Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Race and Ethnic Studies and how is it connected to SGRN? We have lots of classes on campus that have a week (day, book chapter, etc) devoted to race on their syllabus. And by the way, do you read books in SGRN classes?
Ethnic Studies is an academic field that arose over 50 years ago, in response to student activism and demands that the history, scholarship, culture and lived experiences of AfricanAmericans, Latino Americans, AsianAmericans, and Native Americans be addressed and incorporated into higher education curricula. Arab American studies is sometimes included in the umbrella of Ethnic Studies. In the decades since, Ethnic Studies has established itself as a solid scholarly field, while retaining distinctions between the different focus areas. Ethnic Studies goes beyond an “add and stir” approach to studying and teaching about race and ethnicity. It analyzes and deconstructs the relationship between racial formations and constructs of power, while countering deficit framings of BIPOC people and communities and elevating and centering asset-based scholarship and pedagogies. Research has shown that additive “multicultural exposure” based on content alone is insufficient to help students critically understand the impacts of race and ethnicity and promote racial justice, and without a culturally relevant pedagogy, can actually reinforce harm for BIPOC students.
Hundreds of departments of African American, Asian American, Mexican American and Chicano/Latino Studies departments have been established at universities across the country, with around fifty Native American/Indigenous Studies departments and a smaller number of combined Ethnic Studies departments. In Oregon, PCC and OSU have departments of Ethnic Studies, while U of O has recently changed its department name to Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies. U of O offers a PhD in Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies, while Oregon State offers a graduate minor in Ethnic Studies.
At PSU, we do not have a singular department of Ethnic Studies, but rather have a unique structure in the School of Gender, Race and Nations, that brings together autonomous disciplinary units in Black Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Indigenous Nations Studies, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies that remain independent but work collaboratively to administer a graduate certificate in Gender, Race and Nations, and to develop intersectional research and scholarship. Perhaps we are ahead of the curve, as we see U of O has recently changed the name of their Ethnic Studies department to Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies, to better distinguish the multiple distinct areas of scholarship in this interdisciplinary field.
It should be noted that while Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies is usually a component of Ethnic Studies, PSU currently has no academic programs in AsianAmerican and Pacific Islander Studies, despite our sizeable AsianAmerican and Pacific Islander student demographic and the findings of a recent campus task force that recommended the formation of an AA/PI program at PSU. Currently, there is a group working on a proposal for an AA/PI curriculum and program to address this significant absence on our campus (See FAQ #3).
To further educate readers on the type of scholarship and curriculum that SGRN offers, the description of the curricula offered by each unit as well as our current faculty cluster hire is included in Appendix A, at the end of this FAQ.
If faculty are not familiar with Ethnic Studies and its associated units and focus areas as a scholarly discipline, it is a consequence of the way that it has been sidelined and intentionally ignored. Until very recently, Ethnic Studies was not taught in secondary schools, and there have been wide scale attempts to discredit and misconstrue its scholarship and pedagogy. Despite the existence of this field for over 5 decades, just in 2017, Oregon was the first state in the country to pass legislation requiring Ethnic Studies curriculum to be taught in grades K-12, followed soon thereafter by California, Indiana, and Vermont (the actual implementation of these policies is just getting ready to begin). In the past year, a number of other states have also begun to consider and advocate for such legislation. In 2010, Arizona had passed legislation banning the teaching of Ethnic Studies curriculum in their public schools; this law was stricken in 2017 after a federal judge ruled it violated the constitutional rights of MexicanAmerican students, was motivated by racial animus, and was discriminatory in order to make political gains.
Last year, we also saw the Trump administration initiate a ban on federal funding for training and work involving critical race theory--one of the many theories that are associated with Ethnic Studies. (An imperfect comparison would be to consider the chilling effect of banning federal funding for teaching and work involving the theory of evolution, which has also stirred controversy amongst some sectors. The comparison is imperfect because, while discarding the theory of evolution mars important scholarly foundations and devalues the institution of science, banning critical race theory damages and inflicts harm not only the scholarly undertaking of the academic field of Ethnic Studies, but the history, experiences and lives of those already marginalized people and groups such scholarship focuses on).
Finally, in our own university we have seen the rise of openly malevolent rhetoric referring to the scholarship of Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies as “grievance studies.” Recently, we have seen our faculty senate, administration, and union attempt to address the ways in which such actions create a hostile workplace at our university.
Nonetheless, even for those who may disagree with the perpetrator(s)’ tactics, the implicit suggestion that these are units and fields focused on complaint, victimization, or self-help, rather than legitimate academic disciplines with solid academic grounding, may linger.
A case in point of how this hostile climate can subliminally take hold is the example of an SGRN faculty member who stopped at the campus Starbucks en route to their class. A colleague from another department was behind them in line, and remarked that the book they were carrying looked interesting, by all appearances legitimately curious about the content. When the SGRN faculty replied that it was for the class they were on their way to teach, the reply was “Oh, do you read books in those classes?”
We not only read books in SGRN (as well as peer-reviewed articles and textbooks), we also write them, often to national and international accolades and sometimes in multiple languages. We also write and obtain externally funded grants and awards, present at academic and professional conferences on Ethnic Studies, serve in advisory capacity to local and national community groups and organizations, act as editors of scholarly journals, serve on review panels for federal funding agencies, and play important roles in representing and liaising between PSU and the community. The scholarship in each of the SGRN units does not consider race, Indigeneity, or gender as variables, but takes these to be the focus of disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship and undergirds that focus with theories, methodologies and pedagogies unique to each department.
If you don’t know much about Ethnic Studies or the scholarship of SGRN but you feel your work is aligned with this field or you wish to learn more, we have built generous opportunities into the planning for the proposed RESR for faculty to attend summer faculty development workshops. There will be space and stipends for 90 faculty over 3 years to attend a summer workshop to learn more and develop syllabi that are consistent with the scholarly goals, content and pedagogy of Ethnic Studies. We welcome you to take advantage of one of these opportunities.
To help you learn more about the scholarship and curriculum of the SGRN units most closely associated with Race and Ethnic Studies, we include summaries in Appendix A.
2. Speaking of gender, what about gender (or other categories of social oppression) in the requirement. Why is it only focused on Race and Ethnic Studies?
Race and Ethnic Studies as a field emphasizes that scholarship illuminating the intersection of race and ethnicity with gender, sexuality, class, disability, and other categories is integral to understandings of race and ethnicity. The role of BIPOC women, queer, Two-spirit and transgender scholars and activists has been foundational in the creation of the academic fields of Black Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Indigenous Nations Studies, as well as Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and their connection to communities beyond and between the university.
Each of the SGRN departments have courses that intersectionally bring together gender, race and ethnicity. This includes BST 207 Race, Class and Gender; BST 342U Black Feminism/Womanism; BST 353U African Women in Film, CHLA 303U Chicana/Latina Experience, NAS 344 Indigenous Women’s Leadership, WS 330U Women of Color in the US, WS 305 Women of Color Feminisms, WS 332U Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality; WS 369U Global Reproductive Justice; WS 381 Queer of Color Theories and Perspectives, and others (this list is not exuhastive nor does it imply inclusion in the proposed requirement; all courses will go through the approval process).
3. What about the diversity requirement in UNST? Doesn’t UNST already do this in their courses?
It is true that when UNST was formed in the 1990’s, the prior university diversity requirement was wrapped into the general education requirements as envisioned by UNST. Today, UNST has four major program learning goals, which include Diversity, Equity and Social Justice; as well as Ethics, Agency and Community; Communication; and Inquiry and Critical Thinking. The Diversity, Equity and Social Justice learning goal is framed as “Students will explore and analyze identity, power relationships, and social justice in historical contexts and contemporary settings from multiple perspectives.” A more detailed rubric specifies how this goal will be implemented. Race and ethnicity are listed among a number of different perspectives and social locations that may be included under the rubric for “multiple perspectives”: (“eg, race, class, gender, country of origin, cultural, disciplinary, environmental, local, and global), when investigating subjects within the natural and human worlds.” (Notably, this is the only place that the word “race” occurs in the rubric; “ethnic” does not occur at all.). Elements of the Ethics, Agency and Community learning goal also touch on power and inequities.
In contrast, the RESR has a specific content focus, which is ensuring that students are exposed to scholarship in the academic field(s) of Race and Ethnic Studies. While compatible and synergistic with the UNST learning goals, the RESR is different, in that it centers the scholarship of Black Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Indigenous Nations Studies and Asian American Studies. This is consistent with current trends across the country, in which universities of many different types are adopting requirements that students take a course(s) specifically focused on race and ethnic studies content, rather than and in addition to broader (but also very important) diversity and equity learning goals.
For example, the California State University system has recently adopted an ethnic studies graduation requirement that must be “an existing ethnic studies course or part of a traditional Ethnic Studies department, unit or program (e.g., Native American Studies, Latina/o Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies) or be proposed, designed and implemented by faculty with expertise in Ethnic Studies (and related disciplines) and be an Ethnic Studies department/unit approved cross-listed course.” (see Appendix B).
The University of Pittsburgh, an R1 institution, as of this fall requires all first year students to be enrolled in a new course titled “Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance” which “explores established scholarship focused on the Black experience and Black cultural expression, as well as the development, spread, and articulations of anti-Black racism in the United States and around the world.” Emory University will begin implementing a new undergraduate general education requirement in Fall 2021 that focuses on race and ethnicity, the purpose of which is to “provide students with opportunities to learn about race and ethnicity, political, economic and social exclusions, and the effects of structural inequality.” Cornell’s president has asked their faculty senate to “develop a for-credit class requirement on racism, bias and equity for all students.” In Canada, a number of universities require undergraduate students to complete an Indigenous degree requirement for graduation.
These are all examples of specific, Ethnic Studies content-focused requirements similar to what is proposed in the RESR for PSU. President Percy has identified racial justice as a priority for our campus; our curriculum should reflect that commitment, and provide the opportunity to ensure that all of our students learn content related to racial justice specifically.
The proposed RESR will not (and should not) take the place of the important UNST Diversity, Equity and Social Justice (and Ethics, Agency and Community) learning goals; rather it will be synergistic with them, and indeed there will likely be overlap between some UNST courses and the RESR, especially but not only at the junior cluster (300U) level. (For example, there is an UNST FRNQ titled Race and Social Justice). Because the RESR can “double dip” and does not require additional credits for graduation, any UNST courses that fulfill the RESR criteria will count for both requirements. The governing body of UNST (UNST Council), has endorsed this proposed RESR and has issued a memo expressing their “enthusiastic support”.
4. Why does SGRN get to have so much say over the committee to approve courses for the RESR?
The basis for the originally proposed weighting of SGRN faculty on the course approval committee relates to the status of Ethnic Studies as a legitimate academic discipline, grounded in theories, praxis, methodologies and pedagogies that are specific to its practitioners in the same way as other disciplines. We modeled the proposed committee structure on the current makeup of the University Writing Council, which has broad oversight over writing instruction, which is a university requirement. That committee is composed of 7 faculty, primarily those with scholarship and expertise related to English and writing. Why don’t engineering, business, social work, arts, (and all divisions of CLAS) etc. all have a representative on the writing requirement committee, as is being proposed for RESR? Certainly scientists have expertise in writing, after all, they write grants and articles for publication. Writing is surely all across the university, in every unit, but why do we not see every unit clamoring to have a spot on the University Writing Council? And do arts, business, social work, etc. faculty representatives vote on whether courses satisfy the university science requirement for example? Certainly the 12 credits in science required for the BA must pose a challenge for some departmental requirements, as much as the two courses in the RESR will for, for example, engineering? Do we allow History courses centered on the history of science to satisfy the university science requirement? If not, why not, and does the History department have a say in this?
In contrast to the implication that SGRN is somehow insular, SGRN unit faculty affiliates from all SGRN departments are in fact woven throughout the university, in every school and college with the possible exception of the School of Business. Even there, newly hired BST Prof. Walidah Imarisha is working with SBA to explore collaborative opportunities between BST and SBA. Chicano/Latino Studies shares a 0.5/0.5 FTE NTTF position with WLL, Visiting Prof. Melissa Patiño-Vega, whose teaching and research focuses on heritage Spanish speakers, identity, belonging and assimilation. School of Public Health Prof. Kelly Gonzales (INST faculty affiliate), just finished teaching the core GRN 520 Decolonizing Methodologies course this winter for the graduate certificate in Gender, Race and Nations--yes, SGRN has a graduate program (but no GA lines) that enrolls master’s and PhD students from departments all across campus.
Graduate students in the GRN certificate come from not only departments like Sociology, Education and Social Work, but also Biology, all of whom come to SGRN to enroll in graduate level courses and gain credentials to meet their training needs in the area of Race and Ethnic Studies that they do not find in their own departments. (This is in addition to GRN graduate certificate students who enroll directly in SGRN, unaffiliated with other departments or graduate programs). The GRN 520 course is extremely popular and fills above 100% capacity each time it is offered.
A cross-college team of faculty including Profs. Betty Izumi in SPH, Marie Lo in English, Kai Cheang, Sri Craven, and Lisa Weasel in WGSS; Alma Trinidad in SSW, Bree Kalima, Coordinator of PIAAA, Motu Sipelli ASPSU Student Body president, and Ava Kupperman, SPH undergraduate, have worked together since last summer with the collaboration of community partner APANO and in consultation with PSU administrators to develop and seek funding to initiate a AsianAmerican/Pacific Islander curriculum and programing in SGRN, a glaring omission in PSU’s offerings relating to Race and Ethnic Studies.
To suggest that SGRN is not collaborative across the university is antithetical to the interdisciplinary nature of Ethnic Studies scholarship, and disregards the composition and hard work of the core and affiliate faculty of SGRN on our campus. Moreover, it negates the fact that SGRN faculty bring specific expertise and training to their work which has not been prioritized or supported by other units on campus. While faculty with Race and Ethnic Studies expertise should in theory be found in “every unit, in every department” on our campus, the lack of prioritization and investment has led to the reality that currently they are not.
It is concerning that the revised proposal for the course approval and oversight committee appears to require 17 or even 18 members, of which only 4 would be from SGRN, with 2 members from each division of CLAS (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) and one each from every other “division” on campus. This means that faculty who are most qualified in the academic content and pedagogy of this requirement will be a minority of the committee. The original proposal had specified a manageable committee size of 7 members, with 4 coming from SGRN and specifying that two of the additional members have expertise in global/international aspects of race and ethnic studies (in addition to ex officio non voting members from key policy committees). Given that the RESR committee will be a permanent committee staffed by FSEN Committee on Committees, the dramatic expansion of committee membership not only demeans the need for scholarly expertise in reviewing course syllabi, but also will require a large and burdensome amount of service, compared to other similar committees. Are there really enough faculty with expertise in Race and Ethnic Studies to serve on this committee, who are not already overburdened with other service demands?
Specifically, can we really expect two faculty from natural sciences in CLAS to step up to serve on this committee year after year, and bring the expertise and attitude towards Ethnic Studies scholarship, needed to constructively support the academic integrity of this requirement?
The ”all hands on deck” nature of the revised committee structure is also inconsistent with the guidelines that other universities with similar race and ethnic studies requirements have developed. The adopted Cal State regulations stipulate:
1. The review, modifications, adaptions, or additions to these criteria are subject to the expert peer evaluation of Ethnic Studies faculty and faculty in traditional Ethnic Studies departments or units (e.g. Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies) in collaboration with the academic senate on each campus. Such committees must be led/chaired by Ethnic Studies faculty and must be made up of a majority faculty from Ethnic Studies departments/units/programs like Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies faculty.
2. Ethnic Studies faculty (as described above) will collaborate to develop any additional course criteria with their campus in addition to the minimum criteria above Such committees must be led/chaired by Ethnic Studies faculty and must be made up of a majority faculty from Ethnic Studies departments/units/programs like Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies faculty.
3. For CSU campuses that have Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies and Latina/o Studies departments/programs/units courses that meet the Ethnic Studies requirement should be housed and offered within those departments/units/programs.
Adam Gaudry, in the chapter “Paved with Good Intentions: Simply Requiring Indigenous Content is Not Enough”, writes that “the absolute worst case scenario is that Indigenous content requirements are fulfilled by any course remotely dealing with some sort of Indigenous issue, without the instructor having any particular expertise. Qualified individuals, those who have sufficient training to deconstruct historical narratives, to break down contemporary stereotypes, and encourage the students to undertake critical self-examination must teach these courses.” At PSU, these are the core and affiliate faculty in the SGRN units.
5. Why are people so upset about these changes to the proposal? Can’t we just have a civil discussion about it? Why are people from SGRN taking this so personally?
Unfortunately, discussions regarding race and ethnicity are difficult and often painful, as much as they are urgently needed. That pain falls disproportionately on those BIPOC faculty whose voices, history, and participation has been historically silenced and belittled, because it repeats and reinforces past harms. This is one of the reasons that this requirement is being proposed, to provide education and knowledge that can provide a basis for better conversations, between us and in our classrooms, that are imbedded in and attuned to scholarship focused on historical and current perspectives pertaining to race and ethnicity, and to incorporate best pedagogical practices that have been developed and tested by those with training and teaching expertise in Race and Ethnic Studies.
As discussed in #1, the field of Ethnic Studies arose in response to resistance and conflict over the absence of the histories, perspectives, and knowledge of BIPOC people and communities in higher education over 50 years ago. It has survived attempts to legally ban it (as in Arizona, and by the Trump administration) and continues to persist in the face of current attacks (as is ongoing on our own campus). The current PSU prioritization of racial justice and replacement of open TT lines in SGRN units is very recent, in the wake of racial justice and BLM protests stemming from the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, last summer. Of note, it took a sharply worded letter to the university President in the days after George Floyd’s death, penned by a white faculty member and published in the PSU Vanguard, to generate large numbers of PSU faculty members willing to sign onto the same sentiments that BIPOC faculty on campus had been calling for, for years before. We cannot just say the words and expect that racial justice can be attained; PSU is not Disneyland and there is no magic wand of racial justice that can be waved to change years of history and exclusion. These conversations need to continue, and ensuring the scholarly grounding and respecting the expertise of SGRN will be critical to successfully implementing a RESR at PSU.
Appendix A: Summaries of scholarship and curriculum in SGRN units at PSU (from PSU website):
BST: The Black Studies Department, officially established in 1970, centers the experiences, voices, and research of people of African descent as a way to challenge dominant narratives. Our research and teaching covers pre- and post-colonial Africa and the African Diaspora in its multiple regions.
Portland State University's Black Studies major is an innovative program that incorporates courses from many departments and focuses on the historical and contemporary issues of people of African, African American, Afro-Latin@ and Caribbean descent. Students with a major in Black Studies will gain competency in project development, analysis, research, communication, cultural sensitivity, and interpersonal and community relations.
We offer a foundation in the following areas:
Dynamics and intersections of race, class, and gender
Historical events, narratives, and their impacts
Cultural experiences, identities, and traditions
Representations in literature, art, film, and media
Socio-political ideologies, and forms of resistance and social justice
Black Studies’ distinguished faculty consists of a diverse group of scholars from various disciplines whose fields of specialization cover African, Caribbean and African American issues, as well as the broader African diaspora, such as Europe. Courses in Black Studies include historical and contemporary perspectives drawing upon scholarly research, films, community-based learning, and guest speakers. The recently revised course offerings also provide students the ability to work on a final research project under the advisement of a department faculty member, engage in individualized internship opportunities, and participate in faculty-led study abroad programs.
CHLA: Portland State University's Chicano/Latino Studies program is dedicated to helping students understand multicultural society and in particular the Chicano/Latino community within a larger social context. Chicano/Latino Studies is the interdisciplinary study of social, cultural, political, economic, and historical forces that have shaped the development of the people of Mexico and other Latin American countries in the United States over the last 300 years.
Chicano/Latino studies is the study of social, economic, and political forces that have shaped the development of Latinos in the United States. Latinos are persons who can trace their roots to Mexico and other Latin American countries. They are a diverse population that includes groups that have lived continuously in the United States for more than 150 years as well as those who have arrived in the United States more recently.
The minor or the certificate in Chicano/Latino studies is a valuable asset for individuals preparing to work in fields and professions that place a premium on effectively reaching out to Latino individuals and communities. A balanced program of social science and humanities makes the Chicano/Latino studies minor or certificate one of the most useful complements to any Portland State University major. Students with a certificate in Chicano/Latino studies pursue careers in human resources; pre-medicine; science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields and the social sciences, and go on to careers in social work, community engagement, health, and public service.
A foundation of the history, diversity of culture, contributions, and challenges in the 21st century for the Latino population in the United States.
Development of strong skills in critical thinking, communication, theory, and analysis.
Engagement with faculty who are experts in a variety of academic fields, and are active in research, publication, and community service.
Attentive academic advising and mentoring to guide students in their careers and community engagement activities.
Flexible course formats, with a mix of in-person, fully online, and hybrid courses.
Connections to the robust community of Latino student groups on campus.
The Chicano/Latino studies certificate has a Spanish-language proficiency requirement.
INST: Portland State University is the only college in the state of Oregon to offer a major in Indigenous Nations and Native American studies. The program focuses on studies and practices of Tribal critical race theory, decolonizing methodologies, traditional and cultural ecological knowledge, and contemporary themes. Contemporary themes include:
food sovereignty and the cultivation of first foods
Indigenous land management
We offer students the opportunity to:
Engage with a diverse range of epistemologies (oral, visual, and written), and discourses on tribal sovereignty and law, traditional ecological knowledge, models of Indigenous leadership, Tribal critical race theory, and decolonizing methodologies.
Explore inside and outside the classroom through community-based learning including Indigenous ecological practices, collaborative research on natural resource management, and environmental sustainability.
Examine and reflect upon resistance movements up to and including Red Power and Standing Rock, that assert and reaffirm Indigenous sovereignty and community resilience.
Understand and address through critical theory, community engagement and discourse, the historical context and contemporary issues impacting social, economic, and environmental justice in Tribal and urban American Indian/Alaska Native/First Nations communities.
Analyze and reflect upon their own identity, allowing students to forge an individual pathway of reflective decolonization alongside peers in an environment that encourages self-examination.
Develop an understanding of Indigenous relationships today and in the past with the environment: land, water, animals, plants, weather/climate, seasons, cosmology/Indigenous astronomy, through food, medicine, craft, art, storytelling, governance, education, policy-making, and ceremony.
Our students go on to careers in nonprofits, education, social services, Tribal government, and academia.
WGSS: WGSS offers two majors and minors (in Sexuality, Gender and Queer Studies; and Women’s Studies) and supports the junior cluster in Gender and Sexualities.
Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies (SGQS) is a unique program, exclusive to Portland State University. PSU is the only school in the state to combine women’s studies, sociology, biology, psychology, literature and cultural studies to examine the issues connected to sexuality, gender, and queer politics in this country and around the world.
Students in the Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies major experience a unique blend of theory, critical analysis, interdisciplinary coursework, and relevant real-world experience.
The program emphasizes leadership and activism for LGBTQ+ and other marginalized populations.
We prepare graduates in the program to be leaders in academia, business and industry, and nonprofit organizations.
The Women's Studies (WS) program at Portland State University integrates feminist research and innovative, experiential learning. The curriculum is complex, challenging, and relevant and includes a major, a minor, and a postgraduate certificate.
The curriculum merges feminist theory with community experiences. Students will conduct and produce intersectional, interdisciplinary, problem-centered scholarship.
Women's studies majors connect with professors across many disciplines. Students learn how feminist theory has and continues to influence:
The women's studies program at PSU encourages students to analyze feminist issues through the lens of race, class, sexuality, and gender.
SGRN CLUSTER HIRE 2021:
Portland State University is located in a region with a complex and contested history. Located at the confluence of Nch'i-Wána, The Big River (Columbia) and the Willamette, two rivers where intellectual, economic, social, political ideas, and community have been shared by Indigenous peoples for millennia, it is natural and necessary that we deeply inquire and engage with the contemporary results of a colonial project that imagined Oregon and the Pacific Northwest more broadly as a white homeland at its incorporation into what is now the United States. We are at a critical juncture in the story of our region and our country. National attention has been focused on protests in Portland, the political, cultural and demographic center of the state. We seek scholars whose work is transformative and future-oriented to be part of a supportive intellectual community of allied departments. This cluster hire initiative focuses on several broad themes:
Futurisms, transformational scholarship and regenerative justice, including, but not limited to Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurisms
Histories of resistance, protest, and community struggle.
Critical theory, and the social and philosophical themes of liberation.
Ecology and gentrification
Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies
There currently isn’t an Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies program in SGRN, but faculty, staff, and students are currently working to build one.
California State University Council on Ethnic Studies
Core Competencies for Ethnic Studies System-wide Graduation Requirement
Approved by CSUCES Steering Committee with membership endorsement October 8, 2020
We, the California State University Council on Ethnic Studies, approve all of the following as our core competencies. These competencies include a minimum number of criteria and a minimum number of learning objectives to be used by campus-specific Ethnic Studies experts and each campus’s academic senate curricular bodies to determine if a lower-division or upper- division course meets the Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement for the California State University in compliance with Assembly Bill 1460 and California Education Code 89032c.
Furthermore, the Council on Ethnic Studies intends to establish a common understanding of the implementation process for the CSU Ethnic Studies requirement as required by California Education Code 89032 section c:
(c) The California State University shall collaborate with the California State University Council on Ethnic Studies and the Academic Senate of the California State University to develop core competencies to be achieved by students who complete an ethnic studies course pursuant to implementation of this section. The council and the academic senate shall approve the core competencies before commencement of the 2021–22 academic year.
In particular, the Council on Ethnic Studies would like to emphasize the responsibility for collaboration “pursuant to implementation of this section” described in California Education Code 89032 section c. The Council on Ethnic Studies sees this “implementation” requirement as an ongoing process that includes establishing core competencies, ongoing curricular review of courses, and establishing the parameters for meeting this university-level requirement.
In considering implementation of this CSU Ethnic Studies requirement, we have determined that this requirement cannot be fulfilled through a single CSU General Education area because: 1) Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary field and, as a result, Ethnic Studies courses cover multiple GE areas; 2) limiting the requirement to a single GE area would create problems with implementation and time to degree; 3) housing the Ethnic Studies requirement in a single GE area undermines the collaboration and implementation requirements of California Education Code 89032 section (c) because each campus’ General Education Governance Board would have the sole responsibility for implementation of this requirement and not campus-specific Ethnic Studies experts.
Furthermore, AB1460/ California Education Code 89032 SECTION 2 SUBSECTION (d) states: "Commencing with students graduating in the 2024–25 academic year, the California State University shall require, as an undergraduate graduation requirement [emphasis added], the completion of, at minimum, one three-unit course in ethnic studies. The university shall not increase the number of units required to graduate from the university with a baccalaureate degree by the enforcement of this requirement. This graduation requirement shall not apply to a postbaccalaureate student who is enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program at the university if
the student has satisfied either of the following...." This “broader [graduation] requirement” is clearly in line with the distinction made by the Chancellor’s office in its FAQ from September 29, 2020 on its announcement of the Ethnic Studies requirement (
CES Core Competencies (Criteria & Learning Objectives)
CSU Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement courses must meet all of the following criteria. Each course must:
CR1: be an existing ethnic studies course or part of a traditional ethnic studies department, unit, or program (e.g. Native American Studies, Latina/o Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies); or be proposed, designed and implemented by faculty with expertise in Ethnic Studies (and related disciplines) and be an Ethnic Studies department/unit approved cross- listed course.
The review, modifications, adaptions, or additions to these criteria are subject to the expert peer evaluation of Ethnic Studies faculty and faculty in traditional Ethnic Studies departments or units (e.g. Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies) in collaboration with the academic senate on each campus. Such committees must be led/chaired by Ethnic Studies faculty and must be made up of a majority faculty from Ethnic Studies departments/units/programs like Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies faculty.
Ethnic Studies faculty (as described above) will collaborate to develop any additional course criteria with their campus in addition to the minimum criteria above Such committees must be led/chaired by Ethnic Studies faculty and must be made up of a majority faculty from Ethnic Studies departments/units/programs like Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies faculty.
For CSU campuses that have Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies and Latina/o Studies departments/programs/units courses that meet the Ethnic Studies requirement should be housed and offered within those departments/units/programs.
Course Learning Objectives
Each course meeting the Ethnic Studies requirement must fulfill a minimum of three out of the following five learning objectives as appropriate to their lower- or upper-division status.
These learning objectives must be used in addition to any learning objectives and criteria established and required by each campus’ Ethnic Studies department/unit/program (as traditionally defined) faculty for all courses meeting the CSU Ethnic Studies graduation requirement:
SLO 1: Analyze and articulate concepts such as race and racism, racialization, ethnicity, equity, ethno-centrism, eurocentrism, white supremacy, self- determination, liberation, decolonization, sovereignty, imperialism, settler colonialism, and anti-racism as analyzed in any one or more of the following: Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina and Latino American Studies.
SLO 2: Apply theory and knowledge produced by Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino American communities to describe the critical events, histories, cultures, intellectual traditions, contributions, lived-experiences and social struggles of those groups with a particular emphasis on agency and group-affirmation.
SLO 3: Critically analyze the intersection of race and racism as they relate to class, gender, sexuality, religion, spirituality, national origin, immigration status, ability, tribal citizenship, sovereignty, language, and/or age in Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino American communities.
SLO 4: Explain and assess how struggle, resistance, racial and social justice, solidarity, and liberation, as experienced, enacted, and studied by Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and/or Latina and Latino Americans are relevant to current and structural issues such as communal, national, international, and transnational politics as, for example, in immigration, reparations, settler-colonialism, multiculturalism, language policies.
SLO 5: Describe and actively engage with anti-racist and anti-colonial issues and the practices and movements in Native American, African American, Asian American and/or Latina and Latino communities to build a just and equitable society.
1. Modifications or adaptations to these learning objectives are subject to the expert peer evaluation of Ethnic Studies faculty in Ethnic Studies departments, units, or programs (e.g. Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies) on each campus.
In addition, Ethnic Studies faculty in Ethnic Studies departments, units, or programs (e.g. Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies) shall review, modify, and approve courses attempting to meet these learning objectives on each campus.
Furthermore, any committee reviewing courses for the CSU Ethnic Studies Graduation Requirement must be chaired by Ethnic Studies faculty; and, such committees must have a majority representation from faculty in the following departments/units/programs:
Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies faculty.
2. Finally, any modifications or adaptations must be guided by the fundamental principles that undergird the definition of Ethnic Studies, as birthed from the named core four disciplinary areas (Native American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies).