If we could attend a college course just on Taylor Swift, not only would we get 100% attendance rate, but we might even ace it as well. Needless to say, our laptops are ready.
People often like to say that Taylor Swift is the music industry. And they aren’t entirely wrong. Ever since she made her debut over 15 years ago, Taylor Swift has proven herself to be a commercial, critical, and cultural juggernaut. Her impact is real, shaking the music industry to it’s core. And as further validation of Taylor’s icon status, recently, the music superstar actually has a college course all about her. An entire college course about Taylor Swift? Maybe dreams do come true.
TAYLOR SWIFT 101
Beginning last January 26 and running until March 9, the Taylor Swift class is offered by New York University’s Clive Davis Institute. The class is taught by Rolling Stone staff writer Britanny Spanos and will teach a variety of topics. Lessons to be taught include Taylor’s rise in the music industry, the legacy of pop and country songwriters, discourses of youth and girlhood, and the politics of race in today’s pop music. While it indeed would be a dream to learn all about Taylor Swift, it’s also nice that the class incorporates other important topics. Because as we all know, Taylor’s rise to legend status was not without it’s fair share of sexism and other social issues that today’s youth should be aware of.
WHAT YOU’LL ACTUALLY LEARN
According to Variety, the class’s description reads as follows: “This course proposes to deconstruct both the appeal and aversions to Taylor Swift through close readings of her music and public discourse as it relates to her own growth as an artist and a celebrity. Through readings, lectures and more, the class delves into analyses of the culture and politics of teen girlhood in pop music, fandom, media studies, whiteness and power as it relates to her image and the images of those who have both preceded and succeeded her. We’ll also consider topics like copyright and ownership, American nationalism and the ongoing impact of social media on the pop music industry.”
The class’s objectives, meanwhile intends for you to get a full grasp of modern day music through the lens of Taylor Swift. Ah, things we should know all too well at this point.
1. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for Taylor Swift as a creative music entrepreneur; Students will learn to deconstruct the way her creativity and songwriting have made her a durable presence in a quickly evolving music industry;
2. Students will learn about the legacy of pop and country songwriters that have influenced Swift as well as the discourses around “prodigies” in pop music history;
3. Students will gain an understanding of how discourses of youth and girlhood are often exploited in the media and music industries;
4. Students will learn about the politics of race in contemporary popular music, and to interrogate whiteness as it relates to Swift’s politics, songwriting, worldview and interactions with the wider cultural world around her;
5. Students will develop greater sophistication in their artistic appreciation, critical thinking, research and writing skills.
TAUGHT BY A SWIFTIE
Aside from being a writer for Rolling Stone, Britanny Spanos is actually a self-described Swiftie and alumni of the school. So, Swifties can rest easy knowing that even their teacher stans Taylor. “I’ve been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer. It’s such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students. I hope to help them rethink how to engage with one of the things world’s biggest and sometimes divisive stars,” shared Spanos to Variety.
And if you’re wondering, yes, Taylor Swift was asked to speak to the class, though no word yet on if she will actually do it. If you’re thinking about taking the class, you may have to wait a while as according to the school, there is currently a long waitlist of students. But based on updates shared by Spanos, we’re hopeful we get a spot on the list ASAP.
for all those waiting on updates on how the taylor class is going, i played dear john more than once and went on a too long tangent about gaga’s 2009 vma performance (i promise i had a point)— brittany spanos (@ohheybrittany) February 3, 2022
Taylor Swift isn’t the only music superstar to get their own college course. Drake and The Weeknd have a class on them in the University of Toronto. Beyoncé had a college class about her in 2017 at Copenhagen University. While a few colleges taught courses on Lady Gaga.