Taylor Swift Inspires College Music Course

The New York University Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has launched its first-ever course on Taylor Swift.

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Led by Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos, the class, which commenced on Jan. 26 and will run through March 9, follows the evolution of Swift’s career as a songwriter, entrepreneur, and artist in country and pop. Chaired by writer and artist Jason King, the course will also cover the exploitation of youth and girlhood in entertainment, race in pop music, the legacy of pop and country music, and more.

“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 own growth as an artist and a celebrity,” reads the course description. “Through readings, lectures, and more, the class delves into analyses of the culture and politics of teen girlhood in pop music, fandom, media studies, whiteness and power as it relates to her image and the images of those who have both preceded and succeeded her. We’ll also consider topics like copyright and ownership, American nationalism, and the ongoing impact of social media on the pop music industry.

Taylor Swift (Photo: Republic Records)

The Clive Davis Institute has already featured classes taught by producer and engineer Bob Power, Questlove, Q-Tip, Dilla Time author Dan Charnas, and others.

“Teaching a course at Clive Davis has been a dream of mine since I attended NYU,” said Spanos. “I took several of the ‘Topics in Recorded Music’ courses in the program while an undergrad and they were foundational to my work as a music journalist.”

Spanos, who has been covering the ascension of Swift throughout her career, more than a decade ago, is also a longtime fan of the artist.

“It’s such an honor to be able to share my ‘Swiftie’ expertise with a sharp group of students,” added Spanos. “I hope to help them rethink how to engage with one of the things world’s biggest and sometimes divisive stars, in the same way, Clive professors like Jason King, Vivien Goldman, and Joe Levy did for me when I took their courses.”

Photo: Beth Garrabran / Republic Records

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