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Fronteras: 'She was otherworldly, but she was also one of you' — UTSA course examines Selena's impact on Mexican American culture and identity

Selena Quintanilla Pérez blazed a trail with a career that was skyrocketing upward until her untimely death in 1995.

In the 27 years since then, Selena remains memorialized in popular culture as the "Queen of Tejano music." Netflix released a miniseries in 2020; the popular Apple Podcast “Anything for Selena” topped the platform’s charts; and Gregory Nava’s 1997 biopic was re-released in theaters to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Selena has even become a topic of academic study in San Antonio.

The University of Texas at San Antonio will offer the virtual course “Selena: A Mexican American Identity & Experience” this summer.

Sonya Alemán, an associate professor in UTSA’s Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, will lead the audited course.

Alemán says that while the course discusses Selena’s life and career, it is not a biography. Instead, it serves as an entry point into broader conversations about biculturality, bilingualism and Mexican American culture.

“One of the beautiful things for me is that the course allows [students] to recognize how important it is to have curriculum that’s founded in their community’s history,” said Alemán.

The course is available for audit to anyone interested and will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 31 through July 5. Click here for an audit form and instructions.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Marian Navarro produces for Texas Public Radio's Morning Edition and Fronteras.