Introduction to the Ethnic Studies Program
Drawing upon its own inter-disciplinary body of theory, concepts and methodological approaches, ethnic studies at Lawrence provides intellectual environments in which students can participate in meaningful dialogue about topics too often shrouded in silence. Ethnic studies appeals to students who want to explore the evolution of ethno-racial identities in both U.S. domestic and global contexts, and examine current issues pertaining to race and ethnicity. Students take ethnic studies courses to enhance their own ability to negotiate multi-ethnic and inter-racial relationships and to thrive in workplace diversity. Students broaden their own worldview when they study concepts of ethnicity and learn what it means to identify with an ethnic group on the basis of national origin, family heritage, shared historical experience, customs and traditions, and/or language. Students think critically about the concept of race when they explore how race is a recent human invention, how race is about culture and politics and not biology, and how race and racism are still embedded in institutions and everyday life.
The ethnic studies minor at Lawrence offers two core courses that introduce students to theory, concepts and approaches from the social sciences (ETST 200: Race and Ethnicity in the United States) and the arts and humanities (ETST 210 Expressions of Ethnicity). Students take at least one of the two core courses and four additional elective courses, at least one from each of two categories—domestic and global—to build a minor that reflects individual student interests in certain topics or current debates, specific ethno-racial communities, geographic areas, or historical time periods. In a senior capstone requirement, students may choose from a range of options designed to bring reflection and focus to their ethnic studies experience.
Expanding to a Major and Enhancing Diversity
The Ethnic Studies program has begun a search for a tenure-line appointment in ethnic studies following a proposal unanimously endorsed by the committee process at Lawrence University. New additions to our curriculum will hopefully lead to the approval of an Ethnic Studies major. As an academic community, we at Lawrence hold a deep commitment to valuing diversity and enhancing diversity on campus. Recruiting and retaining a diverse student body and educating all students to think critically and productively about race and ethnicity are crucial goals for the inclusive excellence that will help Lawrence’s vitality now and into the future. A new tenure-track appointment and developing a major in Ethnic Studies will play an important role in these goals.