May 25, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Ethnic Studies

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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. Ethnic Studies students learn comparative multiracial and multiethnic perspectives to examine race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, legal status, Indigeneity, and other dimensions of identity and lived experience. Born from student protests from the 1960s social movements, the field of 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 the arts, communication, global studies, history, politics, psychology, queer studies, sociology, theology and religious studies, and womens and gender studies.

Students critique dominant frameworks through an analysis of power and applied, community-based methods that center the perspectives and needs of historically marginalized communities Through coursework, research, and community engagement, Ethnic Studies students explore social constructions of identity, forms of oppression, and community building within the U.S. and beyond, with particular attention paid to African American and Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

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

Amissa Miller, PhD, Associate Professor

David Quijada, PhD, Associate Professor

Ethnic Studies Faculty Advisory Board

Nicole Brown, PhD, Sociology

Emily Klein, PhD, English

Scott Schönfeldt-Aultman, PhD, Communication

Michael Viola, PhD., Justice, Community & Leadership


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.


    Bachelor of ArtsMinor


      Ethnic Studies - Lower DivisionEthnic Studies - Upper Division

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