Philippine university's Taylor Swift course draws 300 students

By Minh Nga   March 4, 2024 | 11:48 pm PT
Philippine university's Taylor Swift course draws 300 students
Taylor Swift performs at her The Eras Tour concert. Photo by Taylor Swift's Instagram page
A new course about the life and artistry of American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift at the University of the Philippines (UP) has so far attracted 300 students.

The limited slots for the course, called "Celebrity Studies: Taylor Swift in Focus," were filled up within minutes, prompting the administration to launch an extra class, according to a Reuters report.

Opened last month by a media studies professor at the College of Mass Communication, the course is considered the first in Asia about the superstar.

In the U.S., institutions like Harvard, Stanford, New York University and Berklee College of Music have already introduced courses focusing on Swift, a 14-time Grammy Award winner, covering her approach to songwriting and literary perspectives on her body of work, among various subjects.

In a post published on the university's website, professor Cherish Aileen A. Brillon, who launched the course, wrote: "A lot of foreign scholars study us, our cultural products, and our discourses, so why can't we study theirs and put forth knowledge claims and pathways that come from us being Filipinos existing and participating in a global stage?"

Saying her academic interests focus on political economy, Brillon added: "all these interests are embodied by Taylor Swift, who is currently the biggest pop star we have today and if you are in media studies and doing celebrity studies, you cannot ignore this."

Admitting to being a Swiftie herself, Brillon told Philstar that she wants to tackle fandom from an academic perspective, focusing on celebrity studies, gender discourse and political economy.

As a broadcast elective, the course will focus on how media portrayed Swift as a celebrity, and how her status as a transnational icon was perceived and appropriated by Filipinos, she said.

Attending the course, student Shyne told The Independent: "I would love to delve deeper into the societal issues that we face in connection to Taylor Swift."

Swift, the 2023 TIME Person of the Year, is currently in Singapore for her Eras Tour from March 2 to 9, marking the very first time she has performed in Southeast Asia.

The star has sold out all six of her shows here. More than 300,000 tickets have been sold, with a significant number of fans traveling from other countries, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

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