Department website: https://www.uwplatt.edu/department/ethnic-studies
Program Coordinator: Dong Isbister
Office: 255 Gardner Hall
About the Ethnic Studies Program and Minor
The Ethnic Studies Program is dedicated to awakening the minds and spirits of students to the issues of race and ethnicity. It engages students in the social realities and moral challenges of racism in the United States and around the world. Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary discipline that forges strong scholarly and intellectual connections between History, Political Economy, Anthropology, and the related fields of Native American, African-American, Chicano/a, Asian-American, and Women and Gender Studies. This program provides students with an analysis of the historical narratives of marginalized groups whose lived experiences are often neglected.
Ethnic Studies was created out of student activism as students of color advocated for courses that reflected their lived experiences. The discipline changed academia by challenging the Eurocentric framing of most programs, giving voice to communities underrepresented in education. Because of student involvement in its formation, Ethnic Studies is dedicated to the development of critical thinking skills in students and encouraging political and social activism.
The Ethnic Studies Program oversees the UW-Platteville curriculum requirement that every student in a degree program complete a 3 credit course on issues of race and ethnicity. A Minor or Certificate in Ethnic Studies are available.
Why Ethnic Studies?
Ethnic Studies programs are under heavy scrutiny at the grade school and college levels. Critics tout that Ethnic Studies is divisive and exclusionary, yet numerous studies show that Ethnic Studies can benefit learning of all students. Giving students a glimpse of the history and experiences of marginalized groups, we can dismantle the biases that support systemic oppression. This not only enhances student learning, but increases graduation rates and college attendance.
Research also prove that individuals with experience in diversity are desired by businesses. A minor in Ethnic Studies can open up even more career opportunities. In a competitive job market individuals with Ethnic Studies minors will be equipped to better interact with diverse groups. The critical thinking skills and cultural understandings are invaluable for the corporations, law enforcement, human resources, education, medical fields, and global organizations.