manipulations of words.”
The Pop Sensation Becoming the Topic of a University Course
The “Lover” singer gave a commencement address and accepted an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from New York University at the year’s May commencement. After that, on January 26th, the Clive Davis Institute at New York University initiated its first-ever course on Taylor Swift, which ran until March 9th. Similarly, many other schools are taking the same course of action. The course description includes objectives like;
- Having students appreciate Taylor Swift’s work as a creative music entrepreneur and understand her music.
- Students will analyze the factors that have contributed to her continued success in the face of the music industry’s rapid transformation.
- Discussions of “prodigies” in pop music history and the legacies of pop and country songwriters who have influenced Swift will be covered.
- Students will develop an awareness of the media’s and music industries’ exploitation of discourses about young women and girls.
- Swift’s politics, songwriting, worldview, and interactions with the broader cultural world provide a rich context for students to learn about the politics of race in modern popular music and to interrogate whiteness. Improved art appreciation, critical thinking, research, and writing skills are among the many benefits for students.
How Academics Dynamics Has Changed
Offering classes at the university level on various subjects that were once thought to fall under the purview of popular culture has become customary over time. For quite a few years, current events and cultural phenomena have been given equal weight in university curricula alongside historical figures and relics. Academic and institutional dynamics can be seen to have shifted as the generation draws closer to the current pop era. The class isn’t the only way college students in Central Texas can study the artist this academic year, as universities are introducing courses based on other pop culture sensations in line with the paradigm shift. In the spring of 2023, an Texas State University Honors College instructor will lead a Harry Styles seminar.