Philippine Universities Tune In to Taylor Swift: Electives on the Global Pop IconBy Joy Liwanag
Filipino Swifties, the affectionate term for fans of international pop sensation Taylor Swift, are in for a treat as universities in the Philippines roll out specialized courses on the Grammy-winning artist. De La Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) Senior High School (SHS) recently made headlines by announcing an elective solely dedicated to Taylor Swift for its upcoming second semester starting on January 17, 2024.
Excitement and Controversy Surround Taylor Swift Elective
The announcement, made via the official Facebook account of DLSU-D SHS on January 12, sparked both excitement and controversy among the local community and fans. The elective, described as an opportunity to "dive into the enchanting world of Taylor Swift and explore the musical artistry that has captured hearts worldwide," received mixed reactions online.
Addressing the negative feedback, DLSU-D SHS released a statement on January 15, emphasizing that the Taylor Swift elective is just one of several options. Students can also choose from diverse topics such as Harry Potter, K-drama or K-pop, Robotics, Spongebob, and more. The school aims to cater to students' diverse interests and align the elective choices with their potential college degrees.
Uplinked Elective Program: Bridging High School and College Credits
Each semester, students can select any three-unit elective course, and these units may be credited when they enroll in college through DLSU-D's Uplinked Elective program. This initiative aims to streamline the transition from high school to college while allowing students to explore a range of subjects tailored to their interests.
Taylor Swift Studies Beyond DLSU-D: A Trend in Philippine Academia
DLSU-D SHS is not the only educational institution in the Philippines recognizing the impact of Taylor Swift on popular culture. The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication has also joined the trend by offering a special topic in broadcasting class dedicated to the global pop icon. Dr. Cherish Brillon will lead the class titled "Celebrity Studies: Taylor Swift in Focus."
Academic Exploration of Celebrity Culture
The objective of the course is to delve into the conception, construction, and performance of Taylor Swift as a celebrity. It aims to explore how Swift can serve as a lens to understand society's dynamics, including aspects of class, politics, gender, race, and fantasies of success and mobility within the media landscape.
Swift's Global Impact: Beyond Music
Taylor Swift, an American singer-songwriter, has become one of the most recognizable and successful artists globally, known for hits like "Love Story," "All Too Well," "Back to December," and "Enchanted." As of October 2023, Swift's net worth surpassed $1 billion, solidifying her status as one of the wealthiest female celebrities globally. Additionally, she achieved a milestone by surpassing Elvis Presley's record for the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The inclusion of Taylor Swift-centric courses reflects the growing trend of incorporating contemporary pop culture into academic curricula. It underscores the influence of artists like Swift in shaping societal conversations and the evolving landscape of higher education. As Filipino universities embrace this shift, it opens up discussions on the intersection of entertainment, celebrity culture, and academic exploration in the 21st century.