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At Oregon State University, Ethnic Studies is the interdisciplinary and comparative study of ethnicity, Indigeneity, race, and racism in the United States and globally. The field was born out of student and community-led social movements and cultural/political struggles of the 1960s. As Ethnic Studies scholars, our research and teaching provide a critical framework for historical comparative understandings of particular racialized and Indigenous groups as well as the relationships among them. We do so through an analysis of the intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality, religion, immigration status and other systems of difference and power -- past and present. As a field of study, we analyze the shifting nature of racisms and the histories of resistance locally, nationally, and transnationally.
Thinking about jobs? No problem. Ethnic Studies graduates find great and meaningful careers in politics, education, health care, ecology, arts, science, writing, journalism, law, business, and much more. And that is just the beginning. Come find out more! See MAIS alum Amanda Ekabutr Promotion to UMass Director of Student-Athlete Development/Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
While the nation as a whole reckons with police violence targeting Black communities and systemic racism, we are listening to our students calling for racial justice and an anti-racist OSU.
We submitted this call to incoming President Alexander on July 22, 2020. As the only unit specifically focused on the systematic study of race and racism, and further, as the only academic unit on campus constituted almost entirely by Indigenous faculty and faculty of color, the Ethnic Studies department and faculty should be visible and at the forefront of the University’s stated commitment to actions that advance racial justice on our campus and society.
Thus, in light of our mutual commitment to continued anti-racist action, and in support of furthering Ethnic Studies’ efforts for OSU, we submit the following calls for action.
12 Calls for Action
Our calls for infrastructural support reflect the continued need to make ALL current, incoming, and potential students aware of Ethnic Studies. These simple steps will actively promote our field as a valuable academic major or minor, and further highlight the value of such learning for all students at OSU and beyond. A dedicated plan of action for marketing, recruiting, funding, and supporting this overlooked asset of OSU needs to be implemented.
The calls for action in teaching and research represent the minimum support needed to enhance the work already being done in our classrooms, scholarship, and our communities. The research lab allows us to more effectively include students in research and collaborate with other university and community partners. The seminar bolsters the skills and collaborative capacity for faculty doing this crucial work every day. The faculty positions and residence program generate greater and more meaningful impact in key areas that need reinforcement. Each action item here allows the university to highlight for the broader community our genuine level of commitment to addressing anti-racism through our academic pursuits.
Our calls for support in public service offer a way to have concrete and immense impact in the broader community. The state has already mandated, for example, that K-12 implement Ethnic Studies and Native American Studies into their curriculum. We are in a prime position to provide guidance and training for this requirement and impact teachers and students across the state for generations. OSU must be a leader within this opportunity.
Working Together, to Lead
We have developed plans to enhance and extend the impact of our work among OSU students and the communities we serve. This plan is informed by our longstanding work, and thoughtful reflection on the obstacles we face. The university can become, with just a few small commitments, a leader in the broader social project of racial justice and social equality.
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