Celebrity News

published : 2023-11-30

Taylor Swift's Music Explored in New Harvard Course on Race, Class, and 'White Americanness'

Students to Analyze Swift's Influence on Politics and Culture

Taylor Swift performing at a concert, capturing the energy and passion of her live performances. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Renowned pop star Taylor Swift is set to be the subject of a groundbreaking course at Harvard University next semester.

Titled 'Taylor Swift and Her World,' the English Department course will dive deep into Swift's celebrated songcraft, exploring themes of race, class, and 'White Americanness.'

English professor Stephanie Burt, a self-proclaimed Swift enthusiast, will lead the course, offering students a unique perspective on Swift's music and its impact on society.

Drawing on a diverse range of texts, the syllabus will guide students in thinking critically about White texts, Southern texts, transatlantic texts, and queer subtexts.

The course aims to address a variety of socio-cultural issues, including race, class, and identity, through the lens of Swift's lyrics and music.

Stephanie Burt, English professor at Harvard University, passionately discussing Taylor Swift's impact on society. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

From exploring Willa Cather's portrayal of the female artist in 'The Song of the Lark' to dissecting James Weldon Johnson's 'The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man,' students will embark on a thought-provoking journey.

Swift's own words echo throughout the course as students examine her reflections on life, love, and learning in hits like 'New Romantics' and 'Bejeweled.'

Harvard's decision to include pop culture in its curriculum follows a growing trend among major universities, with other icons like Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and Bruce Springsteen receiving similar treatment.

Swift's influence on politics and culture also plays a significant role in the syllabus, particularly her advocacy for women's and LGBTQ+ rights.

Despite her initial focus on music-making, Swift's involvement in political conversations has been widely recognized and praised, solidifying her position as a cultural influencer.

Students engaged in a lively discussion about race, class, and 'White Americanness' in Taylor Swift's music. (Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III)

Through this course, Professor Burt aims to demonstrate that Swift's impact deserves serious study and analysis, positioning her as one of the major artists of our time.

As students immerse themselves in Swift's catalog, she becomes a gateway to exploring America's urban-rural divide, the complexities of White Americanness, and the evolving nature of identity.

Harvard believes that by delving into these critical topics through the lens of pop music, students can gain a deeper understanding of contemporary society and foster meaningful conversations.