Ethnic Studies

Director: Reiko Hillyer
Administrative Coordinator: Lisa Wilson

Ethnic identity is integral to the formation of group consciousness, as it produces common meaning through shared language, religious traditions, and family history. At the same time, colonialism, slavery, and genocide have been intertwined with the construction of racial and ethnic categories. To recognize both the positive and negative aspects of ethnic identity, as well as to heed the significance of transnational migrations in the creation of diasporic identities, the ethnic studies minor focuses on five themes: diaspora, colonialism, slavery, genocide, and community formation. Fostering an interdisciplinary approach that pulls together a variety of historical, social, and cultural perspectives, the curriculum explores the five themes and related topics as they intersect with gender, sexuality, class, and nation.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 24 semester credits distributed as follows:

  • 20 elective semester credits from the departmental listings below. No more than three courses can be applied to the minor from any one department. At least two of the elective courses must be at the 300 or 400 level. 

  • One of the following capstone projects. Note that junior or senior standing is required, and a capstone project must be preapproved by the ethnic studies director. 

    • An ethnic studies-focused thesis and/or honors project, or a major research-based assignment in a 300-/400-level course in any department or program.

    • ETHS 345 Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies Chair

    • A student-designed capstone project using the methods of ethnic studies, preapproved by the ethnic studies director, and supervised as an independent study (ETHS 499) or internship/practicum (ETHS 244) by ethnic studies faculty. This should only be pursued if none of the previously listed options are available.

12 semester credits must be exclusive to the minor.

Departmental Listings

Pre-Columbian Art
Theory in Practice (only when the topic is relevant)
Postcolonial Literature: Anglophone Africa, India, Caribbean
African American Literature
Ethnic Studies
Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies Chair
French Studies
Francophone Literature
Special Topics (only when the topic is relevant)
Hispanic Studies
Hispanic Literature in Translation (only when the topic is relevant)
Cultural Production of the Spanish-Speaking World
Topics in Transatlantic Culture
Topics in Latin American Culture
Topics in Hispanic Literatures (only when the topic is relevant)
Special Topics in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures (only when the topic is relevant)
United States: Revolution to Empire
The United States in the 20th Century
Colonial Latin American History
Modern Latin American History
Asian American History in the U.S.
Japan at War
The Emergence of Modern South Asia
Britain in the Age of Revolution, 1688 to 1815
20th-Century Germany
The Holocaust in Comparative Perspective
U.S. Women's History, 1600 to 1980
Histories of Indigenous Peoples in North America (Turtle Island)
Constructing the American Landscape
Race and Ethnicity in the United States
Borderlands: U.S.-Mexico Border, 16th Century to Present
African American History Since 1863
From Stumptown to Portlandia: The History of Portland
The British Empire
Crime and Punishment in the United States
Race and Nation in Latin America
Modern Mexico: Culture, Politics, and Economic Crisis
Modern Cuba
Immigration and Asylum Law
Reading Colloquium (only when topic is relevant)
History Seminar (only when topic is relevant)
International Affairs
African Politics
Latin American Politics
Southeast Asian Politics
Human Rights in International Relations
Perception and International Relations
Music and Social Justice
Overseas Programs
Moroccan Modernity
Political Science
Global Justice
Cross-Cultural Psychology
Rhetoric and Media Studies
Politics of Public Memory
Comparative Rhetoric
Argument and Social Justice
Media Across Cultures
Race, Rhetoric, and Resistance
Race and Ethnicity in Global Perspective
Myth, Ritual, and Symbol
Gender and Sexuality in Latin America
Social Change in Latin America
South Asian Cultures
Culture and Power in the Middle East
Religion, Society, and Modernity
Anthropology of Violence
Borderlands: Tibet and the Himalaya
Indigenous Peoples: Identities and Politics
Global Inequality
Decolonizing Anthropology
Political Economy of Black Labor
American Drama: Minoritarian Perspectives


Sepideh Azarshahri Bajracharya. Assistant professor with term of anthropology. Political culture of violence, communal politics, memory, narrative, urban ethnography, anthropology of space, South Asia. PhD 2008 Harvard University. BA 1999 Wesleyan University.

Andrew Bernstein. Professor of history. Japanese History. PhD 1999, MPhil 1996, MA 1994 Columbia University. BA 1990 Amherst College.

Kimberly Brodkin. Associate professor with term of gender studies and ethnic studies. Gender and politics in the U.S. PhD 2001 Rutgers University. BA 1992 University of Pennsylvania.

Maryann Bylander. Associate professor of sociology. Development and globalization, migration, rural livelihoods, microfinance/credit, environment, gender, qualitative and quantitative research methods. PhD 2012, MA 2006 University of Texas at Austin. BA 2003 Rice University.

Kim Cameron-Dominguez. Assistant professor of anthropology. Race/ethnicity, gender, affect theory, work and mobilities, urban/place-centered ethnography, discourse theory, U.S. and Latin America, Black diasporic populations. PhD 2018, MA 2006 University of California at Santa Cruz. BA 2004 Mount Holyoke College.

David A. Campion. Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. associate professor of history. British and South Asian History. PhD 2002, MA 1997 University of Virginia. BA 1991 Georgetown University.

Kundai V. Chirindo. Associate professor of rhetoric and media studies and department chair, director of general education. Rhetoric, culture, and hermeneutics; Africa in the public imaginary; rhetoric and postcolonial theory. PhD 2012 University of Kansas. MA 2008, BA 2004 Bethel University.

Rachel Cole. Associate professor of English. 19th-Century American literature. PhD 2005, MA 2000 Johns Hopkins University. BA 1994 Williams College.

Kristin Fujie. Associate professor of English and department chair. 19th- and 20th-Century American Literature, Modernism. PhD 2010, BA 1997 University of California at Berkeley.

Nancy O. Gallman. Assistant professor of history, pre-law advisor. 16th-19th Century North America, Spanish Borderlands, Legal Pluralism, Early Native and African American History, Comparative History of Empire. PhD 2017, MA 2012 University of California at Davis. JD 1994 New York University School of Law. BA 1989 Yale College.

Maureen Healy. Associate professor of history. European History, Women's and Gender History, War and Genocide. PhD 2000, MA 1994 University of Chicago. BA 1990 Tufts University.

Reiko Hillyer. Associate professor of history and department chair, director of the ethnic studies program. U.S. South, African American History, History of the Built Environment. PhD 2006, MPhil 2001, MA 1999 Columbia University. BA 1991 Yale University.

Matthew N. Johnston. Associate professor of art history. Modern Art History. PhD 2004, MA 1994 University of Chicago. BA 1992 Yale University.

Sidra Kamran. Assistant professor of sociology. Gender and Sexuality, Digital Culture, Social Inequality, Qualitative Methods, Sociology of Work, Global Social Theory. PhD 2022, MA 2015 The New School. BS 2011 University of Lahore.

Oren Kosansky. Associate professor of anthropology, director of the Middle East and North African studies program. Political economy of religious experience, postcolonial nationalism and diaspora, textual culture, Morocco. PhD 2003, MA 1994 University of Michigan. MAT 1990 Binghamton University. BA 1988 Brown University.

Diana J. Leonard. Associate professor of psychology and department chair. Identity, social judgments, and categorization. PhD 2012 University of California at Santa Barbara. BA 2004 Northwestern University.

Kabir Mansingh Heimsath. Assistant professor with term of anthropology, director of the Asian studies program. Visual anthropology, space/place theory, borderlands, tourism, cities and bodies. PhD 2011, MSc 2005 University of Oxford. MA 1996 University of Washington. BA 1992 University of California at Berkeley.

Kaley Mason. Associate professor of music. Music of South Asia, Francophone Popular Music, Creative Economies, Social Movements. PhD 2006 University of Alberta. BMus 1999 Queen's University at Kingston.

Aine Seitz McCarthy. Associate professor of economics. Applied microeconomics, development economics, labor and demography, economics of education. PhD 2016 University of Minnesota. BA 2006 Colby College.

Suhaila Meera. Assistant professor of theatre. Global-Majority Theatre History and Theory, Dramaturgy, Performance Studies, Critical Refugee Studies, Childhood, Affect, Representation. 2023 Stanford University. 2013 BA Cornell University.

Dawn Odell. Professor of art history. Early Modern East Asian and European Art History. PhD 2003 University of Chicago. MA 1992 Harvard University. BA 1986 Carleton College.

Bruce M. Podobnik. Associate professor of sociology. Environmental sociology, social theory, mixed methods, the sociocultural dimensions of activism, the social roots of happiness. PhD 2000, MA 1994 Johns Hopkins University. BA 1991 University of California at Santa Cruz.

Magalí Rabasa. Associate professor of Hispanic studies. Latin American Literature and Culture, Social Movements and Resistance. PhD 2014 University of California at Davis. BA 2004 University of Oregon.

G. Mitchell Reyes. Professor of rhetoric and media studies. Rhetoric, public memory, public discourse, rhetoric of science. PhD 2004, MA 2000 Pennsylvania State University. BS 1997 Willamette University.

Juan Carlos Toledano Redondo. Professor of Hispanic studies, director of the Latin American studies program. Hispanic Studies, 19th- and 20th-Century Spanish American Literature, Hispanic-Caribbean Literature. PhD 2002 University of Miami. BA 1996 Universidad de Granada.

Pauls Toutonghi. Professor of English. Fiction, Expository Writing, Creative Writing. PhD 2006, MA 2002 Cornell University. BA 1999 Middlebury College.

Freddy O. Vilches. Associate professor of Hispanic studies. Hispanic Studies, Contemporary Spanish American Literature, Poetry and Song, Latin American Cultural Studies. Latin American Music Ensemble, Charango. PhD 2006, MA 1993, BA 1991 University of Oregon.

Sarah D. Warren. Associate professor of sociology and department chair. Race and ethnicity, social movements, nations and nationalism, gender, Latin America. PhD 2010 University of Wisconsin at Madison. MA 2004 University of Texas at Austin. BA 2001 University of Arizona.

Elliott Young. Professor of history. Latin American and U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History. PhD 1997, MA 1993 University of Texas at Austin. BA 1989 Princeton University.

Rishona Zimring. Professor of English, director of the gender studies program. Modern British Literature, Postcolonial Literature. PhD 1993, BA 1985 Yale University.


Print This Course

ETHS 200 Introduction to Ethnic Studies

Content: Introduction to the academic field of ethnic studies. Students will grapple with classic and contemporary literature in the field to develop the tools for approaching race and ethnicity as categories of analysis. Exploration of the social production of conceptions of racial and ethnic difference rather than discussion of specific ethnic and racial groups. Examination of the origins, uses, and mutations of ideologies of race and ethnicity; analysis of how these ideologies intersect with empire and nationalism, sexuality and gender, capitalism and labor relations, and scientific knowledge. How methods from different disciplines contribute to an understanding of ethnic studies.
Prerequisites: None.
Usually offered: Annually.
Semester credits: 4.

Print This Course

ETHS 244 Practicum

Content: Development of an extensive project relating to ethnic studies issues in an organizational setting. Placement in community-based social and educational agencies concerned with problems related to race and ethnicity, such as employment discrimination, immigration rights, civil and voting rights, equal access to education, housing, law, public policy, and political organization. May be repeated for credit.
Prerequisites: One ethnic studies course.
Restrictions: Declared ethnic studies minor. Sophomore standing and consent of program director and faculty sponsor required.
Usually offered: Annually, fall and spring semester.
Semester credits: 1-4.

Print This Course

ETHS 250 Education, Culture, and Citizenship

Content: Connecting education and cultural competence theory to the practice of civic leadership. Exploration of the intersection of these concepts through the creation of a community-based research project that meets the needs of a community or community organization in the Portland metro area. Includes readings and discussion. Credit/no credit.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Annually, fall and spring semester.
Semester credits: 2.

Print This Course

ETHS 345 Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies Chair

Content: Student chairs perform substantive analytic work related to this interdisciplinary field of study, conducting extensive research to explore speakers, develop panels, identify important issues, and develop the program of events. Working closely with each other, the planning committee, and the faculty director, chairs also develop leadership and professional responsibilities. Preference given to minors in ethnic studies, but students with relevant coursework or other experience will be considered.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Junior standing. Requires permission of instructor after completion of application and interview.
Usually offered: Annually, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

Print This Course

ETHS 400 Topics in Race and Ethnic Studies

Content: Reading and critical analysis of major interpretive works. Organized around themes or analytical problems; comparative study of works in ethnic studies exemplifying different points of view, methodologies, subject matter. Focus varies depending on instructor's teaching and research area.
Prerequisites: SOAN 225 or HIST 240 recommended.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Annually, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

Print This Course

ETHS 499 Independent Study

Content: Opportunities for well-prepared student to design and pursue a substantive course of independent learning on an advanced level. Details determined by the student and the supervising instructor. May be repeated for credit.
Prerequisites: SOAN 225 or HIST 240.
Restrictions: Declared ethnic studies minor. Sophomore standing and consent of program director and faculty sponsor required.
Usually offered: Annually, fall and spring semester.
Semester credits: 2-4.