Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies

Ethnic studies has a history that traces back to our own Bay Area. The term Ethnic Studies as a collective identifier of the four autonomous disciplines was a compromise in 1968 to replace its original name “Third World Studies.” The new term was designated by students from the Third World Liberation Front at San Francisco State College, now San Francisco State University. Ethnic Studies came about during a time when Black students from the Black Student Union demanded the following from their college administrators: 

  1. Increased access to higher education for Black students and all students of color
  2.  Increased hiring of Black faculty and faculty of color
  3. The establishment of a Black Studies program, and, eventually, Ethnic Studies programs/departments 

What makes Ethnic Studies unique from other fields of study is that it challenges fundamental underpinnings of knowledge structures and serves as an antidote for knowledge gaps. It is an intellectual approach that is grounded in holistic and culturally centered worldviews where students are knowledge holders and knowledge producers. They gain understandings of their origins, and why knowledge gaps persist within academia. Through an emancipatory learning experience and cultivation of agency, scholars transcend these gaps and call for an antiracist approach not only to educational frameworks within academic institutions but in our local, national and global communities.  

Ethnic Studies is a field of study that refers to all four of the following disciplines:

  • African American/Black/Africana Studies
  • Latina/o/Chicana/o/La Raza Studies
  • Native American/American Indian Studies
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies

Learn more about the Ethnic Studies ADT