The mission of the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies is to train a new generation of scholars to research and analyze the life, history, and culture of Mexican-origin people within the U.S., as well as of other Latina/Latino and indigenous populations in the Americas.

Addressing local, national, and transnational contexts, the Chicana/Chicano and Central American Studies curriculum at UCLA explores race, class, gender, and sexuality paradigms as they have shaped the history of the field, as well as new directions in the study of Chicanas/Chicanos and Latinas/Latinos, including (1) border and transnational studies, (2) expressive arts, (3) history, literature, and language of Americas, and (4) labor, law, and policy studies.

Departmental faculty members, situated in one of the most diverse cities in the world, utilize Los Angeles as a laboratory for studying the social transformations taking place in California, the Southwest, and the U.S. The department provides students with the interdisciplinary research tools necessary to advance knowledge in the field, provide academic leadership, and serve community needs with academic resources.