“A mind placed at the forward edge of events and guided by knowledge
uses the past, affects the present, and helps form the future…”
Ernesto Galarza, 1977
The Department of Chicana/o Studies celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2009, yet continues to work from the premise set forth by Ernesto Galarza. Originally founded to address the immediate needs of Chicana/o students at CSUN, the Department has grown and flourished because and in spite of the different times it has endured. From the political and cultural revolutionary renaissance of the 1960s-1970s, through the conservative and neo-liberal backlash of the 1980s-1990s, at the turn of the 21st Century, Chicana/o Studies at CSUN is now more than ever committed to contribute to the development of well rounded critical thinkers, and participants of, and contributors to society.
The Department applies a pedagogical practice of humanization and self actualization through a dialectical approach that aims to incorporate and synthesize various world views in the name of social justice, fairness, and equality.
A primary objective of the Department is to assist in the development of analytical and communication skills of students. The curriculum and pedagogical praxis introduce students to subject matter related to the multidimensional experiences of Chicanos/as. As an Area Studies department, Chicana/o Studies offers courses in every academic discipline except mathematics and science. Moreover, our mission is designed to prepare students for careers in an increasingly competitive labor market and graduate/professional school opportunities upon graduation from CSUN.
In this spirit, skills development in the areas of critical thinking, substantive research, public speaking, writing, artistic performance and creative expression is intended to prepare students to provide independent analysis and be accountable for their perspectives through methodical, substantive, and clear presentation.
In the midst of this, the Department and its faculty provide a flourishing artistic, performance, and musical kaleidoscope of mentorship and instruction. On a visit to the Department one sees first hand the murals created by students, and is serenaded by the vibrant sound of son jarocho, guitar, and folklorico dance classes.
Our graduate and undergraduate academic program is particularly suitable for students preparing to enter the fields of community service, local government, teaching, or social work. It is also preparation for those intending to enter various graduate professional fields such as history, sociology, psychology, library science, political science, social work, law, urban studies, and others.
In our forty years, The Department of Chicana/o Studies is proud to have worked with students from the San Fernando Valley, the greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas, as well as students from throughout the country and the world. Indeed, Chicano/a Studies at CSUN continues to be at the forefront in “helping to form the future.”