Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies: Major and Minor

The Department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies is a new department, approved by the Faculty Assembly in May 2023, that focuses on the study of race, racialization and racism across the globe. The faculty who founded CRES were inspired to propose this new department during the summer of 2020, amid rising anti-Asian hate and anti-immigrant sentiments, and in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests. Drawing on scholarly expertise about race and ethnicity across several disciplines, CRES offers a uniquely interdisciplinary plan of study that allows students to approach these topics from multiple perspectives. CRES courses provide a space for students to discuss, reflect upon, and analyze how different populations have been racialized, how structural racism operates, and why race continues to be a relevant yet controversial topic of study.

CRES will begin accepting majors and minors in the fall 2024 semester. Majors and minors will be able to customize their own curricular plan by choosing a track of courses focused on race and ethnicity from a wide variety of disciplines, including literature, history, sociology, anthropology, classics, religious studies, the arts and other departments at the college. Students will gain racial literacy and intercultural sensitivity on a wide variety of topics and will be encouraged to ask their own pressing questions on racial inequality, and research topics they are passionate about. CRES encourages students to seek classroom and co-curricular opportunities that provide relevant knowledge and experience for their future careers. Everyone is welcome to major or minor in CRES, no matter their background, because racial justice is a collective struggle that involves every member of society and calls us to be people for and with others. 

Program Highlights

All CRES courses have a significant focus on race, racism and racialization, but they cover an impressive array of topics, time periods and geographical areas, including (but not limited to): 

  • The role of science fiction in anti-racist movements 
  • The racial implications of border policies, migration patterns and travel bans
  • The role of religion in racialization projects and struggles for racial justice
  • How race operated in Antiquity
  • How slavery and the dispossession of Native American lands shape today’s patterns of wealth distribution 
  • Music as a form of resistance and activism for racialized groups 
  • The effect of racially coded policies on housing, business, and educational opportunities
  • How graphic novels became central to civil rights narratives 
  • Why health inequalities based on race persist to this day 
  • What the prison abolition movement proposes