Chicano/a Studies Minor

female student in front of her laptop looking at presentation

UC Merced Chicano/a Studies Program

The Minor in Chicano/a Studies is an interdisciplinary program that introduces students to the complex experiences, history, cultural practices, and social interactions of one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States. The program has been designed around conceptual and theoretical units that are central to Chicano/a Studies as a field. In the upper division courses, students, in final papers/projects, will be able to critically examine the concepts below as they tie in to each particular course. UC Merced's Minor in Chicano/a Studies is organized around the following central questions that the program will explore, and students will address, from multiple disciplinary perspectives:

  • The role that race and ethnicity play and have played in shaping the experiences of different ethnic groups in the United States, with an emphasis on Chicanos/as;
  • the dynamics of migration and immigration, and the ensuing changes in identity, language, social and cultural practices, and national (or transnational) allegiances; particular attention will be paid to the borderlands and its role in defining a Chicano/a identity over the years;
  • cultural contact and conflict in a historical context, including an in-depth examination of activism and its role in raising consciousness, political mobilization (both contentious and non-contentious behavior), building a sense of community, and advancing Chicano/a civil and human rights;
  • literature and the ways in which it reflects and advances social changes, produces artistic renditions of Chicano/a and non-Chicano/a life, facilitates a sense of community, and interacts with readers from different cultural backgrounds;
  • language, with special attention to bilingualism, the social and the artistic uses of mixing languages, as well as the tension between spoken and written versions of those languages;
  • the indigenous component of the Chicano/a identity; Chicanos/as are the descendants of multiple indigenous groups from present-day Mexico and the United States, and exploring that descent is central to Chicano/a studies.