It is the mission of the Department of Latina/Latino Studies to prepare students with the comprehensive knowledge base, critical thinking skills and social consciousness necessary to function as effective leaders in an increasingly complex and diverse society. It is our intent to promote understanding, tolerance, and appreciation of cultural differences as well as to advance the understanding and interests of Latina/Latino populations in the United States.
As a direct result of the Third World Coalition-led student and faculty strike at San Francisco State University in 1968, the College of Ethnic Studies was created as a response to the demands of concerned students, community and faculty activists for an academic program that addressed the higher education needs of under-served communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Latina/Latino Studies Department (originally Raza Studies) was established in the Fall of 1969, as part of the College of Ethnic Studies, and was the first department of its kind on any four-year college campus. The early goals of the Raza Studies program centered on providing SFSU students with a better understanding of Latino intellectual traditions as well as the conditions and concerns of the various Latino populations in the Bay Area and beyond. Raza Studies was also defined by its commitment to improving social and economic conditions in local communities.
Today, Latina/Latino Studies still holds to a vision of social equity, empowerment and diversity grounded in a global perspective while building on a solid foundation in the Latina/Latino community that includes a commitment to community service. Our curriculum places a high value on critical thinking so that students may positively navigate through such issues as immigration, equity, criminal justice, the transformative possibilities of the humanities and creative arts, and the integration of indigenous thought and practices from throughout the Americas.