A course on Taylor Swift at Harvard University has proved so popular that the institution is seeking more teaching assistants to help deliver it.
The course is set to begin later in the spring and will involve explorations into “fan culture, celebrity culture, adolescence, adulthood and appropriation; how to think about white texts, Southern texts, transatlantic texts, and queer subtexts”, according to Harvard’s website. According to CBS, nearly 300 students have signed up.
Now, according to the course’s instructor Stephanie Burt, more staff are needed to deliver the course to keep up with demand and she has reached out on X/Twitter to try and find more people to teach it.
“Our Taylor Swift course at Harvard is so popular that we need additional teaching assistants. If you live in the Boston/Providence metro, love Tay, & have *qualifications or experience to teach a writing intensive college course,*” she wrote.
Ok I’m doing this. Our Taylor Swift course at Harvard is so popular that we need additional teaching assistants. If you live in the Boston/Providence metro, love Tay, & have *qualifications or experience to teach a writing intensive college course,* my DMs are open.
— Stephanie Burt (also elsewhere) (@accommodatingly) January 3, 2024
Burt then told WBZ-TV on Friday (January 5) that she was quickly inundated with applications. “I went from not having enough people who [were qualified] to having dozens, possibly 150, applications in just a few hours.”
Explaining why the course was being taught, she added: “The way she reaches to other parts of culture, she’s someone I feel good teaching a class about and someone who Harvard students already like and want to take classes about,” Burt said. “We can, and even we should, through her work, make connections between what she does and other great artists who have used words in other art forms in the present and past.”
Meanwhile, Swift’s representatives recently criticised an op-ed speculating about her sexuality as “invasive, untrue and inappopriate”.
On January 4, the New York Times published an opinion piece, suggesting there was “queerness implied by Ms. Swift’s work”. Among other supposed references Swift has made in her music, the article claimed Swift covertly came out in 2019 via an Instagram post. The singer posted a “rainbow-glazed” photo of a friendship bracelet with the bisexual pride flag colours and the word ‘proud’ on the beads.
Now, a source “close to the situation” has spoken to CNN condemning the op-ed. On Saturday (January 6), the source told the publication: “Because of her massive success, in this moment there is a Taylor-shaped hole in people’s ethics.
“This article wouldn’t have been allowed to be written about Shawn Mendes or any male artist whose sexuality has been questioned by fans.”
The source continued: “There seems to be no boundary some journalists won’t cross when writing about Taylor, regardless of how invasive, untrue, and inappropriate it is – all under the protective veil of an ‘opinion piece.’”
Though Swift has publicly supported the LGBT+ community, she told Vogue Magazine in 2019 she was “not a part” of the community herself.