Taylor Swift mania hits Philippine classrooms

March 1, 2024 - 8:41 AM
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Singer Taylor Swift performs at her concert for the international "The Eras Tour" in Tokyo, Japan February 7, 2024. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

The Taylor Swift craze has arrived in classrooms in the Philippine capital, with a premier university rolling out a celebrity studies course examining the singer and her impact on global pop culture.

As the performer visits Asia this week, more than 300 students signed up for the elective course at the University of the Philippines, filling limited slots within minutes and prompting the administration to launch an extra class.

“We’re going to treat Taylor Swift as a celebrity, which means we’re going to look at her from the lens of various ways of thinking such as the intersection of sex, gender, and class,” Cherish Brillon, a professor in the broadcast communications department, said after her first lecture.

Herself a “Swiftie”, as fans of the singer are popularly known, Brillon said the course would also study media portrayals of Swift, and how she is viewed in Philippines as a “transnational” figure.

Some of the two dozen students wore Swift merchandise and adorned their notebooks and laptops with stickers featuring the 14-time Grammy Award winner.

“I would love to delve deeper into the societal issues that we face in connection to Taylor Swift,” said student Shyne Cañezal, a “Swiftie” since grade school.

U.S. universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Berklee College of Music have offered courses on Swift, tackling her song-writing and literary takes on her discography, among other topics.

Swift is set to perform six sold-out “Eras Tour” shows in Singapore – her only stop in Southeast Asia – on March 2 to 9. More than 300,000 tickets were sold to fans who queued overnight in the blistering tropical heat.

— Reporting by Adrian Portugal; Writing by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Clarence Fernandez