Taylor Swift is Going Back to School

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Well, not really. The Clive Davis Institute at New York University launched its first Taylor Swift course on January 26th, and will run until March 9th. It will be instructed by Brittany Spanos, a journalist who covers pop culture and music at Rolling Stone. The class will go over Swift’s transformation as a gifted music entrepreneur, the birthright of pop and country songwriters, discussions about teenage girlhood, and the politics of racial groups in well known modern music. 

The Clive Davis Institute is the first and only program of its kind to administer skilled training in Business and the Arts which leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Recorded Music. Seasoned songwriter and musician, Jason King, will preside over the program. The Institute has provided classes about other famous musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Paul McCartney. In addition, Questlove, “Dilla Time” author Dan Charnas, American rapper Q-Tip, and legendary renowned producer and engineer Bob Power, along with many others have taught classes at the Clive Davis Institute. 

According to Variety, 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 growth as an artist and a celebrity. Through readings, lectures, and more, the class delves into the analyses of the culture and the politics of teen girlhood in pop music, fandom, media studies, whiteness, power as it relates to her image and the images of those who have both preceded and succeeded her. We will also consider topics like copyright and ownership, American nationalism and the ongoing impact of social media on the pop music industry.” In short, students will learn about Swift’s legacy, musical impact, and much more.

The syllabus includes a look at the country and pop stars who have impacted Swift.  Students will learn how her creativity and songwriting made her have a long-lasting existence in an industry that is continuously increasing. Swift has been called in to speak to the class, although the quality of the offer is still undecided. Jason King told Variety that it was a “no brainer” to provide a whole course on Taylor Swift. 

Brittany Spanos is the ideal person to teach this class because even though she is a Swift fan, also known as a Swiftie, she digs deeper into Swift socially. This course will allow students to ponder about Swift and her music through race, gender, feminism, class and other criteria that are connected to a person’s individuality. This social analysis is what the course is all about. Spanos hopes that students will have a greater appreciation for one of the greatest artists of our generation. 

Alexandra Birk, a Queens College freshman, whose major is currently undecided, said that it sounds like a very interesting course, but she wouldn’t take it because she isn’t the biggest Taylor Swift fan, but if it were a different artist that she was really into, there would be a greater chance of her taking the class.

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