Ethnic Studies Program
The Ethnic Studies major provides a core curriculum designed to develop a comparative and multidisciplinary understanding of racialized communities in the modern world, with emphasis in the history and contemporary forms of modern colonization and racial slavery, as well as the multiple responses, unearthed histories, and alternative practices, theories, and imaginaries found in communities of color, their artists, theoreticians, activists, and intellectuals. It is different from the other majors offered in the Department of Ethnic Studies in that it is specifically comparative and it aims to provide students the possibility of focusing on one or more issues, problems, intellectual approaches, or themes and explore them in relation to two or more ethno-racial groups nationally or internationally. Most central among these issues and themes stand sexuality, gender, migration, policy, education, literature, culture, spirituality, religion, comparative racial formations, and law. They are often connected with different histories of colonization, segregation, slavery, genocide, persecution, internment, and other forms of systematic dehumanization, on the one hand, and with struggles for social justice, liberation, and decolonization on the other.
The undergraduate program in comparative ethnic studies offers four courses that are required for majors in all of the Department‘s undergraduate programs: Asian American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Native American Studies, and Ethnic Studies itself. For about twenty years or more, it has also had the highest number of majors. The comparative Ethnic Studies program has been invariably celebrated for its contribution to the other programs, to the university as a whole, and to the very development of Ethnic Studies departments and programs nationally.
Undergraduate Curriculum and Student Learning Goals
- Fundamental Cognitive Skills
Undergraduates are expected to obtain the following skills by the time they graduate. These skills belong to five different general areas: historical knowledge, empirical knowledge and quantitative methods, interpretation and qualitative analysis, theory and critique, and community service. They are:
- Historical Knowledge
- Familiarity with the history of modern Western civilization, including European expansion, conquest, and enslavement.
- Specific knowledge of the modern history of at least three different ethno-racial groups.
- Acquaintance with debates in historiography, particularly as they relate to the use of history in relation to the understanding of people of color.
- For students who specialize in history, proper use of primary and secondary historical sources, as well as the writing of scholarly historical work.
- Empirical Knowledge and Quantitative Methods
- Familiarity with different methods of gathering empirical data about human communities (anthropological, sociological, etc.).
- Knowledge of critical debates about the use and implications of traditional methods of gathering empirical data to obtain knowledge about communities of color.
- Identification of proper methods to conduct research, and awareness of the limits and possibilities of such methods.
- Creative use, delimitation, and expansion of methods of empirical and quantitative study based on the nature of the problems and questions addressed in the research as well as the object of study.
- Interpretation and Qualitative Analysis
- Acquaintance with major methods and debates in the humanities.
- Familiarity with the art, film, literature, or music of at least three different ethno-racial groups.
- Identification of proper methods to conduct research about the creative products of human communities, and ethno-racial communities in particular.
- Creative use, delimitation, and expansion of methods of qualitative analysis based on the nature of the problems and questions addressed in the research as well as the object of study.
- Theory and Critique
- Familiarity with major theories of race and ethnicity, and their intersections and constitutive relations with class, gender, and sexuality.
- Acquaintance with theories of space and place, including indigeneity, Diaspora, migration, and nation, as well as their use in determining the unit of analysis.
- Use of comparison and contrast for evaluating and producing theory as well as for critical analysis.
- Creative use of philosophies and theories that are relevant to the understanding and critical analysis of the social contexts, interpersonal dynamics, and multiple creative productions of ethno-racial communities.
- Service Learning
- Further refinement and enrichment of the above listed skills in settings where the students interact with communities of color and/or their productions.
- Historical Knowledge
- Courses of Study
The comparative ethnic studies major requires four core courses, a number of electives, research seminars, and satisfaction of community service. More detailed information on the requirements for the major and minor appear in Appendix E. They relate to the above listed skills as follows:
- Core Courses: Lower Level
ES 10 AC (formerly 10A): A History of Race and Ethnicity in Western North America, 1598-Present
ES 11 AC (formerly 10B): Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies
- Core Courses: Upper Level
ES 101A: Social Science Methods in Ethnic Studies
ES 101B: Humanities Method in Ethnic Studies
- Elective courses
Students must select one lower level elective course related to ethnic studies, three upper level courses in Ethnic Studies, and two upper level elective courses in any specific ethnic studies program, African American Studies, or an authorized course related to ethnic studies. Students are properly guided to complement the core courses, satisfy the requirements for the major, and obtain the listed skills. Most courses focus on the social sciences and the humanities, while some combine both. Examples of such courses are:
ES 100: Comparative Ethnic Literature in America
ES 135AC: Contemporary U.S. Immigration
ES 147: Women of Color in the U.S.
- Research Seminars (ES 190s and 103s)
The Department offers seminars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary seminars. Students are advised to select seminar that complement their area of disciplinary and methodological concentration which could be related to empirical knowledge and quantitative analysis or to interpretation and quantitative analysis.
- Service Learning
Ethnic Studies majors are required to satisfy the equivalent of four credits or 180 hours doing work in institutions, programs, or activities that require service or communication with ethno-racial communities. The idea is that students can apply and further enrich their knowledge of the study of communities of color and the qualitative appreciation of their agency and varied productions. The department is working to make this requirement more integral to some of the humanities and social science courses.
- Core Courses: Lower Level
Core Faculty in Ethnic Studies
- Keith P. Feldman, Assistant Professor
Research interests: Comparative Ethnic Studies; Theories of Race and Ethnicity; Cultures of the African, Arab, and Jewish Diasporas; Visual Culture Studies; 19th and 20th century U.S. Popular Culture; U.S. in the World; Postcolonial Theory; Critical Theory; Public Humanities
- Shari Huhndorf, Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies
Research interests: Contemporary literary and visual culture, interdisciplinary Native American studies, cultural studies, gender studies, American studies
- David Montejano, Professor
Ethnic Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies
Research interests: Comparative and Historical Sociology; Political Sociology; Social Change; Development; Race and Ethnic Relations; Community Studies; Ethnographic and Historical Methods