“There are several common themes arising from the various analyses of the history of ethnic studies. In summary fashion these are:Ethnic studies has a transformative mission. The most critical objective of the discipline is to bring about changes in what is taught about the social, historical, and cultural experiences of ethnic groups. The objective of research and teaching in ethnic studies is to provide a deeper and wider reservoir of knowledge and perspectives about the experiences of ethnic groups. Ethnic studies disciplinarians optimistically believe that with accurate knowledge about people of color, stereotypes, fears, prejudices, and discrimination will be reduced. Some scholars believe that new knowledge will bring about a change of consciousness which will compel the learner to become actively engaged in changing the negative aspects of one’s institutional life.Ethnic studies is a corrective and redemptive project. This is another dimension of the transformative mission. Ethnic studies teaching and scholarship attempts to fill in the gaps in knowledge and correct misconceptions, half truths, and lies about ethnic groups. Ethnic studies scholarship also advances new paradigmatic approaches to both study and teaching which speak to the creative and innovative qualities of this discipline.Ethnic studies has generative capacities. As noted immediately above, ethnic studies researchers and teachers have developed and used social science and literary models, among others, to explain, describe, and represent ethnic group experiences. These models include those highlighting the resilience of ethnic families; borderlands constructs in literature and social science, which provide unique tools for knowing more about the insider experiences of Latinas; and diasporic and transnational models that allow us to draw connections and disconnections between the experiences of earlier generations of Asian and Pacific Island immigrants and their descendents. Such models also assist with developing more inclusive understandings of the world populations and their cultures and how groups have responded to the predations of other groups.
Focus:What social groups do they focus on? People of colorScope:What does someone researching in your discipline look at? What kinds of questions do they ask?
How has this field changed over time?
Subfields:What are some examples of this in your area? Black/African American StudiesAsian/Asian-Pacific American StudiesLatino/a and Chicano/a StudiesNative American StudiesRelated Disciplines:What other social sciences are related to your topic?
Approaches:Is there a dominant methodology used when researching in your field? Are there any standards for research?
Where is the research being done in this area? If you are researching in this field where would you find others doing similar research?
Encyclopedia of Racism in the United StatesPublisher: Greenwood PressYear: 2005Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic StudiesAuthor: Ellis CashmorePublisher: RoutledgeYear: 2004Ethnic NewswatchProQuest330+ publications: newspapers, magazines, journals from ethnic and minority publicationsBibliography of Native North AmericansEBSCOhost141K+ citations
Definition & History Definition: the interdisciplinary study of people through the lens of race and ethnicity – 2 volatile components of identity History: rooted in the American civil rights movement, 1960s San Francisco State College (now University), 1968 – first higher ed institution to have a School of Ethnic Studies (now College) Mission: transformative, corrective, redemptive, generative (Scott, 2008, p. 19)
Focus & Scope Focus: histories, experiences, struggles, practices and cultural products of peoples of color from their own perspective(s); challenge to ethnocentric angle of traditional social science disciplines Scope: see above taps into questions asked by other disciplines: sociology, anthropology, psychology, education, political science, literature, film, philosophy, history, religious studies, art, economics, epidemiology
History, in depth 1960s-1970s: Focus was on transformation of postsecondary intellectual and physical space subject focus on American racial/ethnic relations, corrective emphasis 1980s-1990s: One focus: interrogation of white privilege – whiteness studies; movement towards comparative ethnic studies, racial/ethnic relations in different nations, transnational studies, postcolonial/post-structuralism 2000s-2010s: continue international, comparative ethnic studies, transnational/diasporic studies
Subfields & Related Discipline Subfields: Black/African American Studies Asian/Asian-Pacific American Studies Latino/a and Chicano/a Studies Native American Studies Related disciplines: Women’s and Gender Studies Peace and Justice Studies Cultural Studies
Approaches/Methodologies Approach depends on object of study, research question Literature – literary analysis History – historiography Sociology – quantitative, qualitative approaches
Key Professional Organizations National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES) Founded in 1972 Affiliated with American Historical Association (AHA) Mission: interdisciplinary forum for scholars and activists interested in ethnicity American Studies Association: Committee on Ethnic Studies Keeps ASA appraised of scholarship in ethnic studies MELUS: The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States Mission: develop the definition of American literature to include Native American, African American, Asian and Pacific American and ethnically specified European-American literary works, authors and contexts
Resources Encyclopedia of Racism in the United States Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic Studies Ethnic Newswatch Bibliography of Native North Americans America: History & Life JSTOR ICPSR Sociological Abstracts
Works CitedButler, J. E. (2008). Ethnic studies and interdisciplinarity. In T. P. Fong (Ed.), Ethnic studies research: Approaches and perspectives (243-256). Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.Forbes, J. D. (2008). Ethnic or world studies: A historian’s path of discovery. In T. P. Fong (Ed.), Ethnic studies research: Approaches and perspectives (59-91). Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.Okihiro, G. Y. (2008). Crafting ethnic studies. In T. P. Fong (Ed.), Ethnic studies research: Approaches and perspectives (33-57). Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.Scott, O. L. (2008). Ethnic studies: Preparing for the future. In T. P. Fong (Ed.), Ethnic studies research: Approaches and perspectives (17-32). Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.