As a Styles scholar, it’s *my* duty to teach Gen Z.
Well, it looks like some students will be trading “Late Night Talking” for late-night studying. On July 16, Louie Dean Valencia, an associate professor at Texas State University, announced he will be teaching an upcoming course on Harry Styles and his reigning cultural influence. Valencia even claimed this is “the first every university” course on Styles’ work.
Okay, that sounds absolutely iconic. Where do I sign up? Class on Styles sure sounds like they’d beat an anxiety-riddled algebra exam any day.
Valencia made the announcement on Twitter where he said the Spring 2023 course would analyze what Styles’ career says about modern celebritydom. “It's official, official. I'm teaching the world's first ever university course on the work of #HarryStyles is happening Spring 2023 at @TXST University,” Valencia tweeted alongside a smiley face emoji. “This is what tenure looks like. Let's gooooo!”
Per a course flier also attached to Valencia’s tweet, the course is titled “Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, the Internet, and European Pop Culture.” (In case you’re wondering, according to an email screenshot also attached to his tweet, the class will be held on-campus Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. CST. )
The flier also stated the course will “understand the cultural and political development of the modern celebrity as related to questions of gender and sexuality, race, class, nation and globalism, media, fashion, fan culture, internet culture, and consumerism.”
Valencia appeared to do a little press tour in light of his course announcement going viral. In an interview with NBC New York on July 19, he said it’s important students see their interests reflected in their curriculum. “I've always wanted to teach a history class that is both fun, but also covers a period that students have lived through and relate to," he said.
As for the class syllabus, Valencia told NBC New York that students will dissect music from both Styles’ time in One Direction and his solo albums. Styles has released three solo records: 2017’s Harry Styles, 2019’s Fine Line, and Harry’s House in May of this year. The course will also discuss Styles’ transition to and rising status as a leading actor.
He also told CNN on July 19 that the course was partly a result of his students always talking about Styles. "I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with students over the last two years that started with a shared love of Harry's music, but that quickly went into larger societal questions about gender, sexuality, race, sustainability because of Harry's art," he said.
Beyond his career achievements, Styles hasn’t shied away from using his platform to champion causes he cares about, including support for the LGBTQ+ community. “Self-expression, and comfort with oneself, is a big part of Harry's message — along with treating people with kindness, Valencia told CNN. “A lot of people, myself included, feel like they've grown up with him — and so there is a connection.”
It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear if the transfer rate to TSU skyrocketed next year. Seriously, just the thought of San Marcos — which is the city where Texas State resides — becoming a city of Styles scholars is so interesting. Ugh, lucky Bobcats.