Ethnic Studies term papers

What is Ethnic Studies?

The Oxford dictionary defines the term 'ethnic' as: "Relating to a population subgroup (within a larger or dominant national or cultural group) with a common national or cultural tradition". Ethnic studies is an academic stream which evolved in the middle of the 20th Century in response to claims that traditional fields such as history and anthropology are studied from a 'eurocentric' point of view.  Ethnic studies therefore examines the history and struggles of different races from their own perspectives.

The History of Ethnic Studies

One of the responses to the Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1960s was the adoption of new courses on campuses across the country, which examined African American history from a black viewpoint.  This later evolved into the creation of entire new departments at US schools which encompassed African American Studies, Native American Studies and Asian American Studies. After a long student strike in 1968 demanding the establishment of a Department of Ethnic Studies, the San Fransisco State University buckled to pressure and started admitting students.  This was the trigger for similar strikes across the country, which saw school after school establish their own departments, such as Arizona Ethnic Studies, etc.

Criticism of Ethnic Studies

Those who oppose ethnic studies generally don't do so because they are against the need to examine the history of certain races from their own perspectives.  Their opposition generally stems from the fact that they believe that most Ethnic Studies departments promote extreme left wing ideology, which may be in contradiction to their own political beliefs. While Ethnic Studies, by their very nature, may be more liberal in approach to the study of texts and choice of material, the general consensus is that there are no real grounds for objection to these courses.

Studying for a Degree in Ethnic Studies

Courses offered for an Ethnic Studies major naturally differ from school to school, but most majors will incorporate some or all of the following courses: anthropology, communication studies, English, foreign language, geography, history, political science, psychology and sociology.

Career Opportunities with an Ethnic Studies Degree

An Ethnic Studies major could be the spring board to a wide range of career opportunities. Globalization and a greater emphasis on the awareness of other cultures and races have resulted in the need for those who carry this type of degree to fit into many job roles. Many go on to forge careers in multi cultural or diversity fields, including teaching and education, group psychology, conflict resolution, human services and resources, anthropology, history and more.

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