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Department of Ethnic Studies

The Department of Ethnic Studies is pleased to share that the B.A. in Ethnic Studies has launched, starting Fall 2022 and we look forward to welcoming our first cohort of Ethnic Studies majors.

We also encourage you to peruse the “Student Resources” tab on our website.

Vision for Ethnic Studies

The Department of Ethnic Studies is committed to the teaching of Ethnic Studies from historical, interdisciplinary, intersectional, theoretical and relational perspectives. Our faculty members offer courses on and conduct research in the political and intellectual cultures of communities of color in the United States and within transnational contexts. In our teaching and research, we work to uphold pedagogies and methodologies that reflect and respect the myriad communities that our student body represents. Moreover, we see community engagement to be revolutionary grounding for Ethnic Studies praxis. Nurturing and building relationships within and across communities of color creates radical openings for understanding the nature of systemic violence while centering the resistance that is at the core of community and Indigenous knowledges and activism. Students and faculty in our program are encouraged to engage ethically with communities; students will be provided with support offered through courses focused on community engagement, faculty mentoring and career advising. 

We recognize the 1968-1969 struggles of the Black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front (a coalition of organizations led by students of color) at San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley, and of revolutionary youth and student movements across the world as foundational to our being. We affirm the long-standing and ongoing intellectual and political activism of Black, Native/American Indian/Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander and Chicanx/Latinx scholars, artists and activists in our endeavors to build with, struggle alongside and learn from our students, our local communities of color and each other. We understand that communities of color are differently affected and produced by histories of empire, colonialism and slavery and within the afterlives of such violences. Centering these historical roots and embodied knowledges, we remain committed to understanding the ever-evolving field as being relational, feminist, queer and collective at its core.

We unequivocally support and affirm the resistance, knowledge, joy and power of Black peoples. We recognize that there is an unpaid and unpayable debt to Black communities and their unwavering commitment to imagining a world that exceeds the boundaries of the one in which we presently live. All of us pledge to research, teach and serve from a commitment to supporting Black liberation struggles and challenging the antiblackness which undergirds the ongoing violence against Black peoples. 

We unequivocally support and affirm the resistance, knowledge, joy and power of Native/American Indian/Indigenous peoples. We recognize that CSUSB sits on the territory and ancestral land of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (Yuhaaviatam) and that we continue to benefit from the genocidal project of settler colonialism. All of us pledge to research, teach and serve from a commitment to decolonization and supporting Native/American Indian/Indigenous sovereignties and stewardship.

November 7, 2023

Department of Ethnic Studies Statement on Gaza, Palestine, and the Struggle for Liberation

As faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, San Bernardino, we write to convey our collective rage, grief, and sadness over the loss of civilian life across the past four weeks in Palestine and Israel. We also write to make clear that calls for the return to the status quo ante betray an ignorance of history and context. The temporary absence of headline-grabbing violence must not be conflated with peace, much less justice.

We know the root cause of these losses is the Israeli settler colonial state and its illegal occupation of Palestine and Palestinians since its establishment in 1948. In this context, we unequivocally stand for justice and the liberation of the Palestinian people. We cannot and must not forget that Ethnic Studies grew out of its commitment to anti-racism and anti-colonialism, and as educators in the field, we must strongly speak out against Zionist imperialism that is woven into the fabric of the Israeli nation-state.

Ethnic Studies students know that our oppressions are interlinked. The violence of global racial capitalism in the United States is directly tied to the violences of the Israeli apartheid state. Enabled by the US government, the state of Israel has amassed technological and economic resources resulting in one of the strongest militaries in the world, which trains many police units in the US that then adopt the practices and methodologies of Israel to embolden the prison industrial complex within and at our borders. The militarization of the Israeli government has allowed it to also confiscate tens of thousands of acres of land from the Palestinian people while pushing 2.3 million Palestinians to live in the 140 square-mile strip of Gaza, which has been under a military blockade since 2007. The occupied region of Gaza lacks vital resources including electricity, proper sanitation infrastructures, access to clean and adequate water, and even garbage collection. To further disenfranchise Palestinians, the state of Israel has also created a system of complex registration, citizenship denial, and severe restriction of movement within the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank. These conditions meet the globally recognized definition of apartheid and, therefore, we must call it what it is. Otherwise, we fail to contextualize this most recent period of violence enacted by the Israeli military, in which as of the writing of this statement over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed of which over 4,000 are children and over 25,000 Palestinians have been injured. The scale is difficult to fathom and numbers obfuscate the reality that in just about one month, over 10,000 Palestinians have had their dreams eviscerated as part of a systematized project of displacement that began over 100 years ago. The loss of those dreams is a loss we all must bear.

The historical, cultural, and political context of Israel’s expulsion and oppression of Palestinians is crucial in understanding what led to this moment - a moment that calls upon all of us to educate ourselves, act on what we learn, and join the awe-inspiring multiracial and multiethnic movement work pushing for Palestinian self-determination.This movement work is tethered to the activism that gave rise to the first College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University in 1969. The young activists also included Arab Americans who, following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, demanded alongside others that the field include transnational struggles in its vision. Their politicization in solidarity with the politicization of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latinx, and other students of color has shaped and continues to shape the public discourse around Palestine. We see the beautiful results of this labor in recent weeks with the mass protests that

have filled the streets of cities around the world, a stark and visual counter to the negligent rhetoric of mainstream media outlets that attempt, but do not succeed, in erasing and silencing this movement.

This statement acknowledges the devastation of the past weeks yet is grounded in hope: hope for a world that is compassionate to the struggles of all oppressed people. We uplift the words of all the activists, organizers, thinkers, and students who pave the way for us to imagine a liberated Palestine. In the words of renowned Black feminist and political activist Angela Davis,“And so if we say abolish the prison-industrial complex, as we do, we should also say abolish apartheid, and end the occupation of Palestine!” In this spirit, we strongly and continually condemn the violence against the Palestinian people and the US government’s relentless support for the state of Israel. We call upon the CSU Chancellor's office, the Board of Trustees, and CSU administration as a whole to denounce these horrific actions, call for an immediate ceasefire of Gaza, and demand the US government stop funding genocide in Palestine. We support the actions and needs of Palestinian student and activist groups who bravely fight for a just world everyday despite the retaliations they face by their universities and employers. These students know that our freedom is dependent on the freedom of all oppressed people, which necessitates a free Palestine now and a free Palestine always.

We support the statement made by the CSUSB Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds, and we would like to share the All Out for Palestine digital toolkit created by the Palestinian Feminist Collective. Knowledge is power.