2023-2024 College Catalog

Race and Ethnic Studies, Minor

Program Coordinator:

Robert Seguin (English)


Robert Seguin (English)


Race and Ethnic Studies


This academic minor focuses on the comparative study of race and ethnicity both in the United States and worldwide. While a wide range of social and ethnic groups may be considered, emphasis is given to those populations that have historically borne the brunt of discrimination, exploitation, and enslavement in the process of Euro-American colonial and imperial expansion. The program’s comparative focus assumes that there are general processes that underlie the formation of ethnic identity and "race" relations in a wide range of social and national contexts. To this end, the minor provides access to a range of analytical tools with which to examine the histories, experiences, and cultures of diverse racial and ethnic groups and their relationships to each other and to those dominant social forms in which they are enmeshed.

Objectives of the Race and Ethnic Studies minor are:

  • provide students with an understanding of the socially constructed "nature" of race and ethnicity;
  • help students understand the debates about the biological basis of human diversity;
  • teach the histories, cultures and contributions of various racial and ethnic groups in ways that highlight the differences and similarities of ethnic experience and expression as well as the responses to racial/ethnic discrimination and its relationship to other historical inequalities such as class and gender;
  • help prepare students to participate in an increasingly diverse world and promote a more just society;
  • provide opportunities for students to experience racial and ethnic contexts that take them beyond their own cultural backgrounds.

The goal of this program is to prepare students for the shifting arrangements of life and work in this century. Course work in the minor also introduces students to the history of the conceptual debates about race and ethnicity, as well as to the range of analytical approaches currently influential within interdisciplinary scholarship on ethnicity and race relations.