The Queen of Tejano music now has her very own college course.
University of Texas at San Antonio students interested in the life and career of singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez can now take a course all about the pop culture icon this fall.
The course, titled “Selena: A Mexican American Identity and Experience,” will delve into an array of topics regarding Selena’s career image, music and her Spanish language and Mexican American identity.
The class will be taught by Mexican-American Studies professor Sonya M. Alemán.
“Issues about race, class, gender identity; about the racialized experience of being a Chicana and Mexican American — I just knew that all of that could be untangled and unpacked through the lens of looking at this iconic figure,” Alemán said. “Selena embodied all of those things in some aspect of her life and career.”
Aleman said the goal for the class is to explore the genesis of the Mexican-American identity. Students can expect to analyze the elements that shape this identity and the bridges between cultures and languages.
“We can look over Selena’s life and it becomes very apparent that that was the world she was living in,” she said. “I think my choices will be based on that and it may be that that brings in topics regarding representation and image. It will show the role our language plays and a better understanding of the Mexican-American identity, especially in this part of the world. Those are the anchor points that I think will guide me in my decision making for the first launch of it this fall.”
A Grammy Awards winner, Quintanilla-Perez broke barriers in what was a male-dominated genre in Tejano music, rising to fame together with her group Selena y Los Dinos.
Her life was cut short by Yolanda Saldivar, her former fan club president and Selena’s clothing boutique manager, who shot the then 23-year-old singer in 1995.
Aleman hopes students will leave with a better understanding of their community and why after 25 years of her death, Selena remains a legend.
“I hope they have a deepened affection toward her because they’re able to more clearly articulate the parallels between their lives and hers,” she said.