Ethnic studies is a compelling and dynamic discipline devoted to the critical examination of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and intersecting modes of inequality particularly as manifest in the experiences of historically marginalized populations. In the pursuit of social justice, it challenges dominant views of racial and ethnic groups that lead to inequalities while building on the critical studies of racialization and resistance with research and courses across a broad field including education, economic development, identity and empowerment, immigration, labor and employment, media, music, and popular culture, multiracial communities, sovereignty, transnational networks, voting rights, and political representation. Ethnic studies focuses on the roles and experiences of historically marginalized racial and ethnic populations with particular attention paid to African Americans/Blacks, American Indian/Indigenous/Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islander, and South Asian Americans, Chicanas/os/xs and Latinas/os/xs and Middle Eastern and North Africans within the framework of the United States and within transnational networks. Coursework also emphasizes the comparative interaction between various racial/ethnic groups and cross-national approaches to their histories, cultural productions, and socioeconomic and political experiences.
As an academic department, Ethnic Studies fosters intersectional and interdisciplinary inquiry. The faculty comprise a community of experts in critical racial and ethnic studies, while serving as teachers, mentors, and role models for undergraduate students. The Ethnic Studies Department strives to make connections between University learning, racial and ethnic communities, and social change, and encourages a reflective engagement with society and a commitment to fashioning a more equitable, humane, and just world. The Ethnic Studies Department serves as a resource for students, faculty, and staff across the University who are interested in examining race and ethnicity and its intersections with multiple modes of inequality including class, gender, citizenship, and nationality.
The department offers students the option to complete a major in ethnic studies (Bachelor of Science) or a minor in ethnic studies, African American studies, Asian American Studies, or Latina/o/x Studies. The major provides students with advanced and concentrated training in racial and ethnic studies with coursework clustered in the upper division around six themes: Community Engagement and Social Movements; Race, Law, Politics, and Policy; Intersectionality and Hybridity; Inequality and Education; Immigration, Transnationalism, and Globalization; and Social and Cultural Analysis. Both the stand alone major and three minors enhance a student's employment opportunities in business, community service work, education, law, medicine, social work, politics, and government and do important work in establishing a foundation for students to pursue racial and ethnic justice after graduation.. For those considering graduate school, the majors provide a foundation for graduate studies particularly for those who seek to become university professors and researchers with a specialization in a variety of issues and policies impacting racial and ethnic communities.