New York University has introduced its first-ever course on Taylor Swift last week (January 26); the class continues through March 9.
The course is taught by Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos, who will cover Swift’s evolution as a creative music entrepreneur, the legacy of pop and country songwriters, discourses of youth and girlhood and the politics of race in contemporary popular music, according to Variety. It’s not easy to get in, however, as the course has a long waitlist, but if you are one of the lucky few, you may have the chance to meet Swift herself. She has been invited to speak to the class, although the status of that request is still pending.
The course description reads: “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 Course Objectives include:
- 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
- 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
- Students will gain an understanding of how discourses of youth and girlhood are often exploited in the media and music industries
- 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
- Students will develop greater sophistication in their artistic appreciation, critical thinking, research and writing skills.
Spanos says of her course, “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, in the same way Clive professors like Jason King, Vivien Goldman and Joe Levy did for me when I took their courses.”