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Taylor Swift's career and cultural impact to be studied in newly-launched course at NYU


Taylor Swift’s impressive career and cultural impact is now being studied by students attending New York University’s Clive Davis Institute.

The first-ever course – which already boasts a ‘long waitlist’ – launched on Sunday, January 26 and will continue through Wednesday, March 9, according to Variety.

‘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 official course description.

Class is in session! Taylor Swift's impressive career and cultural impact is now being studied by students attending New York University's Clive Davis Institute; Swift pictured in 2019

Class is in session! Taylor Swift’s impressive career and cultural impact is now being studied by students attending New York University’s Clive Davis Institute; Swift pictured in 2019

A rep told the outlet that Swift, 32, has been formally invited to speak to the class but the request is ‘still pending.’

The Taylor Swift-centered course is being taught by Rolling Stones staff writer and self-professed Swift ‘super fan’ Brittany Spanos.

It is noted in the course description that Swift’s career will be examined through political and cultural lenses. 

‘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,’ it reads.

Popular: The first-ever course - which already boasts a 'long waitlist' - launched on Sunday, January 26 and will continue through Wednesday, March 9, according to Variety

Popular: The first-ever course – which already boasts a ‘long waitlist’ – launched on Sunday, January 26 and will continue through Wednesday, March 9, according to Variety

In depth: '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 official course description

In depth: ‘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 official course description

Student will also ‘consider topics like copyright and ownership, American nationalism and the ongoing impact of social media on the pop music industry.’ 

Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Jason King, told Variety that introducing a class about Taylor Swift was ‘a no-brainer’ and that the idea was originally proposed to him by Spanos.

‘[Spanos] is a Taylor fan but she also understands how to contextualize her culturally, and get students to think more deeply about her and her music through the lens of gender, feminism, race, and class, and other categories related to identity, and that deeper thinking is what this program is all about,’ explained the musician, who was named Chair in late 2020.

He continued: ‘[Spanos] is also an NYU alum and a former student of mine and I’ve watched her rise as a journalist and as a person and I’m so excited to bring her in.’ 

Pending: A rep told the outlet that Swift, 32, has been formally invited to speak to the class but the request is 'still pending'; Swift pictured in 2021

Pending: A rep told the outlet that Swift, 32, has been formally invited to speak to the class but the request is ‘still pending’; Swift pictured in 2021

Spanos gushed to Variety that it’s an honor getting ‘to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students’ after being a devout fan of the Cardigan singer for over a decade.

‘Teaching a course at Clive Davis has been a dream of mine since I attended NYU. 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,’ she told the outlet.

‘I’ve been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer. It’s such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students.

‘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,’ she concluded.

Lecturer: The Taylor Swift-centered course is being taught by Rolling Stones staff writer and self-professed Swift 'super fan' Brittany Spanos (pictured)

Lecturer: The Taylor Swift-centered course is being taught by Rolling Stones staff writer and self-professed Swift ‘super fan’ Brittany Spanos (pictured)

Over the years, the Clive Davis institute has treated students to classes taught by the likes of The Roots frontman Quest Love and multi-platinum record producer Bob Power.

Taylor Swift burst onto the country music scene in 2006 upon the release of her first-ever song Tim McGraw.

She’d signed a recording contract with Big Machine Records in 2005 at the young age of 15. 

According to Billboard, the lead single off her debut album remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 20 weeks and would go on to reach ‘No. 6 on the Hot Country Songs chart.’

In October 2006, her self-titled debut album Taylor Swift was released and would catapult a then-teenage Swift into superstardom.

No-brainer: Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Jason King (pictured), told Variety that introducing a class about Taylor Swift was 'a no-brainer' and that the idea was originally proposed to him by Spanos

No-brainer: Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Jason King (pictured), told Variety that introducing a class about Taylor Swift was ‘a no-brainer’ and that the idea was originally proposed to him by Spanos

An honor: 'I've been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer. It's such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students,' said Spanos of the opportunity to the teach the course

An honor: ‘I’ve been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer. It’s such an honor to be able to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students,’ said Spanos of the opportunity to the teach the course

After four chart-topping albums and seven Grammy wins, the singer shocked her fanbase by abandoning her country roots to explore the realm of pop music.

This put her in direct competition with the likes of pop superstars Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and more. 

She released her first exclusively pop album, titled 1989, in the fall of 2014.

1989 proved to be a huge success for Swift as it remained in the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart for 11 non-consecutive weeks and it rested in the top 10 for an impressive 52 weeks, as per Rolling Stone.

Since then, she has released four more albums: Reputation (2017), Lover (2019), Folklore (2020), and Evermore (2020).

Her Grammy Award total now rests at 11 and she split from Big Machine Records in 2018 after her contract expired.

Legend: Swift has a career in the music industry spanning nearly 16-years and nine studio albums; Swift pictured in 2021

Legend: Swift has a career in the music industry spanning nearly 16-years and nine studio albums; Swift pictured in 2021

She signed a new deal with Republic Records that same year. 

Swift has been re-recording her first six albums after Scooter Braun purchased her entire music catalog out from underneath her and then sold it without her knowledge for $300million to Shamrock Holdings. 

She called Scooter out over the sale in a social media post and claimed that he intentionally kept her in the dark while he turned a hefty profit on her hard work.

Prior to the that, in 2019 Braun had purchased Big Machine, first taking the rights to Swift’s body of work and at the time, she voiced public outrage at being cut out of the deal.

Swift said the news made her ‘sad and grossed out’ because, in part, she claims Braun perpetuated ‘incessant, manipulative bullying’ against her for years.

Award-winner: Swift has won 11 Grammy Awards and garnered 42 nominations; Swift pictured in 2021

Award-winner: Swift has won 11 Grammy Awards and garnered 42 nominations; Swift pictured in 2021

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