Race and Ethnic Studies

Jennifer Schultz, Old Main 130C


(Offered within the Department of Race, Ethnic, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Established at St. Olaf College in 1969, the Race and Ethnic Studies Program (abbreviated RACE) represents a multigenerational faculty and student commitment to the interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity. Our program centers the concerns and experiences of people of color and proceeds from the recognition that race and ethnicity have been and continue to be crucial components within interlocking systems of oppression, as well as powerful sites of intersectional resistance. In the United States, our work focuses on the social, cultural, and historical contributions and lived situations of African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, and Middle Eastern Americans. Migration — historical and contemporary, voluntary and involuntary — is an experience that unites many of these communities. Our program therefore encompasses coursework involving the cultures and nations outside of the U.S. from which such peoples are drawn; it can also include the study of racial and ethnic minorities in other nations. Globalization has brought greater urgency to recognizing that the economic, social, and political forces to which people of color are subjected are not limited to those that originate within the nations in which they reside. Thus we also attend to transnational coalitions, experiences, and phenomena relevant to people of color in the United States and beyond.

Overview of the Major

The race and ethnic studies major includes RACE 121, RACE 396, and six other courses from at least three different departments. RACE 396 enables students to fulfill their capstone project requirement in a seminar setting during their senior year. One of the six courses may be an independent study or research, and one may be an internship approved by the program director. Study abroad or away is encouraged.

Unlike many majors which prescribe sequences of courses, race and ethnic studies allows students considerable freedom in choosing classes that fulfill their interests. Many race and ethnic studies majors are double majors, because race and ethnic studies courses complement many majors in the humanities, interdisciplinary studies, social and natural sciences, and the fine arts.

Race and ethnic studies also offers a concentration consisting of RACE 121 and four other courses from at least two different departments or programs.

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Major

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Concentration