Photo Exhibit to Celebrate the Founding of CSUN’s Chicana/o Studies Department

Color image of the poster for the Chicano studies eventSome of the photos are images of young professors standing in front of a chalkboard, others depict students taking part in demonstrations, working on a bilingual student newspaper or meeting on campus.

There are more than 100 in all, and together the images tell the story of the founding of California State University, Northridge’s Department of Chicana/o Studies in the years 1968 to 1975. They will be on display in the first floor of CSUN’s Jerome Richfield Hall beginning Saturday, April 27.

The university will celebrate the exhibition with a reception and host a mini-reunion of those who were part of the department’s founding. The event from 5 to 10 p.m. on April 27 in Richfield Hall on the west side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

“We are honoring the students and community folks who were part of the struggle to get the department founded,” said Chicana/o studies professor Jorge Garcia, one of the event’s organizers. “The photos document what when on—the strikes, the demonstrations, the teatro, the activities by students, the community, the campus—from the founding of M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) and EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) to the actual founding of the department.

“The images are of time in history that changed CSUN and helped create an academic field of study that is recognized around the world,” he said.

In addition to the exhibition, the free event will include a screening of the documentary “Unrest,” about the beginning of Chicana/o studies, hosted by Miguel Duran and presentations by a Marta Ramirez, a member of the early Chicano student theater group “Mascarones,” and Ramos Holguin, an early student activist who later became director of CSUN EOP.

For more information about the exhibition, call CSUN’s Department of Chicana/o Studies at (818) 677-2734.

CSUN’s Chicana/o studies department was established in 1969 in response to the educational needs of Chicana/o students. At the height of the civil rights movement, history professor Rodolfo Acuña was recruited by students, faculty and community and became the department’s founding faculty member. In a short span of time, he developed 45 courses, and by April 1969 the department had been born.

Courses were designed to provide students with an awareness of the social, political, economic, historical and cultural realities in our society. It was structured as an inter-disciplinary, area studies department in order to offer a Chicana/o critique and perspective within the traditional disciplines.

Over the years, the department has evolved to respond to changing demographics. Currently the Department of Chicana/o Studies at California State University, Northridge is the largest of its kind in the country housing 25 full-time and 35 part-time professors. Between 160 and 170 class sections are offered every semester.

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