Latin American Studies, Minor


Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies

Dr. Cristina Herrera, Chair
Social Science Building, Room 211

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Chicano Studies, B.A.
BA in Latin American Studies, B.A.
MN in Chicano/Latino Studies, Minor
MN in Latin American Studies, Minor

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:

  1. to promote an awareness of the historical and cultural roots of Chicanos/Latinos in the United States
  2. to enhance an understanding of Latin America
  3. to cultivate an appreciation of ethnic and national differences among all people
  4. to critically analyze the Chicano and the Latin American experience in terms of significant issues, theories, current problems, and solutions, and
  5. 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.


Chicano & Latin Amer Studies

CLAS 3. Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies

Prerequisite: GE Foundation A2 for students in English college-readiness Category III and IV. Introduction to the historical and contemporary experiences of Chicanos and other Latinos in American society. Their contributions to the United States and their current economic, political, and social status are discussed. G.E. Breadth D3.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: D3

CLAS 5. Chicano Culture

Prerequisite: GE Foundation A2 for students in English college-readiness Category III and IV. A historical examination of Chicano culture from the pre-Columbian period to the present. The customs, values, belief-systems, and their symbols are analyzed; important events and changes occurring through time are emphasized. G.E. Breadth D3.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: D3

CLAS 9. Chicano Artistic Expression

Introduction to Chicano artistic expression, with special attention to cultural continuity and change; the interrelationships between popular music, dance, drama, literature, and the graphic arts are analyzed. G.E. Breadth C1.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: C1

CLAS 30. Critical Thinking in Chicano and Latin American Studies

Distinguishes belief vs. knowledge and fact vs. opinion; examines relationship between language/logic in structuring around arguments; uses deductive/inductive reasoning; distinguishes and evaluates unsupported beliefs. Critical thinking skills are applied to topics concerning questions race, ethnicity, ender, culture and class with a focus on Chicanos and Latin America. G.E. Foundation A3.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
GE Area: A3

CLAS 42B. Introduction to Chicano-Latino Research Methods

Prerequisite: CLAS 42A or permission of instructor. Introduces students to basic research methodologies and theories pertaining to Chicano/Latino communities. Focuses on identifying specific areas in need of further research; locating and formulating problems; basic techniques including methods of observation, gathering, and analysis of data; interpretation of data; access database programs; preparation of research paper. (Formerly CLS 180T section)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

CLAS 70. Introduction to Latin American Studies

A basic overview of Latin America; its nations, history, problems, and realities. Theoretical paradigms utilized to analyze Latin American issues are discussed.

Units: 3

CLAS 100. Chicano Literature

An interpretive analysis of written Chicano literature: poetry, drama, short story, novel, and essay. The relationship between literature and a changing Chicano sociocultural environment is explored.

Units: 3

CLAS 102W. Contemporary Chicana/Latina Writing and Culture

Critical, written analysis of Chicana and Latina writing and culture with emphasis on gender, race, sexuality, and social class. Course satisfies the CSU Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

Units: 3

CLAS 106. Folkloric Dance

History and performance of Mexican folk music and dance; Indian, African, Spanish, and European influences; contemporary relationships to Chicano culture.

Units: 3

CLAS 107. Latino Dance

Examination of origins, composition, and performance of various types of Chicano/Latino music and dance: boleros, huapangos, cumbias, chachas, salsa; emphasis on contemporary and cross-cultural influences in Chicano/Latino music-and-dance. CR/NC grading only.

Units: 2, Repeatable up to 4 units

CLAS 108. Chicano Theatre

Production of Chicano Theatre for major performances. Comedia del Arte, Passion Plays, Theatre of the Absurd, Socially Popular Theatre: Teatro Compesino.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 12 units

CLAS 112. Pre-Hispanic Civilizations

Historical examination of the origins of the Maya-Aztec civilizations in Mesoamerica until 1521. The values, social organization, religion and their daily lives, technological and scientific achievements will be examined.

Units: 3

CLAS 114. Mexico and the Southwest 1810-1910

Prerequisite: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area D. Examines the development of the Mexican nation from the Independence period to the Mexican Revolution (1810-1910). Special attention is given to the nineteenth-century Mexican-American and Chicano experience in the Southwest United States before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). G.E. Integration ID.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
GE Area: ID

CLAS 115. Mexico-U.S. Relations Since 1910

Historical perspective of the changing relationship between Mexico and the United States during the 20th century. Analysis of the Mexican Revolution, the Great Depression, World War II, immigration, and their impact on Mexico-U.S. relations. Special emphasis on the status of Mexicanos/Chicanos in the United States.

Units: 3

CLAS 120. Latina/o Cultural Changes

Prerequisite: CLAS 5 for CLAS majors. The course examines the diversity of the Latina/o population in the U.S. It analyzes cultural, political, social, and economic complexities facing Latinas/os. (Formerly CLAS 116).

Units: 3

CLAS 128. Contemporary Political Issues

Political philosophies, goals, and strategies of Chicanos and Latinos as reflected in their attempts to gain political power.

Units: 3

CLAS 130. Latina/o Culture and Media Studies

Evaluates roles of mass media institutions in cultural/social development of Latina/o communities and vice versa. Media and Latina/o community socila/cultural impacts are observed in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, and social class constructs, and ideological agendas in national and international media.

Units: 3

CLAS 141. The Chicano Family

(CLAS 141 same as WS 152.) Traditional and changing relationships in the family structure of the Chicano; interaction with wider instituitional social system. (CLAS 141 formerly CLAS 152).

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

CLAS 143. Bilingual/Bicultural Education

Prerequisite: CLAS 120 for CLAS majors ; CLAS 120 and recommended for CLAD/BCLAD students. Investigation into what it means to be bilingual and bicultural; review of programs scaled toward a more meaningful education for the Chicano child. (Bilingual Education majors see department chair for further prerequisites.)

Units: 3

CLAS 145S. Service Learning in Chican@/Latin@ Settings

Prerequisite: CLAS 3 or permission of instructor. Supervised placement in community and educational settings. Provides a variety of learning experiences in community agencies, organizations, or educational institutions with a service-learning component.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

CLAS 150. Research Methods

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to research design and methods. The course culminates with a research proposal/project to give students the opportunity to think about the application of observation, gathering, and analyzing data in a research project. (Formerly CLAS 142).

Units: 3

CLAS 160. Sex, Race, and Class in American Society

From an interdisciplinary perspective, focuses on ethnic identity and gender and their interrelationship with socioeconomic class structure in American society. Special attention is given to analyzing how inequities in race, gender, and class structures influence and shape social, economic, and political relations in society. Multicultural/International M/I.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

CLAS 162. Chicana Women in a Changing Society

Focuses on current issues relevant to Chicana women in the workforce, the family, the health care system, and the educational system. The intersection of race, class, and gender will be the analytical context for examining both their historical and contemporary roles.

Units: 3

CLAS 170. Latin American Studies

Prerequisites: G.E. Foundation and Breadth Area D. Overview of the dynamic changes in the nations of Latin America. Uses an interdisciplinary approach that integrates a cultural, political, social, and economic perspective to the study of Latin American countries. Helps students develop a better understanding of the historical roots and circumstances that are shaping the current realities of each nation. Multicultural International M/I.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

CLAS 171. Multicultural Brazil

This course analyzes Brazil's social, economic, and political relations from a historical perspective. It emphasizes topics such as the contradictory legacy of slavery and its consequences, including inequality and multiculturalism. It also examines Brazil's international relations, its roles as a regional power, and its potential as a global power. (HIST 161 same as CLAS 171).

Units: 3

CLAS 172S. Migration in the Americas

This course will examine Latin American migration from the late nineteenth century to the present. The central question we will cover is: why do people migrate? This course has a service learning component.

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

CLAS 173. Latin American Politics

Discusses the role of the military and violence in Latin American politics, the role of civilian groups with emphasis on democratization, and the influence of other nations - especially the United States - on Latin American politics. (CLAS 173 same as PLSI 148)

Units: 3
Course Typically Offered: Spring

CLAS 180T. Topics of Chicano Society

Culture, art forms, economy, and societal organization. Certain CLS 180T classes are CR/NC grading only. See department for further information.

Units: 1-3

CLAS 190. Independent Study

See Academic Placement -- Independent Study. Approved for RP grading.

Units: 1-3, Repeatable up to 6 units
Course Typically Offered: Fall, Spring


Latin American Studies Minor Requirements

Students are encouraged to focus on an area of interest in Latin America, such as a country, region, or social issue affecting a particular region. The Latin American Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary program consisting of courses dealing with Latin America and the Caribbean with course offerings from several departments.

Lower division: CLAS 70 (3 units)
Choose one of the following: HIST 3 or 8(3 units)

Upper-division courses (12 units)
Select from CLAS 112, 114, 115, 180T*, 190*; AFRS 130T*; ARTH 173, 175; ECON 114, 178, 179, 181, 188T*; SPAN 125, 143, 145, 147, 148T*; GEOG 170T; HIST 145, 160, 162, 165, 166, 169T, 183; HUM 130; PHIL 132; PLSI 121, 126, 146T; WS 135

Total (18 units)

Minor Advising Notes

  1. *Special topics or directed reading courses must have subject matter dealing with Latin America, the Caribbean, or must focus on issues affecting those areas.
  2. Courses taken to complete major requirements cannot be double-counted for the minor.
  3. Courses taken to complete General Education Integration requirements can be double-counted for the minor.
  4. Other acceptable courses can be substituted to satisfy minor requirements with ap proval of your CLAS advisor.


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.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.