Ethnic Studies


Kyle D. Shanton, program chair and associate professor.
B.A., 1985, University of Iowa; M.A., 1990, Ph.D., 1998, University of Arizona. Appointed 2007.

Michael Dixon, assistant professor.
B.F.A., 1999, Arizona State University; M.F.A., 2005, University of Colorado at Boulder. Appointed 2008.

Helena G. Mesa, associate professor.
B.A., 1994, Indiana University; M.F.A., 1997, University of Maryland; Ph.D., 2003, University of Houston. Appointed 2003.



Ethnic studies is both the comparative study of ethnicity and the study of the culture and history of particular ethnic groups within the United States and other countries. As the study of ethnicity, ethnic studies examines factors that account for the creation and maintenance of ethnic identity, the development of ethnic stereotypes and prejudice, and the quality of ethnic relations. In regard to particular ethnic groups, ethnic studies encourages the exploration of the specific histories, values and contributions of the country's many constituent groups. Ethnic studies also provides the means to identify the prejudices and assumptions that have shaped traditional scholarship in the academic disciplines and to correct these biases.

Career Opportunities

Knowledge of ethnic traditions and ethnic relations is sought after in many fields including but not limited to politics, social services, business, law, medicine and psychology-related careers. This demand recognizes both that America is an increasingly multicultural society and that business people and professionals need to know these multiple groups in order to serve them better.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • Eight units, including the following:
    Ethnic Studies 103, one unit.
    Five units from an approved list of courses. These courses, to be selected in consultation with the program chair, must include two at the 200-level and three at the 300-level. They must be selected from three different departments.
    An ethnic studies-related internship (or off-campus experience), one unit. The internship, providing hands-on experience with other racial or ethnic communities, may be completed in ethnic communities elsewhere in the United States or in study and research in ancestral communities or multi-ethnic communities outside the United States. Students upon returning must schedule an appointment with the ethnic studies faculty and submit evaluation form(s) and journal report to the ethnic studies faculty on how their experience has enhanced their multicultural understanding of the world. Students, working in consultation with the program chair, are encouraged to explore a variety of options for the internship experience.
    Ethnic Studies 370, one unit.

Ethnic Studies Major Electives

The following courses may be used to fulfill the elective component in the ethnic studies major.

Anthropology and Sociology
345 Race and Ethnicity
Art History
312 Race and Its Representation in American Art
Economics and Management
322 Issues in Modern Political Economy
354 Labor Economics
211 Latina/o Literature
329 Poetry by Women of Color
360 The Problem of Race in American Literature
Ethnic Studies
260 Caribbean Identity and Migration
330 French Louisiana
243 African American History, 1865 to the Present
270 Going North: Latin American Immigration and U.S. History
289 African Identities
390 History of Women in the United States, 1877-Present
385 British India
398 The 1960s
Modern Languages and Cultures
107 "Our Americas": Crossing Borders, Histories, and Cultures
362 Hispanic Literature and Cultures in the U.S.
Communication Studies
313 Intercultural Communication
372 Postmodernism and Theatre

Ethnic Studies Courses

103 Introduction to Ethnic Studies (1)
An introduction to the comparative study of ethnicity, as well as the history and culture of particular ethnic groups in America. Issues--ethnic identity, ethnocentrism, discrimination, assimilation and multiculturalism--are analyzed from a variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and the arts. Serves as the introductory course for the ethnic studies concentration. Staff.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

260 Caribbean Identity and Migration (1)
Examines the cultural richness and diversity of the Caribbean diaspora with an emphasis on the Spanish-speaking islands, including Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, drawing on music, literature, film and history. Considers how this population continues to influence growth and change in American society by looking at issues of identity, migration patterns, and broader economic, cultural and social conditions. Staff.

280 Children of Immigrants (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or Ethnic Studies 103.
A study of theoretical arguments in the current literature on immigrant adaptation and assimilation, as well as public fears of multiculturalism. Examines indepth the renegotiation of identity and the process of incorporation for immigrant families in the U.S. and how these experiences contrast to immigrants living in the Netherlands, France, Canada and the United Kingdom. Staff.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

370 Theories and Methods in Ethnic Studies (1)
Prerequisite: Ethnic Studies 103 or permission of instructor.
Designed as a capstone course to integrate students’ internship and course work experiences and deepen their analytical understanding of issues related to race/ethnicity. Examines the development of ethnic and race relations, ethnic and race discrimination, and American identity using different multicultural theoretical perspectives. Includes field work and/or other research on a topic related to race/ethnicity. Staff.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of department chair.