Taylor Swift Takes the Classroom: Harvard and UF Announce Courses on the Pop Icon

Taylor Swift Takes the Classroom: Harvard and UF Announce Courses on the Pop Icon

Taylor Swift’s cultural impact and musical prowess inspire academic institutions to offer courses dedicated to her artistry and influence.

Taylor Swift, the Grammy-winning pop sensation, has made a name for herself not only as a chart-topping artist but also as a cultural icon. Her impact on music, storytelling, and society as a whole has caught the attention of academic institutions worldwide. In an unprecedented move, both Harvard University and the University of Florida (UF) have announced new courses centered around Swift’s work, set to debut in 2024. This article delves into the significance of these courses and explores the growing trend of studying contemporary pop culture in academia.

Taylor Swift’s Global Influence

Swift’s influence extends far beyond the confines of the music industry. With her Eras Tour breaking box office records and attracting new fans from all walks of life, Swift has become a force to be reckoned with. Her impact has not gone unnoticed by academic institutions, as universities such as Ghent University in Belgium, the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, Berklee College of Music, the University of California at Berkeley, Arizona State, New York University, and Stanford have all offered courses on Swift, her fan base (known as Swifties), and the broader cultural implications of her work.

A Closer Look at the Courses

While each course varies in its approach, they all use Swift’s music as a gateway to explore critical analysis and broader cultural issues. Professor Stephanie Burt, a renowned poet and critic, will teach “Taylor Swift and Her World” at Harvard. The course will examine how Swift’s work intersects with the literary canon, drawing connections to renowned authors such as William Wordsworth and Willa Cather. Burt emphasizes the unique opportunity to study a major artist who also happens to be one of the most famous people on the planet.

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At UF, Melina Jimenez will lead the course “Musical storytelling with Taylor Swift and other iconic female artists.” This course will delve into Swift’s discography, exploring her songwriting prowess and investigating the influence of iconic artists like Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Dolly Parton. By examining Swift’s work alongside these legendary figures, students will gain a deeper understanding of the power of storytelling through music.

The Rise of Pop Culture Studies

The inclusion of contemporary pop culture in academic settings is becoming increasingly prevalent. Universities such as Texas State University, UC Berkeley, and San Diego State have offered courses dedicated to the likes of Harry Styles, Nicki Minaj, and Bad Bunny, respectively. These courses recognize the impact of popular music on society and provide a platform for critical analysis and cultural exploration.


Taylor Swift’s influence as a musician and cultural icon has prompted academic institutions to recognize her significance and offer courses dedicated to studying her work. Harvard and UF’s recent announcements highlight the growing trend of incorporating contemporary pop culture into academia. By analyzing Swift’s music, lyrics, and cultural impact, these courses provide students with a unique opportunity to explore broader societal issues and the power of storytelling through music. As Swift continues to captivate audiences worldwide, her presence in the classroom solidifies her status as a transformative figure in both the music industry and academia.