Taylor Swift’s influence is set to become a subject of academic study as both Harvard and the University of Florida announce courses dedicated to the renowned musician in the spring of 2024.
Titled “Taylor Swift and Her World” and “Musical Storytelling With Taylor Swift and other Iconic Female Artists” respectively, these courses will explore various aspects of Swift’s career and impact.
At Harvard, the English department, under the guidance of instructor Stephanie Burt, will delve into themes such as fan culture, celebrity culture, adolescence, adulthood, and appropriation.
The course will not only acknowledge Taylor Swift’s influence but also trace her musical roots, drawing connections to predecessors like Dolly Parton.
The curriculum will span Swift’s extensive catalog, encompassing hits, deep cuts, outtakes, and re-recordings, while emphasizing songwriting as a distinct art form.
Meanwhile, at the University of Florida, English faculty instructor Melina Jimenez will lead the “(Un)Common” course, focusing on Swift’s timeless songwriting.
The course aims to draw parallels between Swift’s enchanting lyrics and the works of other iconic female artists, including Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Dolly Parton. The curriculum will also explore the contributions of Cuban music icon Gloria Estefan, with a special emphasis on the musical “On Your Feet!”
These courses are part of a growing trend of academic exploration into Taylor Swift’s impact on culture and music.
In recent years, similar courses have been offered at institutions such as Arizona State University, UC Berkeley, the University of Texas, and Stanford University.
Taylor Swift herself has received recognition in academia, having spoken at New York University’s commencement ceremony last year and being awarded an honorary doctorate from the institution.
By Kahawa Tngu