"It's really my admiration for her and for her songs and her writing and my ideas for the course have really kind of grown together," said Elizabeth Scala, professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.
Scala teaches the class, "The Taylor Swift Songbook" and calls herself the "Swiftie Professor." Swiftie is another word for a Taylor Swift fan. She says her daughter was the one to get her into Swift’s music.
"Having been locked up with my little Swiftie for about a year and a half with the pandemic, I listened to much more of Taylor Swift's music and became a really big fan over that time," said Scala.
When it was time to pick a topic for her literary contests in content class, that she has been teaching for a number of years, Scala knew Swift and her music would be the perfect fit.
"I decided to teach this class using Taylor Swift's songwriting because I think she's an excellent songwriter. And to pair it with some other traditional literary works that don't seem to have anything to do with her writing, but that share some of the same strategies, uses of figure and literary devices that would make the students kind of more interested in looking at some of those older, older works," she said.
So far, there have only been two class periods, but Scala says they are already planning on comparing Swift’s songwriting to the works of Shakespeare.
Scala says the response she has gotten from students has been great, but the response from people from all over who have heard of the course has also been great.
She has even created an Instagram account called @swiftieprof so people can follow along with the course discussion. A course she plans to teach again.
"I will absolutely teach this course again. I'm probably going to teach it next fall," she said.