Taylor Swift will not play in Belgium during her famous “Eras Tour”, but her work will appear there in a different form. Ghent University has just announced that from the new academic year one of the courses for students of literature will be devoted to the analysis of the American star’s texts. Previously, similar classes were held in the United States.
– I’ve never had so many emails from excited students asking if they can sign up for a course. And not only from them, there are also people from outside the university who would like to participate in it in some way – said Elly McCausland, a British assistant professor at Ghent University in the north-west, quoted by the Guardian. Belgium.
The optional course created by McCausland in the upcoming academic year 2023/24 will be included in the program offer of master’s studies in the field of language and literature. The name of the course, “Taylor’s Version”, refers to the alternative versions of Swift’s albums, released several years after the premiere of the singer’s actual albums. They contain the same songs as on the main album, but in a new interpretation of the American. To date, Swift has played six of her albums this way. The decision to re-record them was related to the fight for copyright.
McCausland explained to the Guardian that she came up with the idea for the class after being repeatedly struck by the connections between Taylor Swift’s writings and the classics of English literature. In “The Great War” from last year’s album, the lecturer saw “echoes of Sylvia Plath’s harsh words about war and battle to convey her pain in the poem ‘Daddy'”. In turn, in the song Mad Woman she found references to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” regarding mental health. “I was wondering why no one talks about it?” said the Brit.
At the same time, she emphasized that Swift’s songs during classes starting in the fall are to be used as a “springboard” to study other works, including literary classics. – I want to show students that although these texts seem inaccessible to many, they can become accessible if we look at them from a slightly different perspective. Shakespeare sort of answers the same questions as Taylor Swift. It seems crazy, but it’s true,” McCausland concluded.
Taylor Swift and others. College stars courses
“The Guardian” points out that the “Taylor’s Version” course is probably the first university class in Europe dedicated to the work of Taylor Swift. But not the first in the world. Already last year a course called “The Taylor Swift Songbook” was included in the schedule of literature students at the University of Texas at Austin. Half a year earlier, the texts of the American star were analyzed by students of New York University.
CNN also mentions other classes devoted to the analysis of contemporary celebrity texts. In 2015, the university in Austin introduced the “Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism” course to its offer, which was aimed at developing students’ knowledge about the participation of black women in promoting feminism. Beyoncé’s activist activity was also the subject of a course launched by the University of Copenhagen.
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