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UTSA students, community invited to explore Selena’s lasting impact on Hispanic identity with virtual course

The virtual course, available to students and the public, will return for the summer 2022 semester.

SAN ANTONIO, TX — The University of Texas at San Antonio will once again delve into the lasting impact of one music icon’s work on the Hispanic identity. “Selena: A Mexican American Identity & Experience” will return for the summer 2022 semester.

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During the semester, students and the public at large can enroll in the course, which examines how the life and career of Selena Quintanilla embodies the historical trajectory of the Mexican American identity and experience in Texas.

Sonya Alemán will lead a virtual course about Selena’s impact on Hispanic identity this summer. The course will be open to both UTSA students and the public. / Courtesy photo

Sonya M. Alemán will lead the virtual course, which will convene from 6 to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, beginning May 31 through July 5.

“The Selena course utilizes the iconic Selena Quintanilla as a launching point to talk about the histories and experiences of being Mexican American and Latina/o/x in the U.S,” said Alemán, associate professor and an instructor of Mexican American Studies in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development. “It also is intentionally crafted to honor the shared generational knowledge Selena’s array of fans carry about her significance, allowing students to co-construct the learning experience of the course, a unique aspect that many of those who have taken the course fully appreciated.”

“Selena’s cultural work continues to inspire members of Latino communities to imagine, accept and become the best versions of themselves.”

The return of the course coincides with the singer’s 51st birthday and the return of the movie “Selena” into theaters in celebration of its 25th anniversary. The film offers an introduction of the Queen of Tejano to a new generation. Alemán anticipates this heightened interest and awareness of Selena will lead to a deeper look into the impact she had on our culture.

“Selena’s cultural work continues to inspire members of Latino communities to imagine, accept and become the best versions of themselves. The full significance of her reach and impact has not yet been fully realized or documented,” Alemán said. “This course is a small attempt to add to that effort, and I hope that by inviting members of the community to share the space with UTSA students in a more accessible summer course, it will enrich that conversation.”

This summer, the course will be available for audit, meaning that UTSA students and nonstudents can enroll in the course for no grade and no credit. Opening the course to the public offers a unique opportunity for the San Antonio community and the university.

“This allows us to link the Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies (REGSS) Department and the Mexican American Program with the San Antonio community,” said Alejandra Elenes, chair of the REGSS Department.

Those interested in auditing the course will need to fill out the audit form and submit it for approval.

The Selena course is aligned with UTSA’s history as an institution dedicated to the promise of social mobility and opportunity for San Antonio’s culturally rich, predominantly Mexican American population. As a Hispanic-serving, Tier One research institution that aims to become a model of student success, UTSA is developing and implementing policies, practices, and support systems to intentionally promote Latino student success and remove barriers to graduation. These efforts are raising standards across the university, benefitting every student who attends UTSA.

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