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UP to offer course on Taylor Swift

By NICK GARCIA Published Jan 11, 2024 10:41 am Updated Jan 11, 2024 2:50 pm

The University of the Philippines (UP) will offer a course about American pop star Taylor Swift.

Cherish Aileen Brillon of the UP College of Mass Communication told PhilSTAR L!fe that the elective under BA Broadcast Media Arts and Studies, which she will teach in the second semester of A.Y. 2023–2024, “focuses on the conception, construction, and the performance of Taylor Swift as a celebrity and how she can be used to explain our and, of course, media’s relationship with class, politics, gender, race, and fantasies of success and mobility.”

“There have been many courses about Taylor Swift in universities abroad and I think there hasn’t been one in the Philippines yet,” Brillon said, adding that it’s “a bit surprising” as the country is “a Taylor Swift nation” based on many Filipinos being among her top listeners on various streaming platforms.

Brillon noted that courses on Swift, as seen abroad, are mostly literary since they deal with her songwriting. There are also others that are coming from a business perspective since she’s one of the biggest pop stars on the planet.

“I think it’s time for us here in the Philippines to look at her in an in-depth manner,” said Brillon, who is also a self-confessed Swiftie since her Red album.

Through the elective, Brillon said she’s interested in "how Filipinos have appropriated Swift not only as transnational icon but also as a signifier of an emerging type of local fandom activism."

Courses on Swift have been offered in several universities like Stanford University, New York University (where she also has an honorary Doctor of Arts), Harvard University, University of Texas, and Ghent University in Belgium.

“I am actually a huge fan of popular culture in general, but it took me a while to get to Taylor Swift because I am also a huge Darna fan, and I focused on that initially when I was doing my graduate studies,” Brillon said. “Now it is (her) turn.” (with reports from Brooke Villanueva)