The Ethnic Studies Research Centers

In 1969, the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) was established through Ford Foundation funding as a collaborative initiative to foster and advance intellectual development in ethnic studies at UCLA and to build connections among the four ethnic studies research centers: the American Indian Studies Center, the Asian American Studies Center, the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies (formerly Center for Afro-American Studies), and the Chicano Studies Research Center.  

About the Ethnic Studies Research Centers

Born out of the grassroots movement for Ethnic Studies, these centers represented a scholarly revolution - infusing campus classrooms and spaces with the diverse voices and concerns of underrepresented communities across the nation. They joined the collective of programs launched throughout the nation in the tumultuous and highly charged socio-political dynamics of that 1960s that demanded colleges and universities confront the biases, limitations and omissions of the day. Today, these centers continue to advance research, scholarship, art, and activism that push our communities forward and promote equal opportunity, greater equity and a more just society.

American Indian Studies Center


The UCLA American Indian Studies Center (AISC) was founded as a research institute dedicated to addressing American Indian issues and supporting Indian communities. It serves as a bridge between the academy and indigenous peoples locally, nationally, and internationally. Today, AISC fosters innovative academic research, publishes leading scholarship in the field of American Indian Studies, and supports events and programming focused on indigenous issues. 

The core objectives of AISC are to: facilitate and disseminate research about indigenous peoples; strengthen graduate and undergraduate education; seek extramural funds to support student and faculty research; and carry out university and public service programs related to the Center's mission.

To accomplish these aims, the AISC maintains a reference library; publishes books as well as the American Indian Culture and Research Journal; organizes symposia, conferences, film screenings, and other events; supports academic programs in American Indian Studies and administers postdoctoral and predoctoral fellowships and research awards through the Institute of American Cultures. 

Visit the American Indian Studies Center at 3220 Campbell Hall or online at


Asian American Studies Center


The UCLA Asian American Studies Center (AASC) was established during the 1969-1970 academic year as a result of faculty, student, alumni, and community advocacy. "The Center," the founding steering committee wrote in its proposal to the UCLA administration in 1969, "will hopefully enrich the experience of the entire university by contributing to an understanding of the long neglected history, rich cultural heritage, and present position of Asian Americans in our society." 

For almost fifty years, AASC has been engaged in researching and documenting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities - past and present. Through its students, staff, faculty, and alumni, it has forged community partnerships with the aim of producing knowledge that benefits all involved, rooted in the greater Los Angeles area, but also extending nationally and internationally. Multidisciplinary, transnational, and comparative approaches, moreover, have enriched the understanding of Asian American and Pacific Islander issues in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and policy-related areas.  AASC's major accomplishments include: nearly 60 affiliated faculty members; 10 endowed chaired professorships, fellowships, and academic prizes; more than 25 scholarships, fellowships, and academic prizes; two national scholarly journals and an award-winning press; and the largest Asian American Library and archives in the nation.  

Visit the Asian American Studies Center at 3230 Campbell Hall or online at

Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

Bunche Logo

The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, founded in 1969 as the Center for Afro-American Studies (CAAS), was renamed after Nobel Prize winner, scholar, activist, and UCLA alumnus Ralph J. Bunche in 2003, in commemoration of the centenary of his birth.

The Bunche Center is the result of the struggle by black students at UCLA to have their history and culture recognized and studied.  While the fight to have African American Studies acknowledged as a legitimate field of study was taking place all over America during the 1960s, it took on special significance at UCLA when two Black Panthers were killed at Campbell Hall in January 1969 after a clash over who would lead the center.

UCLA students had written a proposal for the center in 1968 and 1969 that documented the need for Black Americans to be educated about their history and culture; to lessen their vulnerability to the “corrosive effects of American racism” and to give them the tools required to “understand and control the forces and attitudes presently shaping their lives.”

The Bunche Center was established as an Organized Research Unit (ORU), with the mission to develop and strengthen African American Studies through five primary organizational branches: research, academic programs, library and media center, special projects, and publications.

Visit the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at 160 Haines Hall or online at

Chicano Studies Research Center


The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) was founded in 1969 with a commitment to foster multidisciplinary research efforts as part of the land grant mission of the University of California. That mission states that University of California research must be in the service of the state and maintain a presence in the local community.

Since its founding, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) has played a pivotal role in the development of scholarly research on the Chicano-Latino population, which is now the largest minority group and the fastest growing population in the United States. The CSRC is also one of four founding members of the national Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR, est. 1983), a consortium of Latino research centers that now includes twenty-five institutions in the United States.

The CSRC was designed to have a systemic impact on the campus and in the field. Its research mission is supported by five distinct components: a library with special collections archive, an academic press, collaborative research projects, public programs and community-based partnerships, and a competitive grant and fellowship program.

Visit the Chicano Studies Research Center at 193 Haines Hall or online at