Taylor Swift has grown into one of the biggest superstars on the planet — and a new Arizona State University course is digging in on what psychologists can learn from her career.
The course, called Psychology of Taylor Swift — Advanced Topics of Social Psychology, is being offered this fall and will be taught by PhD student Alexandra Wormley. “The course is basically using Taylor Swift as a semester-long example of different phenomena — gossip, relationships, revenge,” she told ASU’s news site, emphasizing that “the class is not a seminar on how much we like or dislike her — we want to be able to learn about psychology.”
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She added that she will be connecting themes from Swift’s various albums to psychology, giving 2017’s Reputation as an example. “Taylor’s sixth album, Reputation, is her comeback after disappearing from the spotlight due to conflicts with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. She enacts her revenge on them — and the broader media landscape — by dropping an incredibly successful album along with a stadium tour,” she explained. “The students know this — but do they know why we like revenge? Do they know how we enact revenge? Social psychology can tell us.”
Swift has increasingly been a topic of study at numerous universities across the country. In February 2022, NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music launched its first-ever class on the superstar taught by Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos. Last August, the University of Texas at Austin rolled out a new liberal arts course entitled Literary Contests and Contexts — The Taylor Swift Songbook, where the singer-songwriter’s work was studied alongside the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wyatt, Coleridge, Keats, Dickinson and Plath with “required texts” including four of her most recent albums.
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