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Calling all Swifties: you can now listen to Taylor Swift songs and literally call it studying!
Harvard and the University of Florida have joined numerous other colleges in announcing Taylor Swift-focused courses for 2024.
At Harvard University, you can study "Taylor Swift and Her World" with professor, poet, and critic Stephanie Burt. You'll get to learn about the person behind the music, including the savvy businesswoman who created an empire out of a guitar and a love of songwriting.
At the University of Florida, you can study "Musical Storytelling with Taylor Swift and Other Iconic Female Artists" with Melina Jimenez. While this course isn't solely focused on Swift, as it includes other talented artists like Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, and Billie Holiday, it will include plenty of Taylor time. Musical storytelling is one aspect of Swift's music that makes her so popular with fans, and something particularly noticeable in her recent album, Folklore.
These two universities aren't the only ones offering courses based on Swift, Swifties, and the entire media frenzy surrounding her. You'll also find similar courses offered at Ghent University in Belgium, Berklee College of Music, the University of California, Arizona State, the University of Texas, New York University, and Stanford.
But these courses are more than time spent glorifying Swift (as much as we'd love that!); instead, they use her work as a starting point to examine the broader cultural issues and touchstones. Additionally, some courses analyze how Swift's lyrics intersect with the literary canon, comparing her work to the writings of William Wordsworth and Willa Cather, to name a few influences.
This is also not the first time that contemporary pop culture has found its seat in the classroom. Texas State University had a class focused on Harry Styles, San Diego State offered a course on Bad Bunny, and UC Berkley led a class on Nicki Minaj.
Swift courses are an opportunity to bring student's own passions into their education, and to examine a cultural phenomenon in an educational setting. I know I'm ready to sign up!