Texas State Prof. Launches Harry Styles History CourseHistorians in the News
tags: Texas, music, celebrity, popular culture, cultural history, Harry Styles
Harry Styles fans at Texas State University will soon be able to earn college credit for their love of the English pop star.
Professor Louie Dean Valencia announced on Twitter Saturday that a new history course entitled, “Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet, and European Pop Culture” will be offered as an in-person honors course at the university beginning in spring 2023.
Roughly 20 undergraduate students will be able to take the course studying Styles and European popular culture, to better understand the cultural and political development of the modern celebrity, according to the course description.
Valencia is an associate professor of digital history at Texas State. He spoke to Texas Standard about what he hopes students will gain from taking the course. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: Are you a fan yourself?
Louis Dean Valencia: I’m a huge fan. I can’t hide it. And I think most of my friends would out me as that.
So I presume that was the genesis for your idea to have a course on Harry Styles?
Well, partially. The idea started with one – I’m just a huge fan. But also over the last two years, I’ve had really good conversations with students. When people were on Zoom or masked and really having a hard time connecting with some other people about music. And so one of the things that we did was introduce each other to our favorite songs and music. And oftentimes when I had conversations with those students about Harry Styles, it opened up all sorts of really interesting conversations about social issues that they were engaged with themselves.
Give us an example.
An example is a lot of Harry’s music is based about inclusivity, so there’s an attempt to have inclusive spaces at concerts. There’s some political things around gun control, there’s some issues around supporting Black lives that have been at the forefront of some of his work. And there’s also been a lot of issues around sustainability and how do you create a sustainable project. During his first tour, a lot of his concerts gave to local charities that were in the towns and cities that he visited on tour, which is kind of unusual for a lot of musicians to give up some of their money to support local causes and the places that they’re visiting.
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