Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary, comparative concentration that examines the construction of race and ethnicity in social, cultural, historical, political, and economic contexts. Concentrators develop individual programs based on areas of focus in consultation with faculty advisors, drawing from courses in the humanities and social sciences. Typical areas of focus are social issues (such as inequality, education, or health), cultural production and the representation of racial groups, processes of racialization, the historical formation of transnational communities and of diaspora, and the history of particular ethnic or racial groups.
The Ethnic Studies concentration at Brown emphasizes the histories of diverse racial groups within and across the borders of the United States, including examining issues of diaspora, migration, social movements, and the political economies of social inequality and racial formation. Concentrators strive for intellectual fluency in a range of critical approaches to race and ethnicity across disciplines, and demonstrate this fluency through the composition or creation of a significant piece of original research or creative work.
Brown University established an Ethnic Studies concentration in 1996, originally within the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA). In the Fall of 2013, as part of changes to the CSREA and to better support students, Ethnic Studies joined a long established Brown department, American Studies. Many American Studies faculty members work in the areas of race and ethnicity and have held joint appointments in Ethnic and American Studies while American Studies PhD students have done some of the most exciting Ethnic Studies research on campus.
As an academic field, Ethnic Studies is rooted in the protests of the 1960s and 1970s, out which emerged the very first Latino/a Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, and Native American studies programs. Organized around straightforward political goals – the enrichment through diversification of the curriculum and the systematic, multi-disciplinary, and the often comparative study of racial and ethnic inequality – Ethnic Studies has become an important feature of major research universities.
Faculty, both core and affiliated, create and participate in groundbreaking Ethnic Studies scholarship. Areas of faculty research include borderlands history, Latina/o literary studies and visual culture, indigenous movements, migration and African American cultural studies as well as the intersecting fields of gender and sexuality, queer theory and critical race theory. Students can focus their study on specific populations (e.r. Latina/os, Asian Americans) and choose a thematic interest including such current examples as : "social issued affecting radicalized groups" (students have looked at health disparities or educational inequality); "the study of cultural production or cultural representations;" "the theory of a particular racial or ethnic group;" and " the study of comparative processes of radicalization."
Requirements (for students starting with the class of 2020)
|ETHN 1000||Introduction to American/Ethnic Studies||1|
|Any two courses from the ETHN 1200 "Topics in Ethnic Studies" or ETHN 1750 "Advanced Topics in Ethnic Studies" sequence, or similar electives in AMST, as approved by the advisor||2|
|Contemporary Indigenous Education in North America|
|Immigrant Social Movements: Bridging Theory and Practice|
|Treaty Rights and Food Fights: Eating Local in Indian Country|
|Transpacific Asian American Studies|
|Transpacific Popular Culture|
|Four classes (at least two in ETHN) that address the student's focus area and that prepare them for the capstone experience. Courses must be approved by the concentration advisor.||4|
|ETHN 1650||Methods and Approaches in Ethnic Studies||1|
|American Studies seminar in the AMST 1700 series||1|
|Race and Remembering|
|Community Engagement with Health and the Environment|
|Race in the Americas: A Hemispheric Perspective|
|ETHN 1900||Ethnic Studies Senior Seminar||1|
Admittance to the Honors Program in Ethnic Studies requires:
- A 3.5 GPA in concentration courses
- A 3.0 overall GPA
- Completion of the standard concentration
- AMST/ETHN 1800 the Honors Seminar in the sixth semester
- An Honors Thesis Proposal and an application for the Ethnic Studies Honors Program
- Two independent studies, taken in the seventh and eighth semester, with the Director of your honors thesis
- A completed project, delivered the third week of April.
- A recommendation for honors from both readers.
Students must define their honors project by April 1 or near the end of their sixth semester. The proposal is comprised of a two-page, single-paced project description along with a bibliography of relevant sources. This proposal must be submitted for approval to the faculty along with the application for the Ethnic Studies Honors Program form. The proposal should identify the problem, or question the student will focus on, and suggest approaches and possible hypotheses or outcomes. Students need to work with two professors - a director and a reader. at least one should be Ethnic Studies faculty. The proposal should name a confirmed director (who must sign your application form) and likely second reader (who will need to confirm at the beginning of your seventh semester). If a student wants to work with two professors, neither of whom is Ethnic Studies faculty, then they should have a third deader who will read the final draft or consult on the final project and approve it for honors in the field.
In their seventh and eight semesters, students seeking honors will enroll in an independent study class with their director during which they will follow through on the plan devised in the spring of their junior year. Students and thesis directors should plan on at least a monthly meeting to discuss the research, writing, and revision of sections of the thesis. In addition to meeting with their director, student should also plan to meet their second reader during this time.
In their eighth semester, the deadline for a finished full draft of their project is April 21. Students should turn in a completed (proofread, formatted, fully written) draft to their readers by that day. Of course, students will turn chapters to the director and reader before that, according to their recommendations, but April 21 is the absolute deadline to turn in the final draft.
All official readers must recommend the project for honors.
When written as formal research papers, honors theses are generally between 50-100 pages. When there is a creative or public component, students should work closely with their faculty team to determine the appropriate length of the written accompaniment.
Students will make a public presentation of their work to the Ethnic Studies faculty during the first week of May.
Requirements (for students through the class of 2019):
|ETHN 0500||Introduction to American/Ethnic Studies||1|
|Any two introductory courses in Latino/a, Africana, Asian-Amerian, or Native American Studies. The courses in the list below are exaples of these courses. Other courses may be approved by the Advisor.||2|
|An Introduction to Africana Studies|
A course from the AMST 1610 series, as approved by the concentration advisor
|From Coyote to Casinos: Native North American Peoples and Cultures|
|Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the Modern World|
|Race, Culture, and Ethnic Politics|
or ANTH 1420
|Ethnicity, Race, and Gender in the Americas|
Courses taught by core Ethnic Studies faculty may be recognized in consultation with concentration advisor.
|Any three courses in Ethnic Studies that address the student's focus area (as approved by the concentration advisor), for example:||3|
|The Border/La Frontera|
|Critical Mixed Race Studies in the Twenty-First Century|
|Introduction to Latina/o Cultural Studies|
|Native Americans and the Media|
|Theory Into Practice: Service Learning at a Dual Language Charter School|
|Race and Remembering|
|Hip Hop Music and Cultures|
|The Research Process: Qualitative and Ethnographic Methods|
|Race and Language in the United States|
|Race in the Americas|
|Ethnic Studies Practicum: Strategy, Tactics and Tools for Social Change|
|Immigrant Social Movements: Bridging Theory and Practice|
|Ethnic Los Angeles|
|Latino/a Communities Seminar|
|Native North Americans in the Media: Representations and Self Representations in Film|
|Queer Latina/o Literature and Theory|
|Reading Race: Advanced Seminar in Critical Race Theory|
|Seminar on Latino Politics in the United States|
|Native American and European Contact in Early North America, ca. 1600-1750|
|Business, Culture, and Globalization: An Ethnographic Perspective|
|Indigenous Music of the Americas|
|Johnny, Are You Queer: Narratives of Race and Sexuality|
|Bad Boys and Bad Girls in Asian American Literature and Culture|
|Native Americans in the Media: Representation and Self-Representation on Film|
|Introduction to American Indian Studies|
|Native American Environmental Health Movements|
|(De)Colonizing Women: Writing the Third Space|
Treaty Rights and Food Fights: Eating Local in Indian Country
|Thawing the "Frozen Indian"; American Indian Museum Representation|
|Introduction to Native American Literature|
|The Hispanic Caribbean and its Diasporas|
|Youth, Art, Engagement and Social Justice|
|Race, Class and Gender in Latino Communities|
|Any three courses drawn from a list of related courses (as approved by the concentration advisor).||3|
|A course from the ETHN 1900 series. 1||1|
|Alien Nation: US Immigration in Comparative Perspectives|
|Community, Language and Literacy: A Practicum|
|Contemporary Latino/a Education in the United States|
|Latino Communities Seminar|
|Senior Seminar in Ethnic Studies|
|Theory, Creativity, Activism|
|Race and Immigration in the Americas|
|What is Ethnic Studies?|
Transpacific Asian American Studies
|Students in the concentration should also take a WRIT course from within the concentration, from a list of cross-listed courses, or from a course approved by their advisor.|
|Students should also be sure to take a methods course.|
To be taken in the first semester of the student's final year. The senior seminar is the capstone course and is required of all concentrators.
Candidates for honors must have at least a B+ average in the concentration and be approved by the Concentration Committee. Honors candidates will propose a thesis project to be completed by the end of their final semester. The development of a thesis project will begin during the sixth semester. Honors candidates will have two readers, at least one of whom must be Ethnic Studies core faculty.
Concentrators who choose not to request consideration for honors will be required to complete a major essay or project by the end of their final semester. The essay or project can be the result of major work completed in the senior seminar.
Students seeking information about the Ethnic Studies Program or in need of advising should contact (401-863-7034).