UT Austin Offers Taylor Swift Class

UT Austin Offers Taylor Swift Class
Taylor Swift | Image by Getty Images

“… Ready For It?”

The “it” refers to the new Taylor Swift class being offered at the University of Texas at Austin: “Literary Contests and Contexts—The Taylor Swift Songbook.”

Professor Elizabeth Scala will teach the new fall class, starting in August.

A Facebook post shared on the university’s Department of English page describes the course as “an introduction to literary studies and research methods that uses the songwriting of [Taylor Swift] as the basis for teaching a wide range of skills.”

The Dallas Express recently had the opportunity to chat with Professor Scala about her new class.

“I try to teach things that I can relate to traditional canonical literature that the students will find irresistible. I used to teach Harry Potter. I traded up for Swift,” said Scala.

“Swifties,” as Taylor’s most adoring fans are known, have a keen ear for “Style,” especially when dissecting a Taylor Swift song. Hidden messages and “Delicate” tones are part of her signature songwriting style.

When The Dallas Express asked what Taylor Swift song people could learn from the most, Scala pointed to “All Too Well” from Taylor’s Red album.

“I could do the most with ‘All Too Well,’ treating the first 5-minute version, its ‘original’ 10-minute released on Red (Taylor’s Version), and All Too Well: The Short Film,” said Scala. “That’s what my Masterclass on Taylor Swift might treat.”

Scala’s class will be offered to first-year undergraduates who are a part of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. She plans to work Taylor’s discography into the class’s engagement with literary canon, such as Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, and Daphne du Maurier.

Taylor Swift has a lot in common with Shakespeare, after all, she already wrote a song featuring Romeo and Juliet.

“I paired her songs with other poems, a novel, a film, and a play, giving students a range of genres of English literature to work on. A little bit for everyone. Lots of cross-referencing over the course of the semester and not a single one-way through line,” said Scala.

“Long Story Short,” if you think Taylor Swift’s discography does not warrant a whole college course, then “You Need to Calm Down” — Ms. Swift has 11 Grammys, including three for Album of the Year, has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2015, she became the youngest person to be named on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

Swift has also scored 29 Billboard Music Awards, the most ever for a female artist, and was recently recognized by the National Music Publishers’ Association.

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1 Comment

  1. JimmyB

    Right up there with underwater basket weaving.


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