70° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State offers course on Harry Styles Spring 2023

Courtesy+of%26%23160%3BKevin+Mazur%2FGETTY+IMAGES.
Courtesy of Kevin Mazur/GETTY IMAGES.

Next semester students will have the opportunity to take the first-ever Harry Styles course at Texas State.
On Saturday, July 16, Louie Dean Valencia, associate professor of digital history, announced on his Twitter that his upcoming honors course titled “Harry Styles and The Cult of Celebrity” will begin this upcoming spring 2023.
His initial idea for the course was brought on by the pandemic which conflicted with his regular research due to travel restrictions in 2020. Wanting to continue with his passion for researching, Valencia decided to take on a new approach inspired by his own interests and the things around him. Always researching aspects of counterculture and youth culture pushed him towards beginning to research the international pop star, Harry Styles.
“I kind of took the approach of if I were 16 years old, trapped in a pandemic, ‘what would I be most interested in?’ and kind of leaned into that,” Valencia said. “So I bought myself an electric guitar…and I started this research project.”
Harry Styles has always been an inspiration and an impactful person in Valencia’s life. Whether it was his music keeping him going as a grad student or Styles’ activism in aspects of breaking the binary, advocating for anti-racism, providing funds to local charities on his tours and participating in sustainability, the singer remained an important figure for Valencia.
“Harry Styles, his music and just him as a person has been really impactful in my life,” Valencia said. “During the pandemic, his solo work really was just a great anchor whenever I wasn’t able to go do the things that we were normally able to do.”
The consistent and noticeably easy conversations that Valencia was able to have with his students about Styles further fueled his ambition to create and present his idea to the dean of the honors college to create his own course.
“I found myself always having conversations with students that started off with maybe ‘what’s your favorite music?’ Mine’s, Harry Styles’ but oftentimes would lead into questions that were around the activism that he does,” Valencia said.
The course itself will be focused on the past 12 years, and although it will have the celebrity as a focal point, he will not be the only topic of discussion. The start of the music industry and how it was founded by Black musicians will be discussed as well as several other topics such as gender binaries in clothing, what it means to be celebrated, what it means to want a private life, how to become a micro-celebrity and more.
“Because this class is going to basically be focused on the last 12 years. It gives students a chance to not just see the last 12 years and how things have changed, but they can do it through the person that I often relate to or have some sort of connection to,” Valencia said.
Gathering coursework for the class was easy for Valencia considering all the research he was able to get done during the pandemic in 2020. Students will study Styles’ favorite books, his activism, his art — including his music and films, his cosmetic company Pleasing and the influence he has had in the past 12 years.
Valencia had always had a goal of combing music and history together into one course. He believes that while having a broader knowledge of history is important, getting to look through the lens of one individual provides an even greater perspective on that specific moment in time. Now that he has reached his goal of creating a class with aspects of music and history alike, his goal is now for his students to find a sense of self-love through his class.
“I hope that students leave with a sense of self-love of understanding of their world, have the ability to be critical of it, but still hopeful and ideally, with the inspiration to do something in the world around them, and hopefully treat people with kindness,” Valencia said.
Like all honors courses at Texas State, in order to join Valencia’s course, students will select and list honors courses in the order in which they are interested, and be entered into a lottery to get the chance to enroll. As of right now, there is only one section for the course and 20 students will be selected for it.
The news of the class has spread far and wide all over social media and throughout various news platforms, including People, NBC and CNN to name a few. Valencia said the outcome has been incredible, and although he is busier than ever with interviews, he is happy about the reaction.
“It’s been wild and really inspirational,” Valencia said. “I’ve gotten and I’m trying to get through all of the messages. I’ve gotten literally thousands of messages from people from all over the world from India to a 75-year-old woman living in California all interested in the class.”
Through the creation of the course, Valencia is excited to create a space where his students will be comfortable and eager to learn and come to class. He hopes to see faces of passion and interest and ultimately hopes to make an impact through the shared enthusiasm of Harry Styles.
“I think about the way that I feel whenever I go to a Harry Styles concert,” Valencia said. “You might not know everybody there, but you all know that you’re there with a purpose and you are all there to share in something special and I hope that [my] class does that.”

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star