A topic of conversation. Over the years, certain celebrities have left an imprint on their industry — which inspired professors to introduce a course about their impact.
Taylor Swift‘s discography left an impression on Brittany Spanos, who later created a class on the singer at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute.
“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,” the description for the course read in February 2022.
The class tackled topics that included Swift’s music, entrepreneurship, durability and the mark her career left on the industry. At the time, Spanos noted it was a “dream” to spearhead a course on her favorite artist.
“I hope to help them rethink how to engage with one of the 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 told Variety at the time, before adding that it was “such an honor” to share her expert point of view with the students.
Her former professor King also explained how bringing the course to life was a “no brainer” for the department. “[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,” he shared with Variety.
Later that year, Texas State University announced they would be starting a class in spring 2023 that focused around Harry Styles.
“I’ve always wanted to teach a history class that is both fun, but also covers a period that students have lived through and relate to,” associate professor of digital history Dr. Louie Dean Valencia told NBC in July 2022. “By studying the art, activism, consumerism and fandom around Harry Styles, I think we’ll be able to get to some very relevant contemporary issues. I think it’s so important for young people to see what is important to them reflected in their curriculum.”
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