Ethnicity, Race, and Migration

Director of undergraduate studies: Ana Ramos-Zayas, Rm. 204, 35 Broadway, 436-9316,;

The program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration enables students to engage in an interdisciplinary, comparative study of forces that have created a multicultural, multiethnic, and multiracial world. The major emphasizes familiarity with the intellectual traditions and debates surrounding the concepts of indigeneity, ethnicity, nationality, and race; grounding in both the history of migration and its contemporary manifestations; and knowledge of and direct engagement with the cultures, structures, and peoples formed by these migrations.

Requirements of the Major

The major for the Class of 2020 and previous classes With DUS approval, the following changes to the requirements of the major may be fulfilled by students who declared their major under previous requirements.

The major for the Class of 2021 and subsequent classes Students must complete twelve term courses in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, including the senior requirement. These twelve normally include ER&M 200, an introductory course on the issues and disciplines involved in the study of ethnicity, race, and migration. In the junior year, all majors are required to take ER&M 300, a seminar that introduces majors to scholarship in ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, and cultural studies.

Area of concentration In consultation with the DUS, each student defines an area of concentration consisting of six term courses, one of which must be a methods course; these concentration courses do not include the senior essay or project. Advanced work in the foreign language related to a student's area of concentration is advised. 

Senior Requirement

There are two options for the senior requirement. Majors may choose a year-long senior essay or project and take the senior colloquium (ER&M 491) on theoretical and methodological issues in the fall and then complete the requirement by writing a senior essay in the senior project seminar (ER&M 492) during the spring term. Alternatively, students may take an upper-level ER&M seminar and write a senior essay of thirty to thirty-five pages in addition to completing all course requirements. This seminar may be taken during either the fall or spring term. 


Prospective majors should consult the director of undergraduate studies early in their academic careers to discuss an individual plan of study. Enrollment in the major requires permission of the director of undergraduate studies prior to the beginning of the fall term of the junior year.

As a multidisciplinary program, Ethnicity, Race, and Migration draws on the resources of other departments and programs in the University. Students are encouraged to examine the offerings of other departments in both the humanities and the social sciences, interdisciplinary programs of study housed in the MacMillan Center and elsewhere, and residential college seminars for additional relevant courses. The stated area of concentration of each student determines the relevance and acceptability of other courses. Students are also encouraged to engage in community-based learning opportunities.

Study Abroad

Because of the major's emphasis on international and transnational work, students are encouraged to undertake a term abroad. They should consult with the DUS to identify courses from study abroad programs that may count toward the major.


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior req)

Specific courses required ER&M 200, 300

Distribution of courses 6 courses in area of concentration, 1 of which must be a methods course

Senior requirement Senior colloq (ER&M 491) and senior essay or project (ER&M 492); or senior essay in upper-level seminar 

Ethnic and racial conflicts and solidarities dominate much of the globe and give rise to international migration, displacement of indigenous peoples, and creation of new communities, as well as efforts of indigenous peoples to reclaim rights and territories.

The program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration offers an introduction to the intellectual traditions and debates surrounding the concepts of ethnicity, nationality, and race; a grounding in both the history of migration and its contemporary manifestations; and a knowledge of the cultures, structures, and peoples formed by these migrations. Courses cover traditional ethnic studies topics such as Latino and Asian American studies; the major also encourages systematic study of the indigenous peoples of North America, migrations to North America, and comparative study of other intercontinental migrations.

During the first or sophomore year, students interested in the major should take ER&M 200 , an introductory course on the issues and disciplines involved in the study of ethnicity, race, and migration.


Professors Ned Blackhawk (History/ American Studies), Hazel Carby (African American Studies/ American Studies), Michael Denning (American Studies/ English), Inderpal Grewal (American Studies/ Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Matthew Jacobson (American Studies/ African American Studies/ History), Gilbert Joseph (History), Grace Kao (Sociology),  Mary Lui (American Studies/ History), Stephen Pitti (History/ American Studies), Ana Ramos-Zavas (American Studies/ Ethnicity, Race, and Migration/ Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Alicia Schmidt Camacho (Ethnicity, Race, and Migration/ American Studies), 

Associate Professors Laura Barraclough (American Studies),  Zareena Grewal (American Studies), Daniel Martínez HoSang ( American Studies/ Ethnicity, Race, and Migration), Daniel Magaziner (History)

Assistant Professors  Albert Laguna (American Studies/ Ethnicity, Race, and Migration), Sunny Xiang (English)

Lecturers Aaron Carico (American Studies/ African American Studies), Leah Mirakhor (American Studies/ Ethnicity, Race, and Migration), Joanna Radin (History of Science & Medicine/ History/ Anthropology/ American Studies/ Ethnicity, Race, and Migration/ Religion and Modernity),  David Simon (Political Science), Quan Tran (American Studies/ Ethnicity, Race, and Migration)

Visiting Lecturer: Gary Okihiro​

Required Courses

ER&M 200a, Introduction to Ethnicity, Race, and MigrationAlicia Camacho

Historical roots of contemporary ethnic and racial formations and competing theories of ethnicity, race, and migration. Cultural constructions and social practices of race, ethnicity, and migration in the United States and around the world.  HU, SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* ER&M 300a or b, Comparative Ethnic StudiesStaff

Introduction to the methods and practice of comparative ethnic studies. Examination of racial formation in the United States within a transnational framework. Legacies of colonialism, slavery, and racial exclusion; racial formation in schools, prisons, and citizenship law; cultural politics of music and performance; social movements; and postcolonial critique.  SO

Electives within the Major

* AFAM 346a / HSAR 471a, Black Atlantic PhotographyKobena Mercer

Introduction to the social and artistic history of photography in Black Atlantic contexts from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Uses of the photographic image in shaping understandings of race relations and black identities. Codes and conventions by which photographs are evaluated in terms of truth, reflection, testimony, expressivity, and construction.  HU
W 2:30pm-4:20pm

* AFAM 410b / AMST 310b / WGSS 410b, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American StudiesAnthony Reed

An interdisciplinary, thematic approach to the study of race, nation, and ethnicity in the African diaspora. Topics include class, gender, color, and sexuality; the dynamics of reform, Pan-Africanism, neocolonialism, and contemporary black nationalism. Use of a broad range of methodologies.  WR, HU, SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AMST 405b / AFAM 406b / ENGL 405b, Autobiography in AmericaRobert Stepto

A study of autobiographical writings from Mary Rowlandson's Indian captivity narrative (1682) to the present. Classic forms such as immigrant, education, and cause narratives; prevailing autobiographical strategies involving place, work, and photographs. Authors include Franklin, Douglass, Jacobs, Antin, Kingston, Uchida, Balakian, Rodriguez, and Bechdel.  WR, HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 254a, Japan: Culture, Society, ModernitySarah LeBaron von Baeyer

Introduction to Japanese society and culture. The historical development of Japanese society; family, work, and education in contemporary Japan; Japanese aesthetics; and psychological, sociological, and cultural interpretations of Japanese behavior.  WR, SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* ANTH 333b, Bilingualism in Social ContextJ. Joseph Errington

The linguistic phenomenon of bilingualism presented through broad issues in social description inseparably linked to it: growth and change in bilingual communities; bilingual usage, social identity, and allegiance; and interactional significances of bilingual speech repertoire use.  SO

* ANTH 386a / GLBL 393a, Humanitarian Interventions: Ethics, Politics, and HealthCatherine Panter-Brick

Analysis of humanitarian interventions from a variety of social science disciplinary perspectives. Issues related to policy, legal protection, health care, morality, and governance in relation to the moral imperative to save lives in conditions of extreme adversity. Promotion of dialogue between social scientists and humanitarian practitioners.  WR, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ER&M 187a / AMST 133a / HIST 107a, Introduction to American Indian HistoryNed Blackhawk

Survey of American Indian history, beginning with creation traditions and migration theories and continuing to the present day. Focus on American Indian nations whose homelands are located within the contemporary United States. Complexity and change within American Indian societies, with emphasis on creative adaptations to changing historical circumstances.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

ER&M 206b / PLSC 437b / SOCY 223b, The Politics of Ethnic and National IdentityMaria Jose Hierro

Introduction to the study of ethnic and national identity, their determinants and consequences in comparative perspective.  SO

ER&M 209b / LITR 279b / VIET 220b, Introduction to Vietnamese Culture, Values, and LiteratureStaff

Introduction to Vietnamese culture and values. Topics include cultural and national identity, aesthetics, the meaning of life, war, and death. Selected readings from Zen poems, folklore, autobiographies, and religious and philosophical writings. Course is taught in English and is an alternative to Western perspectives. Readings in translation. No previous knowledge of Vietnamese required.  HU
TTh 4pm-5:15pm

ER&M 211a / EDST 144a / EVST 144a / SOCY 144a, Race, Ethnicity, and ImmigrationGrace Kao

Exploration of sociological studies and theoretical and empirical analyses of race, ethnicity, and immigration, with focus on race relations and racial and ethnic differences in outcomes in contemporary U.S. society (post-1960s). Study of the patterns of educational and labor market outcomes, incarceration, and family formation of whites, blacks (African Americans), Hispanics, and Asian Americans in the United States, as well as immigration patterns and how they affect race and ethnic relations.  SO
MW 2:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 221b / AMST 206b / WGSS 222b, Introduction to Critical Refugee StudiesQuan Tran

Reconfiguring refugees as fluid subjects and sites of social, political, and cultural critiques. Departing from dominant understandings of refugees as victims, consideration instead of refugees as complex historical actors, made visible through processes of colonization, imperialism, war, displacement, state violence, and globalization, as well as ethical, social, legal, and political transformations. Focus on second-half of the twentieth century.  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am

* ER&M 224b / AMST 368b, Marxism and Social Movements in the Nineteenth CenturyMichael Denning

The history and theory of the socialist and Marxist traditions from their beginnings in the early nineteenth century to the world upheavals of 1917–19. Relations to labor, feminist, abolitionist, and anticolonial movements.  RP
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

ER&M 238a / AFST 238a / AMST 238a, Introduction to Third World StudiesGary Okihiro

Introduction to the historical and contemporary theories and articulations of Third World studies (comparative ethnic studies) as an academic field and practice. Consideration of subject matters; methodologies and theories; literatures; and practitioners and institutional arrangements.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ER&M 243b / AMST 234b / HIST 188b / RLST 342b, Spiritual But Not ReligiousZareena Grewal

Study of the historical and contemporary “unchurching” trends in American religious life in a comparative perspective and across different scales of analysis in order to think about the relationship between spirituality, formal religion, secular psychology and the self-help industry.  HU, SO
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ER&M 282a / AMST 272a / HIST 183a / WGSS 272a, Asian American History, 1800 to the PresentMary Lui

An introduction to the history of East, South, and Southeast Asian migrations and settlement to the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. Major themes include labor migration, community formation, U.S. imperialism, legal exclusion, racial segregation, gender and sexuality, cultural representations, and political resistance.  HU
MW 10:30am-11:20am

* ER&M 297b / AMST 371b, Food, Race, and Migration in United States SocietyQuan Tran

Exploration of the relationship between food, race, and migration in historical and contemporary United States contexts. Organized thematically and anchored in selected case studies, this course is comparative in scope and draws from contemporary work in the fields of food studies, ethnic studies, migration studies, American studies, anthropology, and history.    SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* ER&M 308b / AMST 398b / HIST 158Jb, American Indian Law and PolicyNed Blackhawk

Survey of the origins, history, and legacies of federal Indian law and policy during two hundred years of United States history. The evolution of U.S. constitutional law and political achievements of American Indian communities over the past four decades.  WR, HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

* ER&M 342a / HIST 372Ja / LAST 372a, Revolutionary Change and Cold War in Latin AmericaGilbert Joseph

Analysis of revolutionary movements in Latin America against the backdrop of the Cold War. Critical examination of popular images and orthodox interpretations. An interdisciplinary study of the process of revolutionary change and cold war at the grassroots level.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 360b / HLTH 370b / HSHM 432b / SOCY 390b / WGSS 390b, Politics of ReproductionRene Almeling

Reproduction as a process that is simultaneously biological and social, involving male and female bodies, family formation, and powerful social institutions such as medicine, law, and the marketplace. Sociological research on reproductive topics such as pregnancy, birth, abortion, contraception, infertility, reproductive technology, and aging. Core sociological concepts used to examine how the politics of reproduction are shaped by the intersecting inequalities of gender, race, class, and sexuality.  WR, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 364b / HIST 334Jb / LAST 334b, Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Politics of Knowledge in Latin AmericaMarcela Echeverri Munoz

Examination of ethnicity and nationalism in Latin America through the political lens of social knowledge. Comparative analysis of the evolution of symbolic, economic, and political perspectives on indigenous peoples, peasants, and people of African descent from the nineteenth century to the present. Consideration of the links between making ethnic categories in the social sciences and in literature and the rise of political mechanisms of participation and representation that have characterized the emergence of cultural politics.  WR, HURP
M 9:25am-11:15am

* ER&M 380a / AFAM 373a / AMST 355a, White AmericaAaron Carico

Critical exploration of how the whiteness of the United States and its institutions has been developed and maintained from the nineteenth century into the present. Special attention paid to the intersection of race and class, particularly to the position of poor whites. Examination of the politics and culture of American whiteness, texts include histories, literary essays, fiction, and films.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* ER&M 394a / ANTH 409a / EVST 422a / F&ES 422a, Climate and Society from Past to PresentMichael Dove

Discussion of the major traditions of thought—both historic and contemporary—regarding climate, climate change, and society; focusing on the politics of knowledge and belief vs disbelief; and drawing on the social sciences and anthropology in particular.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 407a / AFAM 399a / AMST 341a, Race and CapitalismAaron Carico

This interdisciplinary seminar explores, both theoretically and historically, how racial formations are bound to the formations of capitalism. Focus on the American scene, with sustained inquiry on slavery, its commodity logics, and their residues. Consideration of the effects of immigration and globalization.   SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 408a / AFAM 412a / AMST 408a, Race and ComedyAlbert Laguna

Introduction to theories of the ludic and to critical race theory. Ways in which comic modes have been utilized by racialized subjects to represent and issue critiques of the dominant culture. Analysis of stand-up comedy, film, television, and novels.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* ER&M 409a / AMST 345a / WGSS 408a, Latinx EthnographyAna Ramos-Zayas

Consideration of ethnography within the genealogy and intellectual traditions of Latinx Studies. Topics include: questions of knowledge production and epistemological traditions in Latin America and U.S. Latino communities; conceptions of migration, transnationalism, and space; perspectives on “(il)legality” and criminalization; labor, wealth, and class identities; contextual understandings of gender and sexuality; theorizations of affect and intimate lives; and the politics of race and inequality under white liberalism and conservatism in the United States.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* ER&M 419a / AFAM 390a / SOCY 319a, Ethnography of the African American CommunityElijah Anderson

An ethnographic study of the African American community. Analysis of ethnographic and historical literature, with attention to substantive, conceptual, and methodological issues. Topics include the significance of slavery, the racial ghetto, structural poverty, the middle class, the color line, racial etiquette, and social identity.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 430a / AMST 450a / WGSS 461a, Islam in the American ImaginationZareena Grewal

The representation of Muslims in the United States and abroad throughout the twentieth century. The place of Islam in the American imagination; intersections between concerns of race and citizenship in the United States and foreign policies directed toward the Middle East.  WR, SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 435a / AMST 422a / HIST 151Ja, Writing Tribal HistoriesNed Blackhawk

Historical overview of American Indian tribal communities, particularly since the creation of the United States. Challenges of working with oral histories, government documents, and missionary records.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 439a / AMST 439a, Fruits of EmpireGary Okihiro

Readings, discussions, and research on imperialism and "green gold" and their consequences for the imperial powers and their colonies and neo-colonies. Spatially conceived as a world-system that enmeshes the planet and as earth's latitudes that divide the temperate from the tropical zones, imperialism as discourse and material relations is this seminar's focus together with its implantations—an empire of plants. Vast plantations of sugar, cotton, tea, coffee, bananas, and pineapples occupy land cultivated by native and migrant workers, and their fruits move from the tropical to the temperate zones, impoverishing the periphery while profiting the core. Fruits of Empire, thus, implicates power and the social formation of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation.  HU, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ER&M 463b / AFAM 358b / SOCY 373b, Ethnography of Policing and RaceKalfani Ture

Ethnography is the systematic study of culture and a method of knowledge production utilized by social scientists to apprehend, comprehend, and represent cultural groups and other social phenomena. This course explores the ethnographic representations of policing historically alongside the American construction of race. It explores the complex nature of policing in racially concentrated contexts. Additionally, it explores the warrants of ethnography as it relates to the study of policing and race. Students examine the tension between typical racial minorities and policing and the experiences of various other racialize groups that have appeared in and fallen out of focus as targets for racialize police contact.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

HIST 119b / AFAM 172b, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845–1877David Blight

The causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War. A search for the multiple meanings of a transformative event, including national, sectional, racial, constitutional, social, gender, intellectual, and individual dimensions.  HU
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

HIST 332a / AFST 333a, African Encounters with ColonialismDaniel Magaziner

How African societies and peoples encountered, engaged, and endured the colonial and postcolonial world, from the arrival of Kiswahili-speaking traders at the shores of Lake Victoria in the 1840s through the rise and fall of European colonialism and the resulting forms of neocolonialism. Transformations and continuities in African religious life; gendered sociability; popular culture.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:25pm

* HIST 388Ja / AFST 486a, Slavery and the Slave Trade in AfricaRobert Harms

The slave trade from the African perspective. Analysis of why slavery developed in Africa and how it operated. The long-term social, political, and economic effects of the Atlantic slave trade.  WR, HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

LITR 143b / ENGL 192b / FILM 240b, World CinemaDudley Andrew

Development of ways to engage films from around the globe productively. Close analysis of a dozen complex films, with historical contextualization of their production and cultural functions. Attention to the development of critical skills. Includes weekly screenings, each followed immediately by discussion.  HU
MWF 11:35am-12:25pm

* PLSC 227b / EP&E 310b, Refugee Law and PolicyTally Kritzman-Amir

Controversies and challenges in U.S. and international refugee law and policy, with a focus on asylum law and practice in the United States. Emphasis on legal reasoning and analysis through close reading of statutes, regulations, and case law. Final project is a legal brief on behalf of a client.  SO

* PLSC 260a / EP&E 304a, Ethics, Politics, and Economics in Today's WorldFrances Rosenbluth

This seminar is designed as a venue for integrating EP&E studies into an intellectually coherent approach to some of the world’s greatest challenges. As with the major itself, the seminar is deliberately inter-disciplinary in order to give students the opportunity to put together for themselves, as world citizens and future leaders, a broad platform of usable knowledge.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* SOCY 319a / AFAM 390a / ER&M 419a, Ethnography of the African American CommunityElijah Anderson

An ethnographic study of the African American community. Analysis of ethnographic and historical literature, with attention to substantive, conceptual, and methodological issues. Topics include the significance of slavery, the racial ghetto, structural poverty, the middle class, the color line, racial etiquette, and social identity.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* THST 335b / AFST 435b, West African Dance: Traditional to ContemporaryLacina Coulibaly

A practical and theoretical study of the traditional dances of Africa, focusing on those of Burkina Faso and their contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on rhythm, kinesthetic form, and gestural expression. The fusion of modern European dance and traditional African dance. Admission by audition during the first class meeting.  HURP
TTh 10:30am-12:20pm

WGSS 405a / EALL 211a / EAST 241 / LITR 174a, Women and Literature in Traditional ChinaKang-i Sun Chang

A study of major women writers in traditional China, as well as representations of women by male authors. The power of women's writing; women and material culture; women in exile; courtesans; Taoist and Buddhist nuns; widow poets; cross-dressing women; the female body and its metaphors; footbinding; notions of love and death; the aesthetics of illness; women and revolution; poetry clubs; the function of memory in women's literature; problems of gender and genre. All readings in translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. Some Chinese texts provided for students who read Chinese. Formerly CHNS 201.   HUTr
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

Individual Research and Senior Essay Courses

* ER&M 471a and ER&M 472b, Individual Reading and Research for Juniors and SeniorsStaff

For students who wish to cover material not otherwise offered by the program. The course may be used for research or for directed reading. In either case a term paper or its equivalent is required. Students meet regularly with a faculty adviser. To apply for admission, students submit a prospectus signed by the faculty adviser to the director of undergraduate studies.

* ER&M 491a, The Senior Colloquium: Theoretical and Methodological IssuesQuan Tran

A research seminar intended to move students toward the successful completion of their senior projects, combining discussions of methodological and theoretical issues with discussions of students' fields of research.

* ER&M 492b, The Senior Essay or ProjectStaff

Independent research on a one-term senior essay or project.