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Ethnic Studies

[major | minor | graduate program | courses | faculty ]

Social Science Building, Room 201

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.

Ethnic studies at UC San Diego is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on fundamental theoretical and political questions regarding the social construction of categories of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and nation. The department’s innovative approach represents a commitment to transnational, relational, and intersectional methods for producing critical knowledge about power and inequality, including systems of knowledge that have emerged from racialized and indigenous communities in global contexts. The department’s areas of focus include aesthetics, performance, and cultural production; materialist approaches to labor, value, and consumption; science and technology; and (settler) colonialism, migration, and movement.

With outstanding teachers and excellently trained teaching assistants, undergraduates in the Department of Ethnic Studies have a valuable opportunity to engage in a lively and supportive academic environment. The curriculum of the Department of Ethnic Studies is designed to teach students to

  • Conduct interdisciplinary research in comparative race and ethnic studies
  • Communicate complex ideas about society effectively, particularly in oral and written form
  • Critically analyze power and inequality in a global focus, in preparation for an international world
  • Articulate the historical, cultural, and social contexts of specific racial, ethnic, and other social formations, in preparation for our diverse society
  • Demonstrate practical experience in ethnic studies, other than academic writing and reading, such as through performance, art, direct service, internships, and study abroad.

Ethnic studies is an exciting degree that prepares students to enter the workforce and function effectively and critically as informed citizens in a diverse multicultural society. The major offers a solid liberal arts education for students considering admission to graduate or professional schools and careers in education, law, medicine, public health, social work, counseling, journalism, business, city planning, politics, psychology, international relations, or creative writing.

The Major

To receive a BA with a major in ethnic studies, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Two lower-division courses from either Ethnic Studies 1-2-3. Ideally these two lower-division courses should be taken during the sophomore year as an intensive introduction to the history and theoretical dimensions of ethnic diversity in the United States. Ethnic Studies 1, 2, and 3, Introduction to Ethnic Studies, will consist of the following three courses: Land and Labor, Circulations of Difference, and Making Culture.
  2. A minimum of thirteen four-unit upper-division courses in the Department of Ethnic Studies must be completed from the following:
    1. One four-unit theory course, Ethnic Studies 100A. Theoretical Approaches, is an advanced survey of key issues, themes, and debates in the field of critical ethnic studies
    2. One four-unit methods course, Ethnic Studies100B. Interdisciplinary Methodologies, is an introduction to interdisciplinary research methodologies in critical ethnic studies
    3. One four-unit capstone course, Ethnic Studies 100C. Social Justice Praxis, is an advanced exploration of praxis-based approaches to social justice
    4. Ten upper-division ethnic studies electives from those listed below:

      ETHN 101. Ethnic Images in Film

      ETHN 101TV. Ethnic Images on TV

      ETHN 102. Science and Technology in Society: Race/Gender/Class

      ETHN 103. Environmental Racism

      ETHN 104. Race, Space, and Segregation

      ETHN 105. Ethnic Diversity and the City

      ETHN 106. Life, Death, and the Human

      ETHN 107. Fieldwork in Racial and Ethnic Communities

      ETHN 108. Race, Culture, and Social Change

      ETHN 109. Race and Social Movements

      ETHN 110. Cultural Worldviews of Indigenous America

      ETHN 111. Native American Literature

      ETHN 112A. History of Native Americans and Indigenous People in the U.S. I

      ETHN 112B. History of Native Americans and Indigenous People in the U.S. II

      ETHN 113. Decolonizing Education

      ETHN 114A. Representing Native America

      ETHN 114B. Representing Native America: Exhibit Design

      ETHN 115. Monsters, Orphans, and Robots

      ETHN 116. The United States-Mexico Border in Comparative Perspective

      ETHN 117. Organic Social Movements

      ETHN 118. Contemporary Immigration Issues

      ETHN 119. Race in the Americas

      ETHN 120. Race and Performance: The Politics of Popular Culture

      ETHN 121. Contemporary Asian American History

      ETHN 122. Asian American Culture and Identity

      ETHN 123. Asian American Politics

      ETHN 124. Asian American Literature

      ETHN 125. Asian American History

      ETHN 126. Comparative Filipino- and Vietnamese-American Identities and Communities

      ETHN 127. Sexuality and Nation

      ETHN 128. Hip-Hop: The Politics of Culture

      ETHN 129. Asian and Latina Immigrant Workers in the Global Economy

      ETHN 130. Social and Economic History of the Southwest I

      ETHN 131. Social and Economic History of the Southwest II

      ETHN 132. Chicano Dramatic Literature

      ETHN 133. Hispanic American Dramatic Literature

      ETHN 134. Immigration and Ethnicity in Modern American Society

      ETHN 135A. Early Latino/a-Chicano/a Cultural Production: 1848 to 1960

      ETHN 135B. Contemporary Latino/a-Chicano/a Cultural Production: 1960 to Present

      ETHN 136. The Science and Critical Analysis of Environmental Justice

      ETHN 137. Latina Issues and Cultural Production

      ETHN 138. Black and Latinx Crossing

      ETHN 139. Chicano Literature in English

      ETHN 140. Comparative Refugee Communities from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

      ETHN 140A. Refugee San Diego

      ETHN 141. Gandhi in the Modern World: From Civil Rights to the Arab Spring

      ETHN 142. Medicine, Race, and the Global Politics of Inequality

      ETHN 143. Chicana/o Film and Media Studies

      ETHN 146A. Ensemble

      ETHN 147. Black Feminisms, Past and Present

      ETHN 149. African American History in the Twentieth Century

      ETHN 150. Visuality, Sexuality, and Race

      ETHN 151. Ethnic Politics in America

      ETHN 152. Law and Civil Rights

      ETHN 153. Citizenship and Civil Rights in the Twentieth Century

      ETHN 154. History of Mexican America

      ETHN 155. US Militarism

      ETHN 155GS. Critical Perspectives on the Vietnam War

      ETHN 157. Madness and Urbanization

      ETHN 158. Native American Intellectuals in the Twentieth Century

      ETHN 159. Topics in African American History

      ETHN 160. Global Indigenous Studies

      ETHN 162. Practicum in California Tribal Law and Journalism

      ETHN 163E. Decolonial Theory

      ETHN 163F. Playing Indian: Native American and First Nations Cinema

      ETHN 163G. Indigenous Theatre and Performance

      ETHN 163I. Asian American Histography

      ETHN 163J. Asian American Social Movements

      ETHN 164. African Americans and the Mass Media

      ETHN 165. Gender and Sexuality in African American Communities

      ETHN 166. Arab/Muslim American Identity and Culture

      ETHN 168. Comparative Ethnic Literature

      ETHN 169. Origins of the Atlantic World, c. 1450–1650

      ETHN 170. Slavery and the Atlantic World

      ETHN 172. Afro-American Prose

      ETHN 173GS. Gender, Sexuality, and War

      ETHN 174. Themes in Afro-American Literature

      ETHN 175. Literature of the Harlem Renaissance

      ETHN 177. Listening to the World

      ETHN 178. Blues: An Oral Tradition

      ETHN 179. Discover Jazz

      ETHN 180. Topics in Mexican American History

      ETHN 182. Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Fantasy and Science Fiction

      ETHN 183. Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class

      ETHN 184. Black Intellectuals in the Twentieth Century

      ETHN 185. Discourse, Power, and Inequality

      ETHN 187. Latinx Sexualities

      ETHN 188. African Americans, Religion, and the City

      ETHN 189. Special Topics in Ethnic Studies (Students may repeat this course three times for credit toward major requirements when topics vary.)

      *ETHN 197. Fieldwork in Racial and Ethnic Communities

      *ETHN 198. Directed Group Studies

      *ETHN 199. Supervised Independent Study and Research

      *Only a total of two courses from the special studies will be counted in fulfillment of the elective requirement.

  3. Ethnic studies majors, including students who are double majors, may petition up to three upper-division courses to fulfill major requirements as long as each of the following three conditions is met for each course: (1) the course is taken from another UC San Diego department, taken from a UC San Diego approved study abroad program, or taken at another UC campus; and (2) the course work is appropriate to the ethnic studies major.
  4. To satisfy the requirements for the major, lower- and upper-division courses must be completed with a P, C–, or better grade.
  5. Except for independent study course electives (ETHN 197, 198, or 199) which are always taken with a Pass/Not Pass grade option, students majoring in ethnic studies may take up to two courses, either lower or upper division, with a Pass/Not Pass option.

The Honors Program

Consistent with other research opportunities offered to undergraduates on the UC San Diego campus, the department offers ethnic studies majors in their senior or junior year the opportunity to conduct original research using interdisciplinary methodologies in the comparative study of race and ethnicity. To enroll in the Honors Program, an undergraduate must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 in ethnic studies classes counted toward the major. Students with a GPA lower than 3.5 in the major may be admitted by exception if they show promise of success in research.

Candidates for Honors in Ethnic Studies will be required to take ETHN 100H. Honors Research Design, a four-unit discussion-based course on advanced research methods; and ETHN 196. Honors Thesis Research, a four-unit independent study with a thesis director who will be either an ethnic studies faculty member or an ethnic studies affiliated faculty member. At the end of spring quarter, honors students will provide an overview of their thesis findings at a one-day symposium. Students who complete ETHN 100H and ETHN 196H will receive credit toward the total number of ten upper-division electives required for the ethnic studies major. Both courses must be taken for a grade. Students who complete the research project with a grade of A+ will receive Highest Distinction, a grade of A receives High Distinction, and a grade of B or greater receives Distinction in the major upon graduation from UC San Diego.

ETHN 100H. Honors Research Design (4)

This discussion-based course will focus on the application of advanced research methods to the design of extensive, independent research-based projects.

ETHN 196H. Honors Thesis (4)

This course will focus on writing an Honors thesis under the supervision of a thesis adviser, who will be either an Ethnic Studies faculty or an Ethnic Studies affiliated faculty member. While not required, students are encouraged to take ETHN 100C: Social Justice Praxis concurrently with 196H.

Education Abroad Program

Students are able to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) or UC San Diego’s Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) while still making progress toward completing their major. Students considering this option should discuss their plans with the undergraduate adviser prior to going abroad, and courses taken abroad must be approved by the department. Interested students should contact the Study Abroad UC San Diego office near Matthews Quad.

The Minor

Students may minor in ethnic studies. Students wishing to minor in ethnic studies must satisfy the following requirements:

    1. A total of seven courses will satisfy the minor program with two options as follows:
      • Option 1, the lower-division option: Students must take two of the lower-division courses from ETHN 1, ETHN 2 or ETHN 3. Students must also take five four-unit upper-division ethnic studies courses from the upper-division electives (see list for ethnic studies electives).
      • Or
      • Option 2, the upper-division option: Students must take ETHN 100A and ETHN 100B. Students must also take five four-unit upper-division ethnic studies courses from the upper-division electives (see list for ethnic studies electives).

Students choose only one option to satisfy the minor requirement.

No more than one independent study course (ETHN 197, 198, or 199) may be petitioned to count for the minor.

  1. To satisfy the requirements for the minor, lower- and upper-division courses must be completed with a grade of P, C–, or better.
  2. Except for independent study course electives (ETHN 197, 198, or 199) that are always taken with a Pass/Not Pass grade option, students minoring in ethnic studies may take one course, either lower or upper division, with a Pass/Not Pass grade option.