A Brief History of MAS

What Is the Soul of MAS?

Explore the culture and intellectual legacy of Chicanx, Mexican, Indigenous, and Latinx peoples.

Our History – Who Are We?

The Mexican American Studies program was founded in 1968 by a group of committed community activists, students, and educators in response to community and student demands for self-determination.

By 1975 it became the Mexican American Studies Committee. On March 22, 1981, the Mexican American Studies & Research Center was formally established. Two years later, the Center received state funding and began to realize its interdisciplinary research program. In 2009, the Center became a full-fledged department.

The Mexican American Studies Department offers an undergraduate degree (B.A.) and graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D. since 2012) as well as a dual degree program in Mexican American Studies and Public Health (M.S./MPH).

The Department of Mexican American Studies (MAS) at the University of Arizona offers interdisciplinary degree programs designed to study, recover and disseminate knowledge of the history, culture, and intellectual legacy of Chicanx, Mexican, Indigenous, and Latinx peoples in the United States and across the Américas. The Mexican American Studies program does this through decolonial epistemologies, pedagogies, and scholarship located at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. We consider social change imperative for the empowerment of Chicanx, Mexican, Indigenous, and Latinx populations who are disproportionately impacted by legacies of colonialism, racism, patriarchy, and their contemporary manifestations. 

Empowering community through our students to affect social change since 1980

Why Study and Work With Us?

As the leading intellectual and advocacy institution in Arizona, the Department of Mexican American Studies contributes to the knowledge about, and produced by Chicanx, Mexican, Indigenous, and Latinx populations, while engaging, sharing, and recommending public policy positions that are relevant to these communities, such as:

  • issues related to public health/wellness
  • (im)migration
  • the U.S.-Mexico border
  • education
  • social justice
  • transborder organizing
  • Latinx urbanization
  • Indigenous systems of healing
  • environmental and food justice
  • criminal justice and judicial system to stakeholders as a process of undoing systemic racism and exclusion

MAS at the University of Arizona is active in the Mexican American Studies struggle and is firmly committed to training future generations of scholars whose research is rooted in social justice. The department works collaboratively with community organizations to address issues and produce knowledge benefiting historically marginalized communities in the U.S. and transnationally.