Taylor Swift: The Unexpected Star of Academia

Alright, so you know Taylor Swift, right? Well, turns out, she’s not just killing it in the music scene. Her tunes and persona are now a hot topic on college campuses across the US. Like, seriously, universities from Harvard to Stanford are diving deep into courses all about Taylor Swift. Yeah, you read that right!

Academic Craze Around Swift

Imagine this: universities offering classes on her songs and the crazy discussions she sparks. At Arizona State, they’ve got a whole course digging into the psychology of her music. Over at the University of Florida, they’re diving into the role of women in music, starting with Swift and then hitting up legends like Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin.

UC Berkeley? They’ve cooked up a business course inspired by Swift’s mad skills in creating her image and taking control of her work. Plus, you’ve got English classes drawing parallels between her songs and the big shots of literature, like Shakespeare and Yeats.

Swift as the Trojan Horse of Academia

Here’s the thing: when colleges slap Swift’s name on a course, students are all ears. It’s like a secret weapon to make boring stuff way more interesting. Elizabeth Scala, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says Swift helps them talk about things that people might otherwise snooze through.

Student Frenzy Over Swift Classes

People are crazy about these classes! Like, Melina Jimenez, a lecturer at the University of Florida, said her Swift course filled up in seconds. I mean, we’re talking about students scrambling to get in faster than you can say “Swiftie.”

Apparently, Swift’s music does what many textbooks can’t—make learning fun. Plus, it’s way easier to write about some old-school author when you can relate it back to one of Swift’s catchy tunes.

Swift Takes Over Academia

Before these courses, Swift was already a big deal in the instructors’ lives. Scala’s daughter is a huge Swiftie who quizzes her mom about Taylor’s latest tracks. And Jimenez, who’s teaching the Swift course at UF, couldn’t decode Swiftie talk between her students.

“She’s the last monoculture,” Scala said. “Everybody can come together and enjoy (her music). It’s both highly specific and biographical but also really, really relatable to anyone.”

Scala used to hook her students with Harry Potter, but she got bored with it. Then, Swift dropped her extended version of “All Too Well” and bam! Scala found herself building a whole curriculum around that song. She heard literary connections, even a debate about which version of the song was legit.

Swift’s Impact on Hard Discussions

These classes aren’t just fan clubs. Katherine Jeng, who taught a class about Swift at Rice University, made sure to tackle criticisms of Taylor. Like, discussing accusations about using LGBTQ support for money or staying out of politics until later on.

“We allowed space to recognize how she’s learning and growing as a person and as a celebrity,” Jeng said.

Swift: More Than Just a Pop Star

Ava Jeffs, a Stanford student, is a diehard Swift fan. She sees each Swift album as its own storybook with characters and worlds. She even wrote her Stanford application essay about Swift’s song “Clean.” Now, she’s gearing up to teach a course about Swift’s storytelling through song.

For Jeffs, Swift’s music isn’t just tunes; it’s a way to process stuff in life. She believes Swift’s songs put feelings into words in a way that really hits home.

Bottom line? Taylor Swift’s not just a pop sensation—she’s become this unexpected hero of college classrooms, bringing excitement and fresh discussions to subjects that might’ve otherwise gathered dust.