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Critical Ethnic Studies Mission Statement & Goals

Last updated on Nov 02, 2023

Critical Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary field that embodies a commitment to equity, intersectionality, social change, social justice, and action. These inform the program’s investigations and applications into the processes and constructions of racial/ethnic, gender/sexual, and socioeconomic inequalities.

Our program, chaired by Shylah Pacheco Hamilton, consists of both seminar and studio courses utilizing decolonial, transnational and intersectional pedagogies, We educate and inform students about the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of historically underrepresented, Indigenous, immigrant, and forced migratory communities to American arts, history, culture, and society. The courses also introduce students to the interconnections between global communities, the nuances of lived gender experiences, and the impact of race/ethnicity and cultural formation to art making and design practice.

Critical Ethnic Studies faculty are dedicated to empowering every student with the necessary analytical and critical perspectives about issues related to aesthetics and cultural production while examining the legacies of racial and ethnic inequalities and resistance. Students become critical thinkers/artists who develop languages, tools and strategies to bring marginalized and Indigenous voices to the center of discourse. Students are able to interrogate the intersections of white supremacy and colonialisms, community and identity formations, their own standpoints/knowledge and privileges both in the U.S and abroad.

Note: CCA’s Critical Ethnic Studies requirement may be satisfied only with the transfer of a course from another four-year accredited institution with ethnic, diversity, or American studies programs. The program chair must pre-approve all credit transfers.


  • Critique the theoretical frameworks of mainstream art and culture by decentering Eurocentric canons in order to achieve an increased understanding, appreciation, and respect for the diverse range of arts, cultures, histories, traditions, and modes of communication of global communities
  • Explore, analyze, and study the social, political, and economic contexts of cultural production and artistic expressions, as well as realize an expanded consciousness of the true potential of the United States if diversity were fully manifested
  • Provide a rigorous and disciplined examination of the past and present experiences of historically oppressed and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in the United States
  • Identify, acknowledge, and critique the effects of institutionalized oppression and dominant groups privileged in relationship to the arts world
  • Provide an opportunity for students to engage with local and global diverse communities, and accurately interpret their social and cultural experiences
  • Expose students to artists and scholars who position diversity as a core value in their work
  • Expand, diversify, and influence the content and pedagogical approaches to teaching throughout the college’s curriculum