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Deparment 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.

CSUSB Ethnic Studies Response to COVID-19 and Anti-Asian and Anti-Asian American Bigotry and Harassment

Dear CSUSB Campus Community,

The current context of COVID-19 has brought on unprecedented challenges for our CSUSB community. Many of our lives have been altered by sudden unemployment, limited access to food, supplies, and personal protective equipment, dangerous conditions for our essential workers, and challenges stemming from our immigration, housing, and healthcare policies. For many of us at CSUSB, these conditions are not new, but rather made worse because of COVID-19.

While it is important that we prioritize our collective health and safety during this time, we, as Ethnic Studies faculty, also find it important to respond to the recent surge of attacks directed at our Asian and Asian American communities in the midst of this pandemic. Through discriminatory rhetoric being circulated at the local, state, and national levels, COVID-19 has become associated with certain regions of the world resulting in an increase in anti-Asian and anti-Asian American bigotry in the form of exclusionary political discourse, racist comments, and even hate crimes. We are a campus that is home to our thriving Asian American communities as well our international Asian students who contribute to our campus culture in innumerable ways. Plainly, xenophobia has no place at CSUSB (or anywhere else for that matter). 

There is a long history of racist stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans in this country. One does not have to dig deep to encounter examples of this bigotry that cast Asian Americans as the “Yellow Peril.” For example, toward the end of the 19th century in San Francisco, Chinese Americans were depicted as unsanitary, prone to sickness, and perpetually foreign. This racialization contributed to their segregation and mistreatment and eventually became codified in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Exclusionary rhetoric continued to take form with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII and we see it again with the racialization of South Asian Americans as a “terrorist threat.” We can see how these racializing discourses take form in the context of COVID-19 that might look “new,” yet are linked to global practices of exclusion that have largely targeted communities of color historically and into the contemporary moment.

As Ethnic Studies faculty we are deeply dedicated to the study of race and racism as well as participating in ways to challenge and dismantle systems of oppression. We urge all of us to collectively condemn any xenophobic rhetoric that fuels racism against our communities. Universities and organizations have joined together to highlight these incidents of bigotry so that we can track these attacks and better protect each other. For example, a professor at San Francisco State University has launched a website where people can report these incidents. Others have put together a collection of essays, artwork, and resources for communities of color as they navigate not only the pandemic but the racist climate that it has produced. Also, check out this open source list of resources, which, among many things, also offers a reading list to remind us of the ways our past is inextricable from the present.

We hope to find strength in our powerful stories and histories of resistance, self-care, and building a better world that is inclusive and radiant. In the words of Grace Lee Boggs, an Asian American activist who committed her life to radical politics and solidarity movements, “the only way to survive is by taking care of one another, by recreating our relationships to one another.” Let’s highlight our relationships and our stories, and during this period of remote learning, let’s continue to condemn racism in all of its individual, collective, global, and systemic forms.


CSUSB Ethnic Studies Faculty

Shaida Akbarian, Visiting Professor of Ethnic Studies -

Aaron Brown, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies -

Diana Johnson, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and History -

Hareem Khan, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and Anthropology -

Tom Long, Interim Chair of Ethnic Studies and Professor of History -


List of COVID-19 Resources for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Communities: