CSUN WordmarkOviatt Library Wordmark

Approaches to Ethnic Studies in Stretch Writing : Library Resources and Tips: Overview

Approaches to Ethnic Studies in Stretch Writing : Library Resources and Tips

  • A guide for professors who teach Ethnic Studies or  teach topics related to Ethnic Studies and need background information about the discipline.
  • Links to materials in the CSUN Oviatt Library's collection are for use with first year college students.

What is Ethnic Studies?

"Historically, studies of ethnically distinct populations have tended to debate whether their marginalization would best be solved through extermination or assimilation. It was rare to argue for maintenance of ethnic identity, and equally rare for members of a marginalized ethnic group to study their own heritage. In the twentieth century a long-running debate raged over whether oppression of subaltern populations was due to racial or class discrimination. Increasingly, scholars recognized this as a false debate, as these issues often merged, together with gender and other factors, into a singular system of domination. Many studies began to look at ethnicity as a cultural construct that served to advance a specific group's political, economic, and social interests."

Becker, Marc. "Ethnic Studies." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Ed. Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. 154-156. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.

Things to Think About

Whether you are teaching an Ethnic Studies class or discussing topics related to race and ethnicity, here are a few tips for lower division / writing classes.

  • Terminology.  Define terminology for students.  Assign reference materials (entries in encyclopedias and dictionaries) to students. When students know how to find background information on their own then they are more confident when reading articles about complex concepts and issues [Reference Resources].
  • Ground Rules.  Setup ground rules with your class before starting a discussion [Discussion Ground-rules/ Class Code of Conduct- Introduction to Ethnic Studies]. 
  • Race/Ethnicity and Academic Sources.  “Is it just that we want to insert bodies of color into already existing structures / institutions? Or do we want to transform the structures themselves?” Todd Honma, Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, Pitzer College [“Whose Table?”: On Libraries and Race]