The Ethnic Studies Program at Saint Mary’s College of California takes a critical multidisciplinary approach to addressing issues of power, resistance, and social justice through critical analysis, applied theory, participatory action research, and community-based activism.
Ethnic Studies students learn comparative multiracial and multiethnic perspectives to examine race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, legal status, Indigenous nationhood, and other dimensions of identity and lived experience. Students critique dominant frameworks through an analysis of power and apply theories to relevant contemporary issues in historically marginalized communities.
Through coursework, research, and community engagement, Ethnic Studies students explore constructions of race, ethnicity, and community within the U.S. and beyond, with particular attention paid to African American, Asian American, Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander communities.
Ethnic Studies believes in the holistic understanding of the individual and their environment in order to fully analyze social problems and enact change. The Ethnic Studies approach to teaching and learning incorporates many academic fields, including anthropology, the arts, communication, economics, history, politics, psychology, queer studies, sociology, theology and religious studies, and women & gender studies.
Ethnic Studies embodies the College’s Lasallian commitment to social justice, respect for all persons, and the fostering of an inclusive community.
Loan Thi Dao, PhD, Associate Professor, Director
David Quijada, PhD, Associate Professor
Ethnic Studies Faculty Advisory Board
Nicole Brown, PhD, Sociology
Ynez Hirst, PhD, Sociology
Emily Klein, PhD, English
Amissa Miller, PhD, Performing Arts
Scott Schönfeldt-Aultman, PhD, Communication
Michael Viola, PhD., Justice, Community & Leadership
Ethnic Studies Community Advisory Board
Rebecca Aguiano, PhD, Counseling Psychology
Cynthia Martinez, PhD, Counseling Psychology
Legacy Lee, MA, Intercultural Center
Alvaro Ramirez, PhD, World Languages and Cultures
The educational goals of the Ethnic Studies Program for majors and minors include:
- EXPLORING the cultural and social histories of African American, Latino, Native American and Asian American/ Pacific Islander ethnic groups.
- INTEGRATING Catholic social justice teaching, the Lasallian core values, and service based learning in service of these historically underrepresented groups.
- CRITICALLY EXAMINING United States racial and ethnic diversities and their interrelatedness to other international socio-historic systems.
Upon completion of the Ethnic Studies major, students will be able to:
- DESCRIBE the history and social theories relevant to a critical understanding of African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American/Pacific Islander ethnic groups;
- EMPLOY theoretical and analytical frameworks to understand an increasingly complex, multicultural and interdependent world;
- IDENTIFY the social, historical, economic, and religious factors that have affected and continue to affect ethnic groups in the U.S.;
- EXHIBIT critical thinking about issues of social injustice and the common good, and strategies for working towards social justice.
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsMinor
CoursesEthnic Studies - Lower DivisionEthnic Studies - Upper Division