Academic Course Catalogs

Drop Shadow

Ethnic Studies

CORE FACULTY
Alberto López Pulido, PhD, CHAIR
May C. Fu, PhD
Michelle M. Jacob, PhD
Jesse Mills, PhD
Gail Perez, PhD

AFFILIATED FACULTY
Roy Brooks, JD, School of Law
Leeva Chung, PhD, Communications Studies
Bahar Davary, PhD, Theology and Religious Studies
Michelle Madsen Camacho, PhD, Sociology
Evelyn Diaz Cruz, MFA, Theatre Arts
Colin Fisher, PhD, History
Carlton Floyd, PhD, English
Judith Liu, PhD, Sociology
Alejandro Meter, PhD, Languages and Literatures
Atreyee Phukan, PhD, English
Thomas E. Reifer, PhD, Sociology
Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, PhD, Psychology
Leonora Simonovis, PhD, Languages and Literatures

The Ethnic Studies Major

Ethnic Studies is a vibrant, interdisciplinary program that allows students to study the historical, cultural, and social dynamics of race and ethnicity in the United States. The major addresses our shared national legacy of conquest, contact, and resistance through comparative and ethnic-specific lenses.
Our core courses thoroughly ground students in theoretical perspectives. Students are encouraged to develop their own areas of expertise, as they explore local and national communities of color. Through community service learning and internships, students are challenged to engage with issues of privilege, difference, inequality, social justice, and empowerment in an applied manner. Ethnic Studies is uniquely situated to provide students with cross-cultural competence, with an historical grounding in domestic social justice issues, and with conflict resolution skills–all essential to civic life in an increasingly diverse nation and world. Our majors are well prepared for careers in law, education, business, social work, counseling, public health, politics, and graduate study in ethnic studies and related fields.

Preparation for the Major

Nine units of lower-division courses:
ETHN 100D Introduction to Ethnic Studies (3)

Six units in lower-division electives:
ETHN 220D Introduction to African-American Studies (3)
ETHN 230D Introduction to American Indian Studies (3)
ETHN 240D Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies (3)
ETHN 250D Introduction to Asian American Studies (3)
ETHN 294 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies (3)

Major Requirements

The major is interdisciplinary and requires 30 units of upper-division coursework. All students must take at least two courses from the Comparative Ethnic Studies core course area (360-369, or 460-469), and at least two courses from different ethnic-specific core course areas not covered at the Lower-Division Level. At least one 300-level course must be a “W” course, which should be completed at the beginning of upper division coursework, and one course must be a “C” or community service learning course. Coursework will culminate in the capstone course, ETHN 497WC, a community-based research seminar. Additional courses generated each semester by the department may also be applicable.

The curriculum layout is as follows:

I. Core Course Areas

African American Studies
ETHN 321C African American Panethnicity (3)
ETHN 322 African American Civil Rights (3)
ETHN 323 African American Music and Culture (3)

American Indian Studies
ETHN 331 Gender in Native America (3)
ETHN 332 American Indian Health and Spirituality (3)

Chicano/Latino Studies
ETHN 343 Chicano/Latino Studies (3)

Asian American Studies
ETHN 355 Asian American Social Movements (3)

Comparative Ethnic Studies
ETHN 360 Race, Religion, and Social Justice (3)
ETHN 361 Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Ethnicity, Race and Gender (3)
ETHN 362 Ethnicity and Cinema (3)
ETHN 363 Race and U.S. Social Movements (3)
ETHN 364 Race, Class and Gender (3)
ETHN 365 U.S. Women of Color Theory and Activism (3)
ETHN 366 Race and Performance (3)

II. Capstone Course (3 units)

ETHN 497WC Senior Thesis (3)

The Ethnic Studies Minor

The Ethnic Studies minor is an 18-unit program, consisting of 6 Lower-Division Units and 12 Upper-Division Units, including the following:

1. ETHN 100D – Introduction to Ethnic Studies (3)
2. One of the following: ETHN 220D, ETHN 230D, ETHN 240D, or ETHN 250D (3)
3. Students must take a total of 12 units of elective coursework. Students must take at least one course that is comparative (ETHN 360-369, 460-469) and at least one with an ethnic-specific emphasis that is different from the course taken at the Lower-Division Level (requirement #2). One course must be a “C” community-based or community service-learning course.

Ethnic Studies Courses

ETHN 100D Introduction to Ethnic Studies (3)
A course that introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Ethnic Studies. Using a comparative and historical perspective, students will examine the languages, family structures, spiritual traditions, economic and social issues, political aspirations, and values of diverse groups within the United States. Emphasis will be on African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans, but other groups are also discussed.

ETHN 220D Introduction to African-American Studies (3)
A survey course on the interdisciplinary field of African-American Studies. Students will learn basics of African-American history and culture in order to understand contemporary problems and conditions facing African-Americans.

ETHN 230D Introduction to American Indian Studies (3)
This course introduces students to the field of American Indian Studies. Students engage scholarly work, film, popular press texts, and attend community events to learn about American Indian people and the current and historical forces that shape modern-day realities for American Indians.

ETHN 240D Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies (3)
This course is an introductory survey of the field of Chicano/Latino Studies. Emphasis is placed on the historical development of the Chicano/Latino people including their Mesoamerican roots, cultural identification, political activities, and their contemporary roles and influence in United States culture, society and economy.

ETHN 250D Introduction to Asian American Studies (3)
A survey course on the interdisciplinary field of Asian American Studies. Students will learn basics of Asian American history, racial formation, and cultural production.

ETHN 294 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies (3)
An in-depth analysis of selected contemporary and special topics in ethnic studies at the lower-division with specific course content to be determined by particular interest and expertise of instructor and students. May be repeated for credit with different course content. (Offered on demand)

ETHN 321C African American Panethnicity (3)
Panethnicity in the United States is the process in which people from varying cultural backgrounds and diverse ethnicities come to occupy larger-scale group identities based on racial classification. African-American communities and identities have historically been panethnic, comprised of individuals from various ethnic groups and migration histories complete with different languages, traditions, religions, and cultures. This course examines the intra-racial dynamics of African-American panethnic communities and identities in theoretical, historical, and community-based terms. Special emphasis will be given to engagement with community members around USD through guest speakers and involvement in community events.

ETHN 322 African American Civil Rights (3)
This course examines African-American perspectives on civil rights in the United States foregrounding local, national, and international American cultural politics, race dynamics, and power. Utilizing interdisciplinary approaches of literature, political science, sociology, and history, we will survey the twentieth century Golden Age of civil rights and examine the state of African-American social justice activism today.

ETHN 323 African American Music and Culture (3)
This course provides a historically grounded investigation of African-American music and culture with specific emphasis on the United States and African Diaspora in the Americas. Topics of study may include an overview of the study of African-American music; problems in defining, theorizing, and talking about black music; black music and the cultural politics of race, class, and gender; and exploration of the various musical genres and styles (i.e. spirituals, gospel, blues, “art” music, jazz, and hip hop) that impact other aspects of African-American expressive culture — art, religion/spirituality, aesthetics, and worldview.

ETHN 331 Gender in Native America (3)
This course examines gender as a social institution and its implications at both the micro (personal) and macro (societal) levels. Social, political, and historical implications for the intersections of racialized, classed, and gendered identities will be critiqued. Special attention will be paid to gender and traditional indigenous cultures and how gender relations and formations change within a colonial (historic and contemporary) U.S. context.

ETHN 332 American Indian Health and Spirituality (3)
This class examines indigenous conceptions of health and spirituality. The theory of historical trauma and the concept of sound wound are especially important analytical tools. Students in this course will ask and answer the following question: how do culture, history, and social problems influence one’s health and spirituality? Students will study the influence of the social institutions of education, religion, and the economy as indigenous peoples continue to shape the meaning of wellness in their lives. Varying traditions of healing will be examined, including the role of sacred foods in healing processes.

ETHN 343 Chicano/Latino Studies (3)
This is a survey course of the Chicano/Latino experience(s) in the United States. It examines how racial and ethnic identity is shaped by historical, political, economic, cultural, sacred, and linguistic dimensions that inform cultures and communities.

ETHN 355 Asian American Social Movements (3)
This course examines Asian American social movements from the 19th century to the present. Students will learn about the theories and practices that shaped Asian American activism and community organizing.

ETHN 360 Race, Religion and Social Justice (3)
This course examines the relationship between issues of social justice, race, and the role of religion (the sacred) in guiding us toward a more just and humane society.

ETHN 361 Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Ethnicity, Race and Gender (3)
In this course we will look at the United States-Mexico border as a scenario for emerging and contested ethnic, racial and gender identities. Drawing on the experiences of the distinct ethnic and racial groups that came to inhabit the area -- namely Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans, Anglo Americans, African-Americans and Asians.

ETHN 362 Ethnicity and Cinema (3)
This course uses a comparative, analytical, and critical approach to the study of ethnicity and to the relationship between cinematic representations and the experiences of racialized communities. The course includes examination of multiple dimensions of media stereotypes, film history and theory, and the ways filmmakers of various ethnic and national backgrounds respond to and through mainstream cinemas. Students to engage in film analysis that is informed by an understanding of the politics of representation and the historically situated conditions of cinematic production.

ETHN 363 Race and U.S. Social Movements (3)
This course examines the relationship between race and social movements in the United States. Students will learn about how communities of color have organized grassroots movements for social, economic, and political equity.

ETHN 364 Race, Class, and Gender (3)
This course examines the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will learn how communities of color are structured by these categories of difference and how they have generated expansive identities, cultures, and epistemologies from them.

ETHN 365 U.S. Women of Color Theory and Activism (3)
This interdisciplinary course traces the development of US Women of Color feminist theory and its impact on contemporary grassroots activism and social movements.

ETHN 366 Race and Performance (3)
This course provides grounding in performance theory and comparative ethnic studies. Performance analysis offers a powerful interpretive framework for engaging the social construction, fluidity, and hybridity of identities, and the tactics and strategies of social change. Students will develop skills in decoding meanings produced by racialized bodies and acts in staged contexts, as well as the construction of race and identity through “performances” in everyday life.

ETHN 494 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies (3)
An in-depth analysis of selected contemporary and special topics in ethnic studies, with specific course content to be determined by particular interest and expertise of instructor and students. May be repeated for credit with different course content. (Offered on demand)

ETHN 497WC Senior Thesis (3)
A seminar devoted to advanced study in the field. Students will conduct community-based research, applying theoretical perspectives to experiences with various local groups, organizations, collectives, or neighborhoods. The course is equivalent to a senior thesis project.

ETHN 499 Independent Study (1-3)
Individual study and written research. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and program director.