Taylor Swift’s Influence in Music and Culture

Taylor Swift’s influence is becoming a subject of academic study, with both Harvard and the University of Florida introducing courses dedicated to the renowned musician in the spring of 2024.

Harvard’s course, titled “Taylor Swift and Her World,” will be led by instructor Stephanie Burt from the English department. It will explore themes like fan culture, celebrity culture, adolescence, adulthood, and appropriation. The curriculum will trace Swift’s musical roots, acknowledging her impact and drawing connections to predecessors like Dolly Parton. The course will cover Swift’s extensive catalog, emphasizing songwriting as a distinct art form.

At the University of Florida, the English faculty instructor Melina Jimenez will lead the “(Un)Common” course, focusing on Swift’s timeless songwriting. This course aims to draw parallels between Swift’s lyrics and works of other iconic female artists like Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Dolly Parton. The curriculum will also explore the contributions of Cuban music icon Gloria Estefan, with a special emphasis on the musical “On Your Feet!”

These courses reflect a growing trend in academic exploration of Taylor Swift’s impact on culture and music, with similar courses offered at institutions such as Arizona State University, UC Berkeley, the University of Texas, and Stanford University.

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