University of Minnesota
Chicano & Latino Studies

Chicano & Latino Studies

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  • Message from the Chair, Dr. Edén E. Torres

    It is my pleasure to serve as the current Chair of the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies. In existence since 1972, this historically important and socially significant institution was one of the first full-fledged Departments of Chicano & Latino Studies in the nation and it remains fairly unique in the Upper Midwest. While other universities and colleges have programs in Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, ours is still the only Department of Chicano Studies in Minnesota. We pride ourselves in carrying forth the legacy of the students and community members whose vision, advocacy and activism preceded the establishment of this department.

    Chicano and Latino Studies is the study of people of Mexican and Latin American descent in the United States through an interdisciplinary lens. It is grounded in social justice values that seek the amelioration of racism, sexism, homophobia, and systemic inequalities.

    Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, it also values a close working relationship with community. Educational access is seen as a fundamental right and a form of community empowerment. Staff and faculty in Chicano and Latino studies work at developing special relationships with, and between, students and community members. We are also seen as a place of strong cultural connections-a place where Chicana/o-Latina/o students can gather, can connect with others who have similar research interests, and find dynamic inquiries into issues that are important to our communities. Students are also given quality academic advice in pursuing an education and a career that advances their personal goals and strengthens the prosperity and political well-being of the entire community.

    Respecting our origins in Chicana/o activism, we are poised to be the purveyors, gatherers and creators of knowledge about the many racial, ethnic and national-origin groups residing in the U.S. under the more general label of "Latinas/os". We are part of a rapidly expanding intellectual tradition in Chicana/o Studies as well as respected contributors to many other fields. As recent demographic information has emerged clearly showing Latinas/os as the fastest growing population in the U.S. and in Minnesota, it is imperative that this department continues to exist as an integral part of the University of Minnesota. In the 21st Century, it is clearly a necessary element in a well-rounded liberal arts education for all students. We invite you to be part of this journey.
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