Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Taylor Swift: Harvard University offers a course on her songs.

By triji Apr 23, 2024
News

In the current academic year, students had the opportunity to enroll in a course that was only focused on Taylor Swift and was given the title “Taylor Swift and Her World.” As many as fifty individuals joined together to listen to and discuss the singer’s most recent album.

This past semester, students at Harvard University were given the opportunity to take a class that was solely devoted to Taylor Swift and was given the title “Taylor Swift and Her World.” For the purpose of listening to and analyzing the singer’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, which was published on Friday, April 19, 2024, approximately fifty of them gathered together.

During this course, students will not only investigate Taylor Swift’s discography, but they will also engage in literary comparisons and analyses of popular culture.

According to the story that was published in the New York Times on April 19, students spent the night listening to the CD and discussing it as soon as it was announced that it was available for purchase. One of the students who took part in the nightly listening session noted that they began by listening to the CD in silence, and then they quickly moved on to doing analysis. The occasion was even commemorated by the manufacture of friendship bracelets, which served as a sign of social interaction and participation from fans.

An approach to popular music that draws from multiple disciplines

The course that is being provided by Harvard not only examines the lyrics that Taylor Swift has written, but it also makes connections between her songs and the works of other poets and writers, such as Willa Cather and Shakespeare. “The song Clara Bow immediately made me think of the novel The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather, which is also about big musical ambitions and the effort to escape a small town,” revealed 20-year-old student Makenna Walko. “The Song of the Lark is also about the effort to escape a small town.”

The course also addresses more complicated topics, such as fan culture, celebrity, and queer subtexts (which originally meant “weird” but are now used to refer to all or some sexual and gender minorities). The goal of the course is to get an understanding of how these variables influence how Swift’s work is perceived and received by the public. When asked about the connections between the song and Sylvia Plath’s genius, a student responded, “I hesitate to say that the song comes close to the genius of Sylvia Plath – no offense to Taylor Swift – but I can definitely see some similarities in the themes, such as sadness, depression, and mental health.”

The University of Florida is using the same approach.

Lola DeAscentiis, a sophomore, centered her attention on the song “But Daddy I Love Him,” seeing parallels between it and the poem “Daddy” written by Sylvia Plath. In addition, she intends to discuss the connection between these two components at the final examination that she will take at the end of the academic year.

As a result of the growing number of college classes that are devoted to well-known artists like Taylor Swift, pop music is rapidly being recognized not only as a form of artistic expression, but also as a phenomena that is deserving of serious academic investigation.

Furthermore, the University of Florida is also providing a course on Taylor Swift during this term, demonstrating that Harvard University is not the only institution that provides specialist programs on the subject. According to what she wrote on her website, “In this course, students will embark on thirteen wonderful weeks of discussion of Taylor Swift’s discography, with an emphasis on her songwriting (…).”

In the previous month, Harvard University made the announcement that I would be teaching a class that would be named “Taylor Swift and Her World” during the following semester. This class would be an open-enrollment lecture that would focus on Swift’s work and career, as well as literature (poems, novels, memoirs) that overlaps with or relates to that work. Following the dissemination of the news, my inbox was flooded with dozens of inquiries, some of which came from as far away as New Zealand. The reporters were curious about whether or not Taylor Swift would attend the class (they did not anticipate that she would), whether or not her online superfans would be involved (some of them would be), whether or not Harvard would give its approval (yes, at least so far), and most importantly, why a Millennial pop artist should be given this kind of attention at a university of this particular caliber.

In some respects, the response is straightforward. If the study of culture, especially the culture of the current day, is something that should be included in the humanities, and if Taylor Swift is a prominent part of that culture, then it is only natural that we should inquire about the reasons and the background of the Swift phenomenon. When looking back at how Americans accepted Taylor Swift as an artist, questioned her ascent to fame, and changed their impressions of her over the course of time, this is what a cultural historian of the future would do. Deciphering the rituals that surround Taylor Swift’s concerts and album releases, or discovering cross-cultural patterns in the way that her followers react to her voice and her work, are both examples of what a cultural anthropologist would undertake.

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