UCSB's academic departments and units generally incorporate diversity topics and efforts into their short- and long-term planning, their research, and their teaching as appropriate. Below are examples particularly focused on these topics. In addition, several departments offer language and cultural studies from a perspective that may include inquiry and study of historical, literary, linguistic, musical and visual arts aspects of rich and diverse cultures.
Department of Asian American Studies
UCSB's Department of Asian American Studies was one of the very first autonomous academic departments in the United States completely devoted to the study of Asian Americans. Over the years, the Department has consistently offered students the opportunity to study and understand the experiences of Asian Americans, particularly their histories, communities, and cultures. Students learn to evaluate the existing literature on Asian American communities, to analyze a variety of data on Asian Americans, and to conduct original research. Professors in the Department offer courses informed by approaches from the traditional disciplines, including sociology, law, education, psychology, and literature, as well as from interdisciplinary scholarship in women's studies, law and society, public policy, global studies, cultural studies, and film and media studies.
Department of Black Studies
Established in 1968, the Department of Black Studies assumes a matrix model, bringing together scholars from an array of disciplines that are concerned with the Diaspora and Africa. The faculty ground their students in history, literature, the arts, and the social sciences, with particular concentrations in the achievement of moral ideals like democracy and equality, cultural theory, and the social, aesthetic, and political ideas emerging from historical and contemporary societies. In both their research and teaching, the faculty seeks to determine the influences and intersections of Africa and the African Diaspora on the formation and future of the modern world.
Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Established in 1969, the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies has developed an interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on gender, culture, and institutions. Courses probe the roots of a cultural tradition beginning with the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and extending into the many areas of contemporary American society, including politics, education, literature, the arts, and religion. Chicana and Chicano Studies majors gain insight into cultural issues and knowledge of the historical significance of Chicanos as a group. Students also develop the necessary analytical and methodological skills to better understand the emerging multicultural character of the Southwest and the key role Chicanos will increasingly play in the future, given the rapidly changing demographics of both the Southwest and the nation.
Department of Feminist Studies
Feminist Studies was recently recognized with departmental status, after a twenty-year history as the Women's Studies Program. Feminist Studies is an "interdisciplinary discipline" that produces cutting-edge research and fosters innovative teaching. The subject matter of feminist studies is more than women: research and teaching focus on the ways that relations of gender, intersecting with race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, ability, and other differences, affect every aspect of society.
Department of Religious Studies
The Department of Religious Studies covers a wide range of traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Native American Religions, Shinto, and Taoism. Faculty and students draw on methodological insights from anthropology, cognitive science, folklore studies, history, philology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, the study of race and ethnicity, sociology, theology, and the study of gender and sexuality. Faculty also research and teach about many different areas of the world, with special strength in East and South Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and North America. The department is home to many languages not offered elsewhere in the University: Arabic, Aramaic, Coptic, Hebrew, Hindi, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Syriac, Tibetan, and Turkish, and it encourages comparative, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary work