College of Social Sciences Ethnic Studies Collaborative

The CSU Task Force on the Advancement of Ethnic Studies report encouraged each campus in the California State University system to strengthen its African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Mexican American Studies, and Native American Studies programs. In addition to strengthening the individual Ethnic Studies programs, in August 2018 the College of Social Sciences will establish a new structure to foster increased multi- and inter- disciplinary Ethnic Studies opportunities for students and faculty. The Ethnic Studies Collaborative would initially have two main objectives: develop an undergraduate minor in Comparative U.S. Race and Ethnic Relations, and serve as the nexus for Ethnic Studies faculty, student, and community collaboration. Mexican American Studies Associate Professor Magdalena Barrera will be the inaugural Director of the Ethnic Studies Collaborative.

The study of race and ethnicity is increasingly complementing analysis of distinct and static cultural identities with an examination of power, inequality, and social justice in a comparative, relational, and multidisciplinary fashion. The new Comparative U.S. Race and Ethnic Relations minor will examine the ways in which race and ethnicity have been effective instruments of political power, especially in contexts such as representation, citizenship, ethnic/national relations, religion and politics, and economic development. The minor will explore the multiple social, historical, cultural, religious, and political contexts that have shaped comparative races and ethnicities in the United States. Students in the minor will consider multiple perspectives on how to analyze and address issues of social, institutional, and cultural inequalities that have challenged historically underrepresented groups in the US.

There are faculty in the College of Social Sciences and around SJSU with strong interests in Ethnic Studies. The Ethnic Studies Collaborative will bring these faculty into closer collaboration with the core faculty in the departments and programs. Additionally, the collaborative will organize talks and workshops to engage students and community members, and will sponsor increased faculty-student research opportunities.