The Department of Chicana/o Studies at California State University Northridge (CSUN) is celebrating its 40th year anniversary. Chicana/o Studies was a product of 1960s political activism, social movements, and radical challenges to the academic status quo. In April 1969, two new CSUN departments were approved: Mexican-American Studies (which later became Chicana/o Studies) and Afro-American Studies later re-named Pan-African Studies. Fall 1969 marked the first regular semester that the Chicana/o Studies department offered courses at CSUN (then San Fernando Valley State College). The courses were critical, innovative, interdisciplinary and dedicated to community service and empowerment.
CSUN Chicana/o Studies is the largest Chicana/o Studies department in the nation and currently has 23 full time professors, 42 part time professors, 3 teaching assistants, and 1 graduate assistant. With over 160 class sections and nearly 5000 students taking courses in the fall 2009 semester, the department offers a Major, a Double-Major, a Minor, and a Masters. The department continues to struggle for the community, social justice, and the fulfillment of academic excellence for students, especially during this current economic crisis.
Our 40th year celebrations began this fall with the showing of “Unrest...Founding of the Cal State Northridge Chicana/o Studies Department.” Featuring historic footage and interviews with some of the department’s founders, the film offers significant insights on the struggle to establish Chicana/o Studies departments in higher education and shows the dedication and perseverance of Chicana/o students, faculty, staff and community members in the process. Future celebrations are planned throughout the year (visit our CSUN Chicana/o Studies website http://www.csun.edu/chicanostudies/).