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Changes bring enhancements for ASU students

April 02, 2007

The Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies opened its doors with a celebration – and the commitment from its faculty and staff members to create a center that addresses and studies the different aspects of Latinos in the United States.

The transformed department provides students with a value-added environment combining classroom instruction, applied field research, field station instruction in leadership and management, a rigorous program of methodological skills that span quantitative and qualitative approaches, and an insistence in bilingualism and biliteracy. According to Carlos Velez-Ibanez, chair of the department, it prepares them for the world of work in education, public service, commerce and government, and it is limited only by the imagination of the individual.

The recently expanded and renamed Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies Department at ASU focuses on United States and Mexican regional immigration policy and economy, media literature and arts, and transborder community development and health – areas that have a significant impact in the Latino community.

“In the first decade of the 21st century, 40 percent of the U.S.-Mexican-origin population was born in Mexico,” Velez-Ibanez says. “Moreover, Mexican-Americans now live in every state of the union, and large numbers of other Latino groups now live in close proximity to what were formerly nearly exclusive Mexican urban concentrations in cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and others.”

According to the U.S. census bureau, more than 24 percent of the country's population will be of Latina/o origin by 2050, of which at least 65 percent will be of Mexican origin.

To stay current with the trends of the country, this academic unit in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will take special interest in the scholarship and research of transnational and transborder economies, as well as the societies and cultures of Mexico and Latin America, with emphasis on how these are inexorably tied to the United States.

The department, previously named Chicana and Chicano Studies, was established more than a decade ago as an interdisciplinary academic field to study the history and current circumstances of Mexican-Americans in this country.

Under its new name, the department will maintain a primary focus on Mexican origin populations and the Mexico-U.S. border region, yet also will offer opportunities for students to understand how Latinos are changing and will change the face of this country, Velez-Ibanez says.