Texas State University recently announced it will offer a course called “Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity” in the spring 2023 semester.

Teaching the class will be recently tenured Associate Professor of Digital History Louie Dean Valencia, who told KXAN that he’s a huge fan of the singer and wants to teach his class how the world has changed in the last 12 years. 

The course is said to focus on British pop star Harry Styles and popular European culture, with the aim of understanding the cultural and political development of the modern celebrity as related to questions of gender, sexuality, race, class, nation, and globalism.

“As a historian, I want the class to get to really see how the world has changed in the last 12 years or so, but also how to put that into historical context, through the lens of Harry Styles, and how they can learn from him and his art, activism, and philosophy, like any great artist,” said Valencia.

Valencia is the coordinator of the Center for Public History at Texas State University and focuses his work on queer and youth history, along with fascism, anarchism, and antifascism. 

The new class will count for credits for honors studies, history (European and world), international and European studies, popular culture studies, diversity studies, and women’s and gender studies. 

Additionally, Valencia teaches classes on Myths of Western Civilization: Decolonizing and Queering European History and Queer Youth Culture. 

The assistant professor also boasted on Twitter about his course being approved by the educational board, saying, “This is what tenure looks like. Let’s gooooo!” 

 

Earlier this year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his unrelenting support for stripping tenure from professors who promote critical race theory at any public university or college. He also supported reforming the tenure process, like making professors go up for review annually instead of every six years.

Since Texas State is a public university, taxpayers’ hard-earned money goes toward this course. Texas State University also receives more than $189 million from state offers every year, in addition to millions of dollars in federal funds.

Texas Scorecard reached out to Texas State University’s Honors College, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan, and Gov. Greg Abbott for comment. None responded by the time of publication.

Emily Wilkerson

Emily is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, studying journalism with a minor in political science. She enjoys investigative journalism and making sure that every side of a story is being told.

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