The Mexican American Studies (MAS) program offers fully transferable courses for students pursuing a baccalaureate degree in this field or related studies. The mission of this degree is to offer students an interdisciplinary approach to learning. The MAS focus immerses students in the history, literature, art, culture, politics, language, and human experiences of Mexican Americans in the US. Courses offered in the MAS program provide cultural literacy regarding events, people, and traditions that have shaped the US, Texas, and the Mexican American communities many of our students call home.
Courses in Mexican American Studies
MAS courses are designed to foster critical analysis of intercultural diversity and to prepare students to understand and interact with people from diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives. Whether students originate from the Mexican American heritage or not, the program gives all students a deeper understanding of the political and historical context that informs the cultural diversity of the US, particularly Texas. Students who identify as Mexican American or Chicano/a often reflect that the MAS courses they take open a new, rich world for them that contextualizes their experiences by giving them a link to their past. The MAS program also supports the creation, celebration, and analysis of artistic works from Mexican American culture, providing a more complete picture of American history.
The MAS field of study includes the following courses:
- HUMA 1305: INTRODUCTION TO MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES: This interdisciplinary survey course examines the different cultural, artistic, economic, historical, political, and social aspects of the Mexican-American/Chicano/a communities. It also covers issues such as dispossession, immigration, transnationalism, and other topics that have shaped the Mexican-American/Chicano/a experience.
- HUMA 1311: MEXICAN AMERICAN FINE ARTS APPRECIATION: This course is an exploration of the purposes and processes in the visual and performing arts (such as music, painting, drama, literary works, and dance) and the ways in which they express the values of the Mexican American/Chicano/a experience.
- HIST 2327: MEXICAN AMERICAN HISTORY I: A study of the economic, social, cultural, and political development of Mexican American people with particular emphasis upon their contribution to American society. History 2327 Counts toward U.S. History requirement or as an elective.
- HIST 2328: MEXICAN AMERICAN HISTORY II: A continuation of HIST 2327, emphasizing the modern contributions and leaders of the Mexican-American culture in America.
- ENGL 2351: MEXICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: A survey of Mexican-American/ Chicano/a literature including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama.
- GOVT 2311: MEXICAN AMERICAN POLITICS: This course is designed to introduce students to the Mexican American experience within the United States political system. Students will be introduced to the basic institutions of the American political system and will explore the forces that have been integral to the inclusion/exclusion of Mexican-Americans in the United States.
- SPANISH I-IV: The study of the fundamentals of Spanish: conversation, writing, listening, reading comprehension, vocabulary building, grammar, and culture. These courses foster understanding of Spanish-speaking people through cultural comparison and development of written and spoken communication.
- SPANISH I-IV FOR NATIVE SPEAKERS: Courses for students who possess a spoken knowledge of Southwestern U.S. Spanish and who wish to develop competency in reading and writing standard Spanish. Through readings and compositions, students review the conventions of standard Spanish grammar and spelling.
Broader Program Vision, Affiliations, and Local Resources
MAS plans to integrate service learning into the program, involving students directly with their local communities. The program will also develop faculty led Study Abroad courses that further explore the art, music, and architecture of these cultural backgrounds. Additionally, students and the community can attend on-campus events related to MAS such as student art exhibits, performance art, panel discussions, lectures, and film screenings.
Overall, the MAS program seeks to expand connections between students and the rich traditions of Mexican American culture. As part of community outreach and connection, the MAS program encourages students to attend local cultural events and spaces. We recommend visiting the Mexic-Arte Museum, the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, the Benson Latin American Collection, the Blanton Museum of Art, Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, Red Salmon Arts, and the Santa Cruz Center for Culture.