A new Arizona State University course is exploring what psychologists may learn from Taylor Swift’s career as one of the biggest performers on the globe.
This autumn, a course titled Psychology of Taylor Swift — Advanced Topics of Social Psychology will be given, and Ph.D. candidate Alexandra Wormley will instruct it. She explained to the news outlet of ASU that “the course is basically using Taylor Swift as a semester-long example of different phenomena — gossip, relationships, and revenge,” stressing that “the class is not a seminar on how much we like or dislike her — we want to be able to learn about psychology.”
Larger media landscape
She continued by citing Swift’s 2017 album Reputation as an example of how she would relate psychological concepts to themes from her numerous albums. Taylor’s sixth album, Reputation, marks her comeback after vanishing from the public eye due to disputes with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. She releases a hugely popular album and goes on a stadium tour as her way of exacting revenge on them and the larger media landscape, she said. The pupils are aware of this, but do they understand why we enjoy taking revenge? Do they know how we exact our retaliation? We can learn from social psychology.
Numerous colleges across the nation are now offering courses on Swift. The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU began offering its first-ever class on the superstar in February 2022, instructed by Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos. The singer-songwriter’s work was studied alongside that of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wyatt, Coleridge, Keats, Dickinson, and Plath in the new liberal arts course Literary Contests and Contexts: The Taylor Swift Songbook, which debuted at the University of Texas at Austin last August. The course’s “required texts” included four of her most recent albums.
Swifties should naturally be interested in the course
The upcoming fall semester will feature the new subject, Psychology of Taylor Swift – Advanced Topics of Social Psychology. The course will be instructed by Alexandra Wormley, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology.
Wormley told ASU News that she believes utilizing Swift as a starting point “will spark meaningful conversations and serve as a teaching tool for learning advanced psychology concepts.” Swifties should naturally be interested in the course, but Wormley emphasizes that “the class is not a seminar on how much we like or dislike her — we want to be able to learn about psychology.”
Taylor Swift haters, who we’ve learned are “going to hate, hate, hate, hate,” should enroll in the class, according to Wormley, who told ASU News she’s not assuming “any prior knowledge about Taylor Swift in my lectures.” In fact, she hopes they do, in order to challenge the Swifties with different viewpoints.