Ethnic Studies

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.

New major in Ethnic Studies approved by a positive majority vote among the full faculty on February 13, 2018!

After a long process involving the first Ethnic Studies class being taught in 2002, our first student graduates with the minor in 2007, the program self-study and external review in 2015, and our new tenure-track faculty hire in 2017, Ethnic Studies is thrilled to implement a new major in addition to a minor.

We have many people to thank but above all Ethnic Studies would like to thank our students and alumni! Thank you students and alumni for responding to student and alumni surveys related to the self-study and external review. Thank you students for participating in the successful national search that brought Dr. Jesús Gregorio Smith to campus as our tenure-track colleague in Ethnic Studies. Thank you students for attending recent Ethnic Studies Open House events. We take pride in students whose interest in Ethnic Studies have manifest in multiple ways in addition to minoring and now majoring in Ethnic Studies.

Please bear with us as we update our website, course catalog and advising page information!

New at Lawrence in Ethnic Studies! Jesus Gregorio Smith, Tenure-track Professor in Ethnic Studies since September 1, 2017

Jesus Gregorio Smith is completing his PhD in Sociology from Texas A&M University where he currently serves as a Diversity Fellow. His expertise centers on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality and how they impact condom use and sexual risk activity. Professor Smith has published book chapters, encyclopedia entries and journal articles on topics ranging from gender representation online, to Latino LGBT issues and racism in the gay community.
For the 2017-18 academic year, Dr. Smith will teach the following:
• ETST 200: Race & Ethnicity in the U.S.  MWF 9:50- 11:00 (Fall 2017)
• ETST 370: US/Mexican Border Sociology TR 2:30-4:20 (Winter 2018)
• ETST 265: Black and Latin@ Sociology MWR 1:50-3:00 (Spring 2018)

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