In a surprising turn of events, Harvard University will offer a class centered around the relationship of artist Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce. Harvard English professor Stephanie Burt will be leading the class titled “Taylor Swift and Her World.”
The class aims to explore Swift’s lyrics, music, and influence by dissecting her catalog and delving into various authors that Burt deems relevant to understanding Swift’s artistry. While the primary focus is on Swift, students are encouraged to place her within the broader context of American art and literature.
The required readings for the class include works such as Willa Cather’s portrayal of the female artist in “The Song of the Lark” and James Weldon Johnson’s “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man,” a novel examining issues of race and class in the post-Reconstruction South. The syllabus covers a range of topics, including the urban-rural divide in America and insights into Swift’s transition from a country artist in Nashville to a pop sensation in New York.
According to Burt, Swift’s complex relationships with the concepts of Americanness, white Americanness, and middle America will be explored in the class.
Through her course, Burt asserts that this influence on politics and culture is worthy of study and analysis. After all, students will spend at least one paper delving into “the songwriting, singing, performance, or life and career of Taylor Swift.”
“We are lucky enough to be living in a time when one of our major artists is also one of the most famous people on the planet,” Burt says. “Why would you not have a course on that?”
Because of Swift’s widespread popularity, Burt expects the course will have wide engagement.
The “Taylor Swift and Her World” class is set to debut in the spring semester, and it’s anticipated to attract significant interest from students. The diverse range of topics covered in the class syllabus could make it a popular choice, and enrollment might be competitive.