Long story short, if you’ve been keeping up with the music industry at all over the past decade, it’s fair to say that you are likely to know the name Taylor Swift. Perhaps you even know her name all too well. However, now the name Taylor Swift isn’t just one you’ll be seeing on the music charts — but in the classroom as well.
So if you haven’t already, tighten your backpack straps and sharpen your pencils because it’s time you get schooled on all things T-Swift (Taylor’s version only, of course)!
Welcome To New York (University)
With the commencement of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music’s newest Swift-themed course, fans, as well as those who have admired the artist’s work from afar, can take a closer look inside Swift’s craft and her rise to an international powerhouse in the music industry.
The trial run of the course will be taught by New York University alumni and Rolling Stone music journalist Brittany Spanos, who is a self-proclaimed Swift expert.
Spanos touched on her adoration for Swift in a statement to Variety: “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.”
She continued to positively gush, adding, “It is such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise.”
With her heartwarming love and admiration for the singer, Spanos is the perfect person to educate New York University students on all things Swift — it’s simply one of those things that just makes sense.
A Place in this World (and the Lecture Hall)
The course is currently underway and will run until March 9. The class syllabus explains that the course will “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 details the main goals of the class on its syllabus:
- 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.”
Like most international superstars, Swift has a dedicated band of supporters; but with fame, hate is an inevitable side effect, which will also be examined in the course. Spanos is also making notes to explore other artists as well, such as those who have directly inspired Swift throughout her lasting career.
Many may ask, “Why have a class dedicated to just Swift?” But for students with aspirations of entering the music industry, a class like this is a game-changer. Equipping them with the knowledge to navigate the ups and downs of someone (Swift) with such a massively successful career, the class will provide tools that students can use going forward — guiding them through the steps they should and shouldn’t take throughout their own futures in such a cutthroat industry.
Everything Has Changed (But Not Really)
This may come as a surprise to some, but this course isn’t the first of its kind at New York University. They’ve had comparable courses available about other pop culture icons like Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and many more. During Spanos’ time studying at New York University, she took courses on recording artists and different music genres, such as Nirvana, Sean Combs (P. Diddy), David Bowie and punk rock. Studying within these music courses ignited a blazing passion that continues to burn within Spanos long after she turned the tassel on her grad cap.
As she recalled in an interview with Forbes, “I wanted to one day be able to return [to NYU] and teach a course like this. I really loved taking all of those classes. I found them also very important and formative for now I thought about those artists and coverage of them over the years.”
…Ready For It?
Swift has been formally invited to attend and speak at a lecture if she’d like, despite the fact that a physical appearance by Swift herself may seem like something out of our wildest dreams, especially considering her very busy schedule. Nothing has been confirmed nor denied, so maybe, just maybe, Swift will come to share her own knowledge with students and give a little more insight into her reputation.
Alongside selling millions of albums all over the world and walking away with 11 Grammy awards, Swift can now add being a collegiate study subject to one of the blank spaces on her constantly expanding resume.
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