Taylor Swift is by far my favorite artist. In 2022, over 5,000 minutes of my music-listening were dedicated to Miss Americana herself. Yep — I was in the top 1% of her listeners on Spotify. (Big thanks to the Wrapped feature because without it, I wouldn’t have realized how big of a Swiftie I am). So, you could imagine my reaction when I found out that my college, Queen’s University in Ontario, was offering a whole course dedicated to the work and cultural impact of Taylor Swift in the fall 2022 semester. It was a one-time offering, and it was the only Taylor Swift college course throughout all of Canada. (And it counted towards my major, too)!
I knew getting into this course was going to mean war — the same way it was when people were trying to get tickets to Swift’s Eras Tour through Ticketmaster, but I had to get in. There was no way I could live a life knowing this class existed and I wasn’t in attendance. When course selections finally rolled around, I was pacing back and forth just waiting for my selection time. The second the clock struck 2 p.m., I entered the battlefield to get my spot. I somehow got in immediately, with no hassle — the odds were in my favor.
The class was called Taylor Swift’s Literary Legacy. Our professor was a P.h.D student, Meg Burry, who was a fan of Swift herself. You could immediately see the passion she had about teaching this course, and it was so amazing being in a room with other people whose love for Swift ran as deep as mine. The vibes were, as they say, immaculate. Cassie McElhone, a sophomore dual English and French major who took the class, tells me, “I loved analyzing [Swift’s] work with the help of other classic literary works, such as Alice in Wonderland, Emily Dickinson’s poems, and The Great Gatsby. This class helped me learn and grow as a young writer!”
The course offered students a chance to examine and engage with the cultural and literary studies of Swift’s work from all eras. We discussed each of her albums in depth, and analyzed how Swift was able to make a name for herself in the music industry while dealing with haters, drama, and her sheer level of celebrity. “The community of the class was unlike any other course I’ve taken in university so far, where I felt that everyone was genuinely interested to hear the perspective of others,” says Audra Crago, a sophomore English major.
One of my favorite assignments was choosing a song from Taylor Swift (2006) and finding a song from her discography that may be a sequel to it. I chose “Should’ve Said No” with “Cardigan” as its corresponding sequel in its relation to the Folklore love triangle. The course included a final research essay, and it was super cool to be able to write about my favorite artist and how much she’s had an impact on not only the world of music, but pop culture as a whole.
The professor made it a point to make each and every class special. “[Burry] made it super interactive,” Haley White, a sophomore English major, tells me. “The best part was … the group singing with the whole class. It was very fun, and made it inclusive.” It always felt like the class was a mini Taylor Swift fan club that we got graded on. Burry would also dress up for every class in accordance to the album we were working on for that week. She was always able to have fun with the class.
As an English major, this course helped me strengthen my literary abilities and thoroughly analyze important details of Swift’s life in ways I would never have imagined otherwise.
At the end of the semester, I ended up with an A which I was really happy about because I put so much work into the course. “Can I ask you a question?” How bad would you want to take a Taylor Swift course?