The University of Melbourne hosts two-day academic conference on Taylor Swift ahead of The Eras Tour
The University of Melbourne has hosted a two-day academic conference on Taylor Swift ahead of The Eras Tour in Australia.
Australians have been waiting patiently for the pop superstar to take her tour down under, with Swifties even going as far as tattooing themselves ahead of the stellar event. The singer is heading to the city of Victoria between 16-18 February and Sydney between 23-26 February.
The university held the first “Swiftposium” — a “hybrid academic conference for scholars to engage in critical dialogue about Swift’s popularity and its profound implications for a range of issues” — between 11-13 February.
Around 400 academic papers from 78 universities and research institutes across the globe were submitted to be discussed at the event. Just 130 were accepted from gender studies, musicology, economics, urban planning and more.
The Swiftposium was not open to the public and Swift herself did not attend the event. However, RMIT University also hosted a “Fanposium” on 11 February in collaboration between the two universities for the public “to lick off the week-long carnival of Taylor Swift”.
Some topics which were discussed at the event include the Swift-Kanye West feud which culminated at the 2009 VMAs, Swift’s feminist lyrics, her authenticity, her ongoing legal battle with deepfake pornography, and the future of AI and songwriting.
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Hannah Gould, an anthropologist of death, technology and Buddhism took to the event to discuss the singer’s themes “of complex spirituality, feminism, Orientalism and nature”.
“Looking forward to developing this further with all your wonderful comments. Thanks for having us @swiftposium,” Gould wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
The conference marked PhD student Madeline Pentland’s first presentation of her inaugural paper. “What a perfect opportunity to merge the two facets of my personality, Taylor Swift (first and foremost) and Australian political history,” Pentland wrote on the social media site.
“First day of the academic part of @swiftposium is DONE! It was unbelievably amazing, several times I had to stop myself from crying at the wonder of it all,” said cultural studies DECRA fellow Hannah McCann.
“Academics from all over the world applying their expertise and critical lens to this crazy phenomenon #Swiftposium2024.”
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