The Department of Ethnic Studies (ES) encourages the comparative study of racialization in the Americas, with a focus on the histories, literatures, and politics of Asian Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, Native American Indians, and African Americans. ES seeks to situate these core groups within national and transnational contexts, and to understand how racial and ethnic formation articulate with other axes of stratification such as class, gender, and sexuality.
Our approach is interdisciplinary in nature. Studies interrogate the relationship of social structure to those of literary and cultural practices, and in so doing question traditional disciplinary boundaries and assumptions. Our scholarly concerns are explicitly linked to the development of a social practice. Inquiries into the nature of racial, ethnic, and gender inequality are informed by a commitment to social change and social justice.
The undergraduate programs in Asian American, Chicano/Latino, and Native American Studies (along with the Department of African American Studies) investigate the social, political, and cultural factors that shape the core groups' formation and transformation. Research on these specific core groups lays the foundations for the overall comparative project of ES.
As one of the oldest programs focusing on race and ethnicity, the Ethnic Studies Department is committed to understanding more deeply the multiple meanings of racial diversity in the Americas.