You are in the official current online General Catalog
for California State University, Fresno.
Department of Chicano
and Latin American Studies
The College of Social Sciences
MARIA-APARECIDA LOPES, Chair
Social Science Building, Room 116
Chicano and Latin American Studies
Chicano and Latin American Studies (CLAS) is an interdisciplinary department
that has been successful in presenting a highly informed, active, and challenging
view of the Chicano/Latino experience in the United States and in U.S./Latin
American relations. Chicano and Latin American Studies provides an opportunity
for a pluralistic exchange of ideas in an interdisciplinary academic setting,
where faculty, students, and visiting Chicano and Latin American scholars
can share experiences and create a dynamic, intellectual environment.
The Chicano and Latin American Studies Department is designed to meet the following objectives:
- to promote an awareness of the historical and cultural roots of Chicanos/Latinos in the United States
- to enhance an understanding of Latin America
- to cultivate an appreciation of ethnic and national differences among all people
- to critically analyze the Chicano and the Latin American experience in terms of significant issues, theories, current problems, and solutions, and
- to provide students with a set of important professional skills to be utilized as they interact creatively and constructively with Chicano/Latino communities and multicultural society at large.
The department emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the study
of family life, history, politics, culture, and the arts of Chicano and
Latin American communities. The courses reflect an integrated approach in
providing students with greater knowledge and understanding of the social
reality and diversity of Chicanos and Latin Americans.
Faculty and Facilities
Maria-Aparecida Lopes, Chair
Victor M. Torres
The Chicano and Latin American Studies Department consists of faculty whose teaching and research expertise cover a broad spectrum, including anthropology, education, history, sociology, political science, Latin America, Latino literature, and the arts. The department is home to one of Central California's premier Mexican folkloric dance programs, Los Danzantes de Aztlán. This performance troupe is the only group of its kind in the entire CSU system to be designated as an official representative of a CSU campus (Fresno). The offices of the department also serve as a resource center for many of the Chicano/Latino student organizations and as an information center for the community.
Chicanos and other Latinos will soon be the largest ethnic group in California.
Demographers estimate that in California 40 percent of the population will
be of Mexican or Latino ancestry by the year 2030. This segment of our population
will have a major impact on our society, as its presence translates into
an increasing economic and political influence. Crucial social, economic,
and political decisions will be made that affect this group and the nation
at large. The growth of Latino-owned businesses, Spanish language media
networks, and political organizations are all indicators of the importance
of the Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. economy.
Chicano Studies majors are trained to analyze social issues, to think critically, and to conduct research. All majors receive applied as well as theoretical training, by serving an internship with a school or community agency to observe firsthand the social issues and theories which they study. These skills are useful in professional life and are valued in the public and private sectors.
Students of non-Latino origin find that Chicano and Latin American Studies courses are personally rewarding because they enable them to understand and relate to persons of different social and cultural backgrounds. Chicano and other Latino students find these courses highly conducive to strengthening their sense of identity and pride in their heritage.
Students who graduate with a B.A. in Chicano Studies or minor in Chicano/Latino Studies or Latin American Studies work in such fields as education, public administration, psychology, marketing, journalism, social services, and throughout the public and private sectors. Physicians, educators, lawyers, counselors, civil service employees, and other professionals have found that training in Chicano and Latin American studies improves their abilities to serve their clients and enhance their employment and advancement opportunities.
Students with a B.A. in Chicano Studies can enter master's or doctoral programs in the humanities and social sciences and in professional schools in such areas as Chicano studies, ethnic studies, anthropology, political science, history, public administration, Latino literature, multimedia, social work, and education. Also, students are encouraged to pursue double majors; one in Chicano Studies and the second in a professional area of their preference. Students with questions related to their future careers or seeking advising assistance should consult with the major and minor advisers of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department.