Ethnic Studies

Let no one mistake us for the fruit of violence--but rather, that violence, having passed through the fruit, failed to spoil it.  --Award-winning poet and writer, Ocean Vuong, on Viet Nam war refugees

Scholarship applications for the Ethnic Studies Department Scholarship are due by Tuesday, November 15. Apply Today!

About Ethnic Studies

The Ethnic Studies Program at Saint Mary's College of California takes a critical multidisciplinary approach to addressing issues of power, privilege, and resistance through critical thinking, applied theory, activism, and social justice praxis. 

Ethnic Studies students engage dynamic comparative multiracial and multiethnic perspectives. The program employs an intersectional theoretical lens to examine race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, legal status, Indigenous nationhood, and other dimensions of identity and lived experience.

Through course work, research, and community engagement, Ethnic Studies students explore constructions of race, ethnicity, and community within the U.S. and beyond, with particular attention paid to African American, Asian American, Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander communities.

The Ethnic Studies approach to teaching and learning engages many academic fields, including: anthropology, the arts, communication, disability studies, economics, history, politics, psychology, queer studies, sociology, theology and religious studies, and women & gender studies. Ethnic Studies students examine issues of social justice, colonialism, discrimination, immigration, and globalization as well as the social, political, and cultural contributions historically marginalized groups have made to society.

Ethnic Studies embodies the College’s Lasallian commitment to social justice, respect for all persons, and the fostering of an inclusive community.


In Solidarity...

Dear Campus Community,

On behalf of the Ethnic Studies Program, I extend my solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the historical struggle for Black liberation in this country. I condemn the recent murders committed by police and white supremacists of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others not represented in the media. Now more than ever, we need educators and educational institutions to unequivocally stand in support of our Black, Brown, and students and employees of color as they struggle with the senseless, traumatic, and the disproportionate death in their communities from police violence on top of the disproportionate mortality of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. This moment is a part of the long history of oppression and dehumanization against Black, Afro-Latinx, Latinx, Indigenous, AAPI, LGBTQ+, and womyn by systemic power structures embedded in the ideology of white supremacy.

I condemn the perpetual surveillance, policing, and militarization of law enforcement throughout this country. I condemn the police violence on journalists. I condemn the police provocateurs who incite violence to de-legitimize and distract from peaceful protests, an inherent right in every democracy. Yet, I believe that symbolic gestures and statements are not enough. To that end, I urge us to support the following efforts:

  1. Convict police officers who engage in police brutality and murder, including the four officers charged in the murder of George Floyd.
  2. Defund law enforcement, especially for the purchase of military gear and training, such as training by the Israeli military.
  3. Remove ICE & CBP from assisting police against local protests.
  4. Reject the President’s call to send the military into our communities.
  5. Redirect funds from law enforcement to education, economic opportunities, housing and healthcare in historically oppressed communities.
  6. Make ethnic studies part of high school and college graduation requirements.

Another world is possible.

In strength and love,

Loan Dao, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director
Ethnic Studies Program
St. Mary’s College of California

AY 2020/2021