Lana Del Rey Discography Explored in New University Course

Published February 23, 2024

As the seasons change and students prepare for the upcoming Spring Quarter, the music of Lana Del Rey continues to be a topic of academic interest. A new course at Northwestern University titled 'Humanities 370: Lana Del Rey: Emotional Landscapes of U.S. Settler Colonialism' is set to examine the pop singer's impact on society and culture.

Pivotal Influence on Fans

Lana Del Rey's entry into the music scene with 'Video Games' resonated with many, including Madeleine Le Cesne, now a Ph.D. candidate in performance studies, who was 16 at the time. As a 'Black queer femme,' Le Cesne found Del Rey's presence and approach to be significant during an essential time of personal growth.

An Unexpected Class Popularity

Interest in the new course surpassed all expectations. Instead of the anticipated small group, registration showed a full class of 16 and an extensive waiting list, indicating a high level of student engagement with the subject of Lana Del Rey's body of work.

Content of Emotional and Political Weight

The course is described as a deep dive into how Del Rey's music reflects themes of settler colonialism in the United States and how it connects to the broader idea of decolonization. Communication junior Naya Hemphill expresses her understanding of the intersection between Del Rey's Americana aesthetics and the historical narrative of colonialism.

Addressing Complexities and Controversy

Del Rey's work is not without its controversies, with criticisms over cultural appropriation and romanticizing troubling themes. Despite these issues, Le Cesne emphasizes the importance of her music and plans to dissect the complex emotions and cultural narratives present in it.

The Significance of Educating on Settler Colonialism

The enthusiasm for the course reflects a broader desire among students to understand the native history and their own roles within a settler colonial framework. Kadin Mills, a Medill senior and an indigenous former Daily staffer, acknowledges the value of increasing awareness and education on these topics.

education, culture, music