Message from the Director

 Welcome to the USC Center for Diversity and Democracy! We are affiliated with the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, which has led efforts at campus and intellectual diversity in the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and throughout the Trojan campus. The CDD works with faculty members, Ph.D. students, undergraduate students, and community partners to enhance, explore and develop strong connections between efforts of university-community civic engagement and the diversity of university faculty and students. In short, we are committed to making stronger a diverse set of voices at the university, while enabling a wide variety of community members and organizations to engage the university as equal partners towards equity and social justice.

The Center:
  • Focuses on research that stresses imagining a future for Los Angeles and other global metropolitan areas of racial equity and social justice, empowering various communities to come together and work in harmony. This research may explore the past, present, or future of these regions, as well as comparisons across national and continental boundaries.

  • Works with graduate students and faculty researchers, along with selected undergraduates, on research projects that involve community outreach and lead to both scholarly publication and wider social betterment.
  • Coordinates with other USC centers, programs and departments to encourage a diverse and excellent pool of faculty and graduate researchers in Los Angeles committed to issues of diversity and democracy in the local area.

  • Seeks to prepare the next generation of scholarly researchers to participate in an academic life that bridges the university and the community in consistent and fulfilling fashion, for the individual researcher, the university, and the surrounding communities.
  • Serves as a think tank for community activists and organizations dedicated to social improvement and racial democracy, enabling academic researchers and students to learn from those engaged in doing work on social justice on a daily basis.

  • Develops on-going relationships with specific local, national, and international organizations, schools, museums, archives, and other entities interested in sustained scholarly engagement and collaboration.


Our website will link you with a variety of scholarly efforts, past and present courses, and examples of civic engagement which take seriously the interconnectedness of "town and gown." These links will also make clear our strong belief that serious civic engagement also means expanding the diversity of our campus communities, from faculty to students, to make them resemble and emanate more from our surrounding neighborhoods. We do not believe one effort can seriously advance without the other, and therefore we have organized around the twin concepts of diversity and democracy. We look forward to further connecting with you in the future!

George J. Sanchez

Director, USC Center for Diversity and Democracy