The Major

Critical Ethnic Studies interrogates the production of knowledge.  The primary emphasis of work in this Major is to theorize from multiple, and simultaneous, narratives of silenced peoples and epistemologies.  Critical Ethnic Studies untangles and analyzes the colonial and racial projects that attempt to govern relationships among peoples and lands.

Critical Ethnic Studies is also a process of engagement, and shapes the ability to engage content in a variety of fields of study. The field seeks a change in the logic governing the academy, and will not accept an uncomplicated grafting of content onto a universal idea. This change is realized through the relentless pursuit of other ways to engage, and through on-going discussions of additional means of engagement. These processes invert, rethink, and displace universalities. Central to the field is a refusal to consume the other. Critical Ethnic Studies scholars must go beyond themselves, and devise conversations that move beyond voyeurism and consumption.

Faculty: Espelencia Baptiste, Amelia Katanski, Shanna Salinas, and Babli Sinha

Requirements for the Major

Eight units are required.

Required Courses

CES 200: Argument with the Given (key concepts)
CES 240: Language: The Colonial and Imperial Difference
CES 260: Insurgency, Solidarity and Coloniality of Power
CES 490: CES Senior Colloquium

Four Electives chosen from Critical Ethnic Studies Elective List:  Courses that fit into the major will be designated CES courses under course type.  The elective lists will continue to develop.  Current electives are listed below, by department.

ANSO 270: Communities and Schools
ANSO 357: Immigrants and Exiles
ANSO 420: Border Epistemologies

ENGL 150: RTW*: Beyond Realism: Imperial Romance
ENGL 155: RTW*: Identities
ENGL 156: RTW: Social Justice
ENGL 217: World Indigenous Literatures: The People and the Land
ENGL 220: African American Literature
ENGL 221: African Literatures
ENGL 222: American Indian Literatures
ENGL 230: US Ethnic Literature
ENGL 260: Studies in Film: African Film
ENGL 310: Constructing Blackness
ENGL 318: Post-Colonial Literature
ENGL 323: Chicana/o Literature
ENGL 331: East Asian Diasporic Literatures
ENGL 435: Advanced Literary Studies: American Indian Literature and the Law

GERM 430: Contemporary German Minority Cultures
GERM 435: Minority Cultures in Germany

POLS 229: Race, Law, & U.S. Politics

RELG 120: U.S. Religious History I
RELG 121: U.S. Religious History II
RELG 122: Religions of Latin America (and the Caribbean)
RELG 123: Catholics in the Americas
RELG 221: Black Religious Experience in the Americas

WGS 390: Feminist and Queer Inquiry

*Courses taught as part of the RTW series in the English Department must be approved of by CES Director. Only those RTW courses taught by Drs. Salinas and Sinha will be approved.

Courses that fit into the major will be designated CES courses under course type. The elective lists will continue to develop. For a list of current electives please consult the Critical Ethnic Studies website.

Courses taken at other U.S. colleges and universities, or on Study Abroad, may count for an elective course. We usually only accept one transfer creidit toward the major.  Please speak with the Director of the program for final approval and clarification.


CES 200 Argument with the Given (key concepts)

CES 200 is a survey course; consequently a wide breadth of topics (some in greater depth than others) will be covered. Through an interdisciplinary process, the primary consists of developing a sophisticated understanding of the central themes, and key concepts, in the field of Critical Ethnic Studies. Students will pursue that understanding via an interdisciplinary process. The secondary goal will be to acquire and build the skills necessary to pursue further learning in Critical Ethnic Studies; these include identifying your own research agenda (obsessions and desires), stocking your analytical tool kit (bibliographic skills, critical thinking, and the identification of knowledge demands), and lighting your intellectual fire (interest in the field).

CES 240 Language: The Colonial and Imperial Difference

CES 240 is an interdisciplinary survey course designed to introduce the student to the study of language and power. The primary objective in this class will be to assert linguistic rights and to interrogate the politics of language use, and language thought, in light of colonization, imperialism and the transit of empire. We will consider the geo- political ideas and practices of literacy, language revitalization, translation and identity. These explorations will serve as a means to counter the monologism, monoculture, and monolingualism often invoked in nationalist projects. These ideas are grounded in the narratives and vocabularies particular to racial and colonial projects. Consequently, each student will be asked to develop their own creative understanding (linguistically speaking) of the field (language and the meta-linguistics of power). Accomplishing this will require fluency and immersion in a practice of meta-linguistics that explores the inter-relationship between the language of the academy and the language of social- cultural community relevance. Critical Ethnic Studies requires scholarship capable of countering the false binary between activism and intellectualism—that process is grounded in language.

CES 260 Insurgency, Solidarity and Coloniality of Power

CES 260 is an interdisciplinary survey course designed to engage students in the study of power. The primary focus will be on instances of continuity and insurgency, between and among world indigenous, national and transnational subjects. Embedded in this practice will be the assertion of epistemic rights, and simultaneous world views, and the varied and landed responses made to world systems of racialization and colonization. We will engage history and narrative through the power of storytelling and the critical fictions of conquest and enslavement. Most important, we will ask: what alternatives to modernity/coloniality can we conceive of through practices of insurgency and solidarity? How can we restore relations that have been severed, or disfigured, by these same world systems, as well as our wide-ranging responses to them?

CES 490 Senior Colloquium

The Critical Ethnic Studies Senior Colloquium, 1-unit course collaboratively shaped by the CES faculty and senior majors. The colloquium will focus on the planning and executing of an intellectual social-political project that contributes to the CES program, to the larger community, and to the field of Critical Ethnic Studies. The Critical Ethnic Studies Senior cohort will decide the form and content project, in collaboration and consultation with CES faculty, who will provide leadership and organizational support. Infused in the project and the work of the course are professional development, collaborative scholarly work, and learning community development.