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Chicano and Latin American Studies


Curriculum 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.


Here is the list of courses that CLAS offers. The codes F and S tell you when the course is offered, either in the Fall and/or the Spring.

Lower-division courses:

CLAS 3. Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies (3 units)
Prerequisite: G.E. Foundation A2. 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. FS

CLAS 5. Chicano Culture (3 units)
Prerequisite: G.E. Foundation A2. 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. FS

CLAS 9. Chicano Artistic Expression (3 units)
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. FS

CLAS 30. Critical Thinking in Chicano and Latin American Studies (3 units)
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 of race, ethnicity, gender, culture and class with a focus on Chicanos and Latin America. G.E. Foundation A3. FS

CLAS 42B. Introduction to Chicano-Latino Research Methods (3 units)
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.

CLAS 70. Introduction to Latin American Studies (3 units)
A basic overview of Latin America; its nations, history, problems, and realities. Discusses theoretical paradigms used to analyze Latin American issues.

Upper-division courses:

CLAS 100. Chicano Literature (3 units)
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.

CLAS 106. Folkloric Dance (3; repeatable up to 12 units)
History and performance of Mexican folk music and dance; Indian, African, Spanish, and European influences; contemporary relationships to Chicano culture. F

CLAS 107. Latino Dance (2; max total 4 units)
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.

CLAS 108. Chicano Theatre (1-3; repeatable up to 12 units)
Production of Chicano Theatre for major performances. Comedia del Arte, Passion Plays, Theatre of the Absurd, Socially Popular Theatre: Teatro Compesino.

CLAS 112. Pre-Hispanic Civilizations (3 units)
Historical examination of the origins of the Maya-Aztec civilizations in Meso America until 1521. The values, social organization, religion and their daily lives, technological and scientific achievements will be examined.

CLAS 114. Mexico and the Southwest 1810-1910 (3 units)
Prerequisites: 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. FS SU

CLAS 115. Mexico-U.S. Relations Since 1910 (3 units)
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 status of Mexicanos/Chicanos in the United States.

CLAS 116. Cultural Change and the Latino (3 units)
Prerequisite: CLAS 5 for CLAS majors. Examines the growing complexity and diversity of the Latino population in the U.S. by analyzing its cultural, political, social, and economic manifestations. Emphasizes its contribution to the development of a multicultural nation during the late twentieth century. S

CLAS 128. Contemporary Political Issues (3 units)
Political philosophies, goals, and strategies of Chicanos and Latinos as reflected in their attempts to gain political power.

CLAS 130. Latina/o Culture and Media Studies (3 units)
Evaluates roles of mass media institutions in cultural/social development of Latina/o communities and vice versa. Observes media and Latina/o community social/cultural impacts in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, and social class constructs. Looks at ideological agendas in national and international media.

CLAS 142. Chicano Research: Issues and Analysis (3 units)
An interdisciplinary approach to research techniques with special emphasis upon issues, problems, and research designs appropriate to the study of Chicano communities. Field application of research plans, techniques including methods of observation, gathering, and analyzing data.

CLAS 143. Bilingual/Bicultural Education (3 units)
Prerequisite: CLAS 116; for CLAS majors and recommended for 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.) S

CLAS 145. Fieldwork in Community Settings (3; max total 6 units)
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. (Liberal Studies Program and BCLAD students, see Advising Notes.) FS

CLAS 152. The Chicano Family (3 units)
(Same as WS 152.) Traditional and changing relationships in the family structure of the Chicano; interaction with wider institutional social system. S

CLAS 160. Sex, Race, and Class in American Society (3 units)
Prerequisite: G.E. Foundation and G.E. Area D 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. G.E. Multicultural/International MI. FS

CLAS 162. Chicana Women in a Changing Society (3 units)
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.

CLAS 170. Latin American Studies (3 units)
Prerequisite: G.E. Foundation and G.E. 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. G.E. Multicultural/International MI. FS

CLAS 171. Brazilian Culture and Society (3 units)
Basic overview of the Brazilian culture in a historical perspective; concentrates on the study of topics such as race politics, gender relations, authoritarian and democratic regimes, and popular culture as they relate to different stages in the country's history.

CLAS 180T. Topics of Chicano Society
(1-3 units; repeatable with different topics)
Culture, art forms, economy, and societal organization. Certain CLAS 180T classes are CR/NC grading only. See department for further information.

CLAS 190. Independent Study (1-3; max total 6 units)
See Academic Placement -- Independent Study. Approved for RP grading.