UCR Homepage CHASS Homepage

Greetings from the Chair

As Department Chair, it is my pleasure to introduce you to one of the most politically dynamic, and intellectually creative departments in the University of California system.  Beginning in 2009-2010, the inaugural year of the Ethnic Studies Ph.D. program, we have been committed to aggressively building this program so that it produces the highest quality scholars, and supports students whose work is guided by the deepest possible commitment to critical knowledge production and social transformation. Crucially, the initiation of our graduate program announced our significance as a space of rigorous, socially engaged intellectual work within the university setting.

The scholarly practices of Ethnic Studies are both practical and theoretical, addressing questions of power, social movement, freedom, liberation, community, culture, and history. These commitments reflect in the courses we teach, the books and essays we write, the events we organize, and the lectures, public interviews, and speeches we give.  (You will find links to and direct downloads of some of our work on this website.)

Our academic and scholarly distinction lies in our critical, transformative approach to knowledge and teaching. We neither imitate nor replicate the paradigms and curricula of traditional academic departments. The political-intellectual work of Ethnic Studies is guided by deep engagements with the living histories of people’s struggles to survive and transform the legacies of racial colonialism, land conquest, hemispheric chattel slavery, genocide, imperial war, and other forms of institutionalized social and cultural violence.

In these pages you will find a description of who we are, how we think, and what we do. You can learn about our undergraduate majors and our new Ph.D. program, which represent some of the most innovative, socially engaged curricula in this or any university. We highlight a few of our recently graduated Ethnic Studies students, each of whom is making a significant impact in their areas of work and study, from grass roots activism to graduate and professional school. Finally, this website offers a sense of how our work reflects and carries forward a long history of collective struggles for freedom, respect, community, and intellectual self-determination.

An extended description of our vision of Ethnic Studies appears below, and a full outline of course offerings and requirements for our undergraduate and graduate programs is included in other sections of this website. I hope those of you who are current or aspiring graduate and undergraduate students will consider pursuing a degree in Ethnic Studies, whether an undergraduate major or Ph.D. I also invite our colleagues from other departments, schools, colleges, and universities to contact us with proposals for exchanging ideas and developing collaborative projects.

We are an inherently dynamic department:  students, faculty, and staff are constantly involved in shaping and re-shaping the meaning and practice of Ethnic Studies. We hope you will participate in this exciting and necessary work.

Dylan Rodríguez
Professor and former-Chair
Department of Ethnic Studies
University of California, Riverside
Email: dylan.rodriguez@ucr.edu