Undergraduate Program in Ethnic Studies

The Ethnic Studies Department offers undergraduate degrees in the following areas: Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, and Native American Studies.

Ethnic Studies

The group major in Ethnic Studies provides a core curriculum designed to develop a comparative and multidisciplinary understanding of the experiences and communities of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicano/Latinos, and Native Americans.

Students majoring in Ethnic Studies study the history, culture, politics, and sociology of Third World communities in the United States within the general context of American society and institutions. Thus, they pursue knowledge vital for a critical understanding of contemporary society and for social changes to improve the lives and communities of racial minorities. Ethnic Studies majors also prepare themselves for advanced graduate study in either academic or professional fields.

Asian American Studies

The Asian American Studies Program is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of historical and contemporary experiences of Asian-ancestry groups in local, national, and global contexts. "Asian American" is a panethnic term designating a racialized population made up of various groups of Asian ancestry, and encompassing both the foreign-form and the U.S.-born.

As initially constituted as a component of the emergent field of ethnic studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the AASP centered on domestic U.S. concerns. It continues to be part of a national activist effort to increase the political, economic and cultural representation of people of color in American life, more specifically, to improve the educational relevance and ethnic diversity of institutions of higher learning. However, the AASP has also been responsive to the shifting geopolitical, economic and sociocultural forces most conveniently summed up by the term globalization, and is now increasingly attentive to issues of transnationality and diaspora while retaining its original commitment to community empowerment.

Chicano/Latino Studies

The Chicano/Latino Studies major offers an interdisciplinary curriculum of academic study that critically examines the historical and contemporary experiences of people of Mexican descent in the context of American society and institutions. Moreover, in light of continuous immigration from Mexico, and now Central America, the Chicano studies major curriculum includes the study of particular aspects of Mexican history, culture, and politics as they bear upon the Chicano community, past and present.

Emphasis is given in the major to the student developing a broad knowledge of the Chicano experience. Thus, the major stresses the analysis of the interrelationships in the historical background, cultural patterns, and artistic expressions of the Chicano community in order to acquire a well-rounded, in-depth understanding of the contemporary interface between Chicanos and American society. In this connection, the major strives to incorporate various disciplines in its approach, such as political science, sociology, anthropology, history, literary criticism, and art.

Through the interdisciplinary nature of our curriculum, the major is aimed at preparing students for incorporation into the world of work and for a wide range of advanced graduate work and/or professional training in various fields.

Native American Studies

The Native American Studies Program exists to broaden the understanding of students interested in the history, culture, and contemporary situations of Native Americans in the United States.

The curriculum has been structured to provide courses that deal with both historical and cultural analysis of Native American cultures and contemporary legal and social institutions that affect Native American life. The program not only stresses sound academic preparation in the classroom but also allows students the flexibility to take part in community-oriented education through field work or studies directed towards community situations and problems.

Undergraduate program


Ethnic Studies Department
506 Barrows Hall #2570
Berkeley, CA 94720-2570
510-643-0796
510-642-6456 fax
ethnicst@berkeley.edu

Office Hours: Mon - Thurs 9-12, 1-4, Fri 9-12