Within AGI, area studies and thematic academic units such as the Africa Initiative; Center for the Global Study of Race, Inequality and Justice; East Asia Center; Latin America and Iberian Studies Program; and Center for Middle Eastern Studies interface with the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies.

Mhoze Chikowero photo

Africa Initiative

The UCSB Africa Initiative is a new intellectual and cultural space and programming initiative that emerged in response to the growing need for African voices and self-representation at UCSB and the Santa Barbara community. It is a dare--a participative knowledge commons that brings together faculty, students, community members, visiting scholars, artists and others to think, learn, teach and co-produce knowledge on, with and about Africa in new, robust ways that center African people, their ideas, and voices without merely reducing the continent and its knowledge systems into objects of study and intellection. The Center's practices are informed by the ethos of African self-liberation. Its programming is necessarily interdisciplinary, seeking to bridge divides not only between the humanities, social sciences and the hard sciences, but also the continent and its diasporas as well as theory and practice. In this regard, it actively works with affiliate organizations, such as the UCSB Uhuru Gardens Collective, an African students' grouping that addresses food and culinary impoverishment among African and African-descended students and families. (photo credit: Mhoze Chikowero)

Vladimir Marrakesh

Center for Middle East Studies

Founded in 2000, the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) promotes the study of the Middle East, North Africa, and Islam at the University of California, Santa Barbara. CMES has long been a bastion of interdisciplinary scholarship, collectivity, and exchange. The last decade has witnessed a flourishing of CMES faculty and graduate students at UCSB across disciplines (Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences) and methodology (archival, ethnographic, quantitative, qualitative). CMES curates events geared to the campus academic community and broader public, including conferences, film series, musical performances, lectures, and book talks. It supports graduate studies of the Middle East, North Africa, and Islam through funding, conferences, symposia, and workshops. (photo credit: Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky)

Place Des Heros

Center for the Global Study of Race, Inequality and Justice

The Center for the Global Study of Race, Inequality and Justice at the University of California, Santa Barbara supports interdisciplinary research, pedagogy and community initiatives that explore the complexities of race in relational, transnational and global contexts. The Center brings together scholars, activists, artists and public intellectuals whose work foregrounds race in relation to structures of inequality, power and resistance at scale, whether in one locale or across the globe. The Center’s mission is to foster these activities, moving beyond nation-state paradigms, while advancing social and racial justice, and involving collaboration among knowledge producers positioned both inside and beyond academia.


East Asia Center

The East Asia Center (EAC) at the University of California, Santa Barbara promotes interdisciplinary research and cultural events on East Asia. It brings together UCSB faculty, students, and the wider local public with leading scholars and other creative individuals from other institutions in order to create a critical and nurturing community for the study of East Asia. EAC strives to collaborate with a range of departments, individuals and other units in the Humanities, Social Sciences and beyond that are invested in education and public understanding of East Asia. EAC invests in relationships between UCSB and the East Asian region as well as the academy and the public.

Tristan Square

Latin American & Iberian Studies Program

Established first in the 1970s as “Hispanic Civilizations,” the Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies (LAIS) at UC Santa Barbara is the oldest interdisciplinary program on our campus, and the only one in the UC system that offers an Iberian component. LAIS provides training both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, offering Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Masters of Arts (M.A.) degrees. At the undergraduate level LAIS can also be taken as a minor. LAIS examines the people and cultures of Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries throughout the world. Such study encompasses not only Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, but also Angola, Mozambique, the Philippines, Macao, and Chicano and Puerto Rican populations in the U.S. At its core, LAIS is interdisciplinary. (photo credit: Tristan Partridge)

Rio Adobe

Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies

The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies works to build a supportive infrastructure for research collaboration and delivery by cultivating spaces for collaborative research among UCSB faculty, graduate students, and research partners and publicly engaged organizations in the global south/east.   This commitment to research – among Area Studies specialists, students and faculty clustered in thematic groups, and geographic-based research hubs for participatory research in the global south/east – ensures that the Orfalea Center is engaged with the most urgent issues of the day, and has the capacity to create real impact and change. We label this mission “Research for Action.”