Professor explains why Taylor Swift university course is no waste of money: ‘She’s the man’

Taylor Swift in her NYU honorary graduate speaker robes photoshopped onto backdrop of city.

A professor teaching a Taylor Swift university course says the class is absolutely not a waste of money.

The University of Texas’ professor Elizabeth Scala is teaching an all-new Taylor Swift literature module called “Taylor Swift’s songbook”

She tells PinkNews that she got the idea for the course when her daughter came to live at home during the pandemic and began playing Taylor Swift on repeat around the house. 

“I started listening to the words of ‘All Too Well’, and I listened to it all too much,” she jokes.

“I thought about the way it’s constructed, the difference between the five-minute version and the 10-minute version, about its relationship to her life, and its relationship to her other songs.”
Sixteen lucky students filled the blank space on the course and will spend the term analysing and unpicking Taylor Swift’s discography. 

Scala is keen to emphasise the literary angle of the course, as the work will be compared and contrasted to other poetry, read for its structure and metre and placed in the modern literary (texts) corpus.

Considering Swift’s track record of referencing great writers such as Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, William Wordsworth and Robert Frost, there will be a wealth to pull from.


The course is the latest to join the trend focusing on popular celebrities such as Harry Styles and is the second Taylor Swift-themed module in the country. 

“The courses are coming out in very different departments,” she says about the wave of viral modules, “so I think the Texas State module on Harry Styles is on American culture and sociology.

“The first Taylor Swift course, which stole my thunder a little bit, was taught by a Rolling Stone writer at NYU in the music department thinking about Taylor Swift’s music and the music industry.

“I don’t think there’s been a literature course on Taylor Swift before.”

And when asked why Taylor Swift, she responded: “Most people are not reading highbrow poetry magazines.

“I don’t mean to downplay its importance, but it doesn’t have the widespread appeal as the poetry that every single person is carrying around in their pocket on their phone, and listening to in their earbuds all the time.

“We’re meeting people, where they are encountering literary structures.”

Despite arguments that it is not worth attending, Scala says: “Maybe they are going to have to convince their parents that are not wasting money in the class, but I’m not really worried about it.

“I’ve had to justify focusing on Swift a lot, but she writes all her own music, she’s incredibly talented. You know, she is the man at this point.”

And for those yearning to get onto the Taylor Swift course, there’s no need to shed teardrops on your guitar as Scala assures she has been thinking about ways to open the course up in the future.

“People at other universities want me to do an online class or reading group,” she says, “it is a really intriguing possibility to think about doing this on a larger scale.”
Swift recently announced her 10th studio albumMidnights – which is sure to give scholars even more food for thought.

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments