Swifties ng Bayan! UP Diliman to offer Taylor Swift elective

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Swifties ng Bayan! UP Diliman to offer Taylor Swift elective
UP Diliman joins the roster of prestigious international universities that offer courses about the pop star

MANILA, Philippines – Isko Swifties, rise! The UP College of Mass Communication has prepared a Special Topics in Broadcasting class on “the conception, construction, and the performance of Taylor Swift as a celebrity,” it announced on its Facebook page on Thursday, January 11.

Dr. Cherish Brillon will be teaching the elective class – titled “Celebrity Studies: Taylor Swift in Focus” – for the second semester of school year 2023 to 2024 under the BA Broadcast Media Arts and Studies degree program.

Aside from the critical analysis of Swift’s explosive career spanning for more than a decade thus far, Brillon will also explore the intersections of media with class, politics, gender, and race, as well as success and mobility-related fantasies, according to her interview with Philstar L!fe.

Brillon’s course is neither the first nor last class offered that studies the pop star’s run in the music industry. However, it is the first class to be held in a Philippine university, which Brillon notes as a “bit surprising,” given the reputation of the country as a “Taylor Swift nation.”

Further, this course explores fandom politics and activism in a Filipino context. In her interview, Brillon mentioned that past courses held at the likes of Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Texas, and New York University — where Swift herself has an honorary doctorate degree — focused on Swift’s songwriting prowess in a literary lens or massive commercial success as a business case study.

Harvard’s course, Taylor Swift and Her World, particularly studies the singer-songwriter’s music catalog and artistic precursors, accompanied by readings of literary works that supplement a student’s understanding of Swift’s work.

US universities are not the only institutions studying Swift’s life and work. The University of Melbourne, one of Australia’s most reputable universities, is set to hold a “Swiftposium” – an academic conference about all things Taylor in February 2024. Scholars from Australia and New Zealand call for Asia-Pacific researchers to submit papers studying Swift’s impact on culture and society.

The creation of the Celebrity Studies: Taylor Swift in Focus course arose from Brillon being “a huge fan of pop culture in general,” as she has been a fan of Swift since her Red album and a Darna fanatic, which served as the focus of her graduate studies.

More details about the course can be found on UP College of Mass Communication Facebook page.

This is not the first time UP Diliman has put a spotlight on pop culture in their academic contexts. In late 2023, the university’s biology department offered courses on various anime series, games and other forms of media. – with reports from Ally de Leon/

Ally de Leon is a Rappler intern.

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