SAN MARCOS, Texas - Texas State University is heading in "One Direction" this spring semester with a new course dedicated to learning about top-selling British musician Harry Styles.
The course is called "Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity: Identity, The Internet and European Pop Culture" and will be offered through the university’s honors college.
"I think that oftentimes these types of classes that get people's attention seem a little ridiculous, but honestly, I think that if you look at any type of history, it's always people's lives that most interest people," said Louie Valencia, an Associate Professor of Digital History at Texas State University.
Valencia took to Twitter to announce how excited he is that he will be the one teaching this course. Valencia has been working at Texas State since 2017, but he says he has been a "Harrie", also known as a Harry Styles fan, for way longer than that.
"Definitely I am a fan, but I think that it also gives us sort of the idea that you can love and study what you're passionate about," he said.
Valencia says he got the idea to pitch this course after talking to a group of students about the impact Harry Styles has had in different areas since his rise to fame 12 years ago in a band called One Direction.
"He's one of the most popular musicians of the moment, and he's been on the world stage for over a decade now as a solo artist and a member of One Direction, so he's somebody that a lot of students really understand and note his work," he said.
The course will be held within the university’s Honors College in the 2023 spring semester.
The focus is on Harry Styles, of course, but not so much on him as a person. The course will be more about his impact and history as a modern celebrity touching on topics like race, class, media, internet culture, fan culture, fashion and consumerism.
"Hopefully, what we'll be able to do is, in the same way that somebody might take a class on the Beatles to learn about the sixties, we'll take a class on Harry Styles to learn about the last 12 years or so, looking at his art, looking at his favorite literature influences, and seeing also how he's affected fans," said Valencia.
Valencia has been doing his own research for the class like visiting the singer’s hometown and attending his concerts overseas. He also plans to see Harry Styles at his 5-night residency at the Moody Center in a few months.
Valencia says he's excited for this class to start up.
"While the class will be fun and something that I think a lot of people will be passionate about, it definitely will give them research sort of methods, so teach them how to think about the world that they live in and also ideally, maybe even a little about themselves," he said.