Here’s Why One Professor In San Diego Started A Course On Selena And Latino Media
Students at San Diego State University might want to brush up on their Selena history as a new class focused on the Late Tejano star is set to be offered next spring. Tuesday, on what would have been her 48th birthday, SDSU announced it will offer a new course dedicated to Quintanilla and her influence on Latino culture. The class will be called “Selena and Latinx Media Representation”and students can begin registering for the course on November 1.
The course will explore Latino identities and socio-cultural representations through Selena’s music and career.
The class will be a celebration of Latino culture and what the Tejano Queen means in terms of representation.
Dr. Nathian Shae Rodriguez, an assistant professor of digital media at SDSU, advocated for the course and will be the one teaching it. He says the class is more than just about Selena but an overall exploration of her influence on Latino culture.
“She just has this influence on different generations that is still being felt today,” Rodriguez said. “Not just in pop culture but in Latinx culture and I feel that it’s important to have a course that highlights her influence.”
Rodriguez says the class will be divided into two segments, Selena’s life and her influence as a whole. He stresses the cultural impact that she is still having on today’s pop culture scene, most notably in music and in fashion. The timing for the class was also perfect, Rodriguez points out students in this socioeconomic atmosphere are looking representation now more than ever.
“Look at TV and film and she is still being talked about, Netflix is releasing a show on her this year and our students will be dissecting it in real time,” Rodriguez said. “Whether it’s marketing. fashion and music festivals, Selena is more popular than ever.
For students, getting to learn and discuss a star like Selena is important because of the lack of Latino representation today.
Rodriguez, who grew up in Texas just like Selena, says getting to teach the course is special to him. He learned to speak Spanish by listening to Selena’s music and was one of the few mainstream Latinos growing up. The hope is students taking the course will be able to have to critical discussions and lessons on not only Selena but her influence on pop culture as a whole.
Rodriguez adds that the class is important for college-age students, many of them 18-20 years-old, because they didn’t get to experience, first-hand, the peak of Selena’s stardom. He says they may know her music and have seen her film but haven’t had a chance to dissect Selena as an influence on the mainstream scope.
“She was ahead of her time. Her fashion, her music, her personality was so contagious and now people are looking back now and realize how important Selena was,” Rodriguez said. “Her fashion is still relevant now. Cardi B and Bruno Mars just covered her music, She has yet to go out of style.”
This will be the first course in the country that is focused on Selena and her impact.
Rodriguez says the course will be on a trial run next spring will plans to make it a permanent course at SDSU. The class is a collaboration between SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies and the university’s Digital Humanities Initiative.
News of the course being offered has been nothing short of positive from students. Rodriguez says many have told him how important it is to them to see the class being offered.
“People were commenting left and right about how excited they are to learn about themselves,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve basically told me representation matters and this class being offered in a way shows just that. This class isn’t just about a celebrity, its about representation and students being able to see themselves in our world.”
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