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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ethnic Studies

UC Berkeley

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Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary enterprise that starts from the assumption that race and racism have been, and continue to be, profoundly powerful social and cultural forces in American society and in modernity at large. Our scholarship and teaching focus both on the specific experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanas/os and Latinas/os, Native Americans, and other racialized peoples in the US, and on the lessons of comparative ethno-racial studies for generalizing about American society and history and about the contemporary global order (since race and racism are neither uniquely American nor ever merely a “domestic matter” in any modern nation-state). In addition to grounding our scholarly work in the concrete situations of people of color, we also use a methodological framing that emphasizes both the structural dimensions of race and racism (social, political, and economic inequality and struggles over that inequality, both within and among nation-states) and the associated cultural dimensions (literary, artistic, musical and other forms of humanistic expression, as well as the intense politics surrounding these cultural forms). We also aim to understand race and racism as “moving targets” that undergo mutations or otherwise evolve (including the birth of new racialized groups, such as the targets of Islamophobia), and to recognized the complexity of the intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality, and other systems of difference that have power-effects.