welcome from the chair

Welcome to the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity!

American Studies & Ethnicity (ASE) at USC is one of the most diverse and exciting departments in the nation. With a stellar group of core and affiliated faculty, a committed staff, and a top-notch group of graduate and undergraduate students, the department is a leader in national and international research on race, immigration, urban culture, power, gender, sexuality and social justice.

In the wake of the 1992 riots, ASE was created to use teaching and research as ways to analyze increasing diversity and complexity in Los Angeles and the US. In the past two decades, ASE has built upon and expanded its geographical imaginary to include all of North America, and the Western Hemisphere. Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, as a nexus to Mexico and Latin America, and as a key point in the Pacific Rim, we are perfectly positioned to think about multiple dynamics within a changing global and a transnational context. Our research enhances and supports civic engagement and public scholarship within these varied areas.

ASE is committed to building skills for critical reflection, social analysis, and practical implementation. We offer the opportunity for rigorous study in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary tracks, with a curriculum that focuses on important historical questions, while also addressing some of the most pressing concerns of our time. We train our students to become top researchers at top universities, to work in community and national organizations, to be leaders in cultural institutions, and to be involved at various levels of community building, cultural and social analysis, and research in a wide variety of fields including Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, Immigration, Post-colonial Studies, Film Studies, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and Comparative Literature.

Our faculty have published numerous award winning books that have become field changing for Ethnic Studies and far beyond. Our graduate students are regularly placed in tenure track positions at the most competitive universities, and have won top awards such as the National Science Foundation award, the Ford Dissertation Award, and the Haynes Foundation Award.

Further, ASE has key collaborations with the Center for Immigrant Studies, PERES, and the Center for Democracy and Diversity. We also house the top journal in the field American Quarterly, and Kaya Press, a Trans-Pacific creative and non-fiction journal. This year we also began a new lecture series entitled “ASE Commons” that addresses the need for intellectual community beyond the classroom setting, including a forum entitled “LA/London is Burning,” And, our faculty have organized several campus wide events, performances, lectures, and music series. 

ASE is truly a unique opportunity for cutting edge research on race, ethnicity, immigration, society, gender, sexuality and power. We look forward to your participation in the ASE project!


Macarena Gómez-Barris

Associate Professor

Interim Chair, American Studies & Ethnicity

  • Department of American Studies & Ethnicity
  • University of Southern California
  • 3620 South Vermont Avenue
  • Kaprielian Hall 462
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-2534