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The University of Cincinnati is in its Taylor Swift era

a blonde woman in a sparkly bodysuit points to out to the crowd
Toru Hanai
Taylor Swift performs as part of the "Eras Tour" at the Tokyo Dome, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Tokyo.

University of Cincinnati Swifties who can't get enough Taylor Swift have a couple course options to deepen their appreciation of the singer. The College Conservatory of Music is offering a class on the pop star called, "Topics in Popular Music: Taylor Swift," while the College of Arts and Sciences has two courses planned for next fall. "Philosophy: Taylor's Version" and "Topics in Writing Studies: Taylor Swift," which will examine Swift's lyrics and career.

Assistant Professor Melissa Jacquart says many of Swift's lyrics relate to classical philosophy.

"I think a lot of the class — and philosophy more generally — is that it's something that helps you figure out the world, your life, your place in the world, how to find meaning in life," Jacquart says. "This is something that people have turned to for music for many years — listening to music as a way to help figure out their world, their life, and their place in it. And philosophy does a lot of the same things.”

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Professor Tom Polger says the course will compare the pop star's lyrics with classical philosophers, and look at her celebrity and career.

"The whole idea that people's lives have eras: that you pass from one phase of your life to another. That's really philosophically interesting," he says. "This project that she's engaged in of reclaiming her music by rerecording albums, that is a fascinating topic about art and ownership and self-expression. So we want to include those aspects as well."

Jacquart says they will look at whether Swift is relying on ideas written about by classical philosophers, "or is she offering something new and authentic and different? This is one of the big questions that is driving our class," she says.

Polger adds, "Think about topics like love, friendship, revenge, how we ought to treat other people, how we want to be treated. Sure, Sartre and Camus talked about that, and Aristotle and Plato, and contemporary philosophers do as well."

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Three intertwined friendship bracelets, with letters spelling out words including Taylor and philosophy.
University of Cincinnati
The UC instructors teaching a Fall 2024 philosophy course are also making 150 Tay-Tay style friendship bracelets for their students.

As an added bonus, Jacquart and Polger are making 150 friendship bracelets for the students who sign up for the class.

"It's a Swiftie thing. Swifties give them out at the concerts," Jacquart explains. "So it'll build into some of our course themes on friendship, authenticity, (and) bringing people into communal spaces."

The class is open to UC students of any level, whether they're philosophers, or Swifties, or not.

Swift's latest album, The Tortured Poet's Department, is released Friday.

The University of Cincinnati is a financial supporter of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Updated: April 19, 2024 at 6:49 AM EDT
This story has been updated to included a second philosophy course being offered.
Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.