The University of Texas is offering a course on Taylor Swift’s songs.
(CNN)Two roads split in a forest, and I… I shake it off.
The University of Texas at Austin is allowing students to study Taylor Swift lyrics alongside works by Shakespeare, John Keats, and, yes, Robert Frost.
As part of its liberal arts honours programme, the university will offer an undergraduate course called “The Taylor Swift Songbook” this fall. It follows a Swift-themed class at New York University last spring, which ended with the singer serving as the commencement speaker.
According to CNN, English Professor Elizabeth Scala chose Swift because the pop star writes her own music and her lyrics can help illuminate similar techniques from classic poetry.
“This is a course on her songs as literary writing and how a popular and award-winning writer uses traditional literary devices, figures, and tropes in her work,” she explained. “It has nothing to do with celebrity or fame.”
Swift’s songs will be studied alongside the works of Western literature’s greats.
“They will be asked to analyse and contextualise common practises and problems throughout the centuries,” Scala explained.
Scala, a Swift fan, stated that her goal is to teach literary traditions through a contemporary lens.
“I want to take what Swift fans can already do at a sophisticated level, tease it out a bit with a different vocabulary, and then show them how, in fact, Swift draws on richer literary traditions in her songwriting, both topically but also formally in terms of how she uses references, metaphors, and clever word manipulations,” Scala said.
“I’ll demonstrate to students that the operations and interpretive moves used when reading her songs are applicable to all forms of writing.”
Scala has also created an Instagram account for the class, where she posts Swift trivia and asks fans questions.