Program of Study
The B.A. program in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies offers an interdisciplinary curriculum through which students can examine the histories, languages, and cultures of the racial and ethnic groups in and of themselves, in relationship to each other, and, particularly, in structural contexts of power. Focusing on genocide, slavery, conquest, confinement, immigration, and the diaspora of peoples around the globe, Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies examines the material, artistic, and literary expressions of peoples who originated in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, who moved voluntarily or were forcefully bound over to the Americas, and here evolved stigmatized identities, which were tied to the cultures and histories of their natal lands in complicated ways.
A student who obtains a B.A. in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies will be well prepared for admission to graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences, to professional schools in law, medicine, public health, social work, business, or international affairs, and to careers in education, journalism, politics, creative writing, and the nonprofit sector. A degree in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies offers training designed to impart fundamental skills in critical thinking, comparative analysis, social theory, research methods, and written expression.
This major/minor is also available to students interested in the study of Africa in a comparative framework.
Students are encouraged to meet the general education requirement in the humanities and/or social sciences before declaring their major. Students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss a plan of study as soon as they declare their major (no later than the end of Spring Quarter of their third year. Students are also encouraged to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to chart their progression through their course of study.
The major requires 11-12 courses, depending on whether the student counts two or three civilization studies courses chosen from those listed below toward the general education requirement. Students who use all three courses in an approved civilization sequence toward their general education requirement will have an 11-course major and students who use the third quarter of the civilization sequence in the major will have a 12-course major. The major also requires eight elective courses, a B.A. Colloquium on Theory and Methods in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, and a B.A. essay.
Students have two ways to fulfill the elective course requirements for the major:
Option 1 allows students to focus four courses on one specific area of specialization – Africa Past and Present, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinas/os, Native Americans – and a second four course cluster drawn from a different area or four comparative courses. For example, one may choose to take four courses focused on African Americans, and choose the second four courses exclusively on Asian Americans, or four courses in the Comparative category.
Option 2 is designed for students who wish to explore Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies primarily through a disciplinary (e.g., Anthropology, English, History) or interdisciplinary program focus (e.g., Gender Studies, Latin American Studies), or who wish to graduate with a double major in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. Accordingly, one four-course cluster of electives must be focused on one area (Africa Past and Present, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinas/os, Native Americans). A second cluster of four courses should fall within a specific discipline or interdisciplinary area.
The requirements for Options 1 and 2 are virtually identical: 1-2 civilization studies courses, eight electives, a B.A. Colloquium, and a B.A. essay.
During one’s final year in the program, and after students have completed most of the elective requirements for the major, they must enroll in the B.A. Colloquium on Theory and Methods in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, which is meant to help synthesize the vast knowledge they have gained and to prepare them to write a B.A. essay.
Research Project or Essay
A substantial essay or project is to be completed in the student’s fourth year under the supervision of a Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies adviser, who is a member of the program’s core faculty. Students must choose an essay adviser and submit a formal B.A. proposal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the end of their third year of study. B.A. essays are due on May 1 of their fourth year or by fifth week of their quarter of graduation.
This program may accept a B.A. paper or project used to satisfy the same requirement in another major if certain conditions are met and with the required consent of both program chairs. Students should also consult with the chairs by the earliest B.A. proposal deadline, or if one program fails to publish a deadline, by the end of their third year. A consent form, to be signed by both chairs, is available from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student’s year of graduation.
Summary of Proposed Requirements for Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
Colonizations I-II-III, African Civilizations: Colonialism, Migration, Diaspora I-II-III, Introduction to Latin American Civilization I-II-III, Latin American Civilization in Oaxaca I-II-III, Introduction to African Civilization I-II & Colonizations III, Introduction to the Civilizations of South Asia I-II, Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia I-II-III-IV, Jewish History and Society I-II-III
- 1-2 Colonizations courses or courses from civilization sequences listed above if the first two quarters courses are taken to fulfill the general education requirement; two courses in the above sequences if another civilizations sequence is taken
- 4 courses in one specific area of specialization (Africa Past and Present, African American, Latina/o, Asian American, or Native American)
- 4 courses in a second area of specialization or 4 comparative courses; students completing a second major may choose 4 courses within a single discipline or interdisciplinary field (e.g. history, gender studies, sociology, political science) that focus on race and ethnic issues
- 1 B.A Colloquium (CRES 27600)
- 1 B.A. Essay (CRES 29900)
All courses must be taken for a quality grade unless a course only offers a P/F grading option.
The B.A. with honors is awarded to all students who meet the following requirements: a GPA of at least 3.25 overall and 3.5 in the major, and a grade of A- or above on the B.A. essay.
Each student must choose an adviser who is a member of the Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies core faculty listed below by the time the B.A. essay proposal is turned in at the end of the third year. Students are expected to have consulted with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to identify a faculty adviser and to design their program of study by the beginning of their third year (after the declaration of the major). Students may continue to seek advice from both the Director of Undergraduate Studies and their faculty advisor while completing their programs of study.