Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

403 Humanities I
(831) 459-4246

Programs Offered

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies B.A.

Black Studies Minor

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Designated Emphasis

Other Programs of Interest

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies / Education MA/C Contiguous Bachelor's/Master's Pathway

Undergraduate Program

Launched in 2014-15, the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) curriculum is structured so that undergraduate students may pursue organized study leading toward a bachelor of arts degree. CRES majors develop a deep understanding of how race and other modalities of power have structured human life and have informed the imagination of social transformation and justice in the past and the present. CRES accordingly offers a study of the dynamic power relations resulting from the cultural and institutional productions of the idea of “race” on a local, national, and global scale. Here, “race” is understood as a major ideological framework through which both practices of power and domination and struggles for liberation and self-determination have been articulated and enacted throughout modern history and in the contemporary moment. The study of race, as such, is a rigorous project, one which yields critical insights into the social, political, cultural, and economic processes that have defined and shaped the modern era—colonialism and slavery, conquest and displacement, genocide and warfare, migration and creolization, criminalization, imprisonment and disenfranchisement, globalization, and post-9/11 security state policies such as racial profiling. These phenomena orient our attention to particular academic fields with which CRES is necessarily in dialogue. These fields include postcolonial studies, settler colonial studies, human rights studies, indigenous studies, migration, diaspora and border studies, queer studies, legal studies, environmental studies, and science studies. CRES engages with queer and feminist critique, decolonial thought, and labor analysis in challenging asymmetrical and exploitative power relations, not only illuminating how race, racism, and racialization are socially reproduced in societies structures in dominance, but also, fostering emergent and contestatory forms of knowledge and praxis. A commitment to structural transformation is grounded in intersectional approaches to difference (race, class, gender, sexuality, and caste) defines the work we do.

Faculty from across the UC Santa Cruz campus have contributed significantly to conversations in critical race and ethnic studies for decades, with nationally renowned faculty in anthropology, community studies, feminist studies, film and digital media, history, history of art and visual culture, history of consciousness, Latin American and Latino studies, literature, music, performance, play, and design, politics, psychology, social documentation, sociology, and the sciences. In addition to courses specifically offered under the subject of CRES, many courses engaging critical race and ethnic studies are sponsored by these departments across campus.

Black Studies Minor

Launched fall 2020, the Black studies minor offers students grounding in the intellectual histories, political movements, cultural expressions, and critical theories of the Black diaspora, all while engaging a range of methodologies from across disciplines. Attention to the significance of social justice is a hallmark of the minor. Supported by faculty expertise in Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific, students can explore the globally multi-sited nature of Black freedom struggles, both past and present, and examine blackness through a comparative lens.

CRES and Education MA/C Contiguous Bachelor's/Master's Pathway

The MA/C Contiguous Bachelor's/Master's pathway, also known as a 4+1 pathway, is an option that allows undergraduates in the CRES major to finish the Education MA/Credential program in just one additional year. With the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum adopted in Spring 2021 and ethnic studies slated to be a high school requirement in California starting with the 2029-30 graduating class, the CRES/EDUC 4+1 program will train and prepare graduates to teach ethnic studies at the K-12 level.

Graduate Program

Also launched in 2014-2015, the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) is available for doctoral students to pursue alongside their doctoral degree program. To complete the DE, students must have a faculty advisor from the CRES faculty; complete four relevant courses, one of which is in CRES; and complete a significant piece of scholarly writing in the area of CRES. Students pursuing the designated emphasis are encouraged to serve as a teaching assistant for at least one CRES course, and may be eligible to teach a CRES course of their own design as a graduate student instructor.