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May 9, 2018

Ethnic Studies Classes for Summer 2018

Students! Registration for Summer term opened May 7th.

Check out our exciting course line-up for Summer 2018!

Be sure to secure your seats now as all three classes are filling quickly.

**NOTE: Two classes, ES370 Native Americans in Film and ES310 Race and Social Media are web-based and more convenient for busy students in the summer.

Many of our courses fulfill required group credits in American Cultures and in Social Science group credits required for graduation. 

Call (541) 346-0900 with questions about Ethnic Studies courses or click here for more information on becoming an Ethnic Studies major or minor.

April 25, 2018

Ethnic Studies professor Dr. Cheney was awarded the Tykeson Teaching Award for 2018

On April 24, Dr. Charise Cheney was awarded the 2018 Tykeson Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, on behalf of the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Cheney has been a faculty member since 2009, having served as an academic advisor as well as teaching numerous courses within the Ethnic Studies Department. The department has nine core faculty members.

On Tuesday afternoon, Phil Scher, Divisional Dean for Social Sciences, surprised Cheney during her Intro to African American Studies class.

Read more here in the Daily Emerald article.

Read more here in the Around the O article.


Read the latest of Dr. Cheney’s published work, an article about the Brown vs. Board of Education here:

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April 19, 2018

Ethnic Studies professor Alaí Reyes-Santos is featured in Around the O for her class’s work in Puerto Rico

Eye of the storm: UO students reach out to hard-hit Puerto Rico

Boy in Puerto Rico after hurricane

UO ethnic studies professor Alaí Reyes-Santos made a major revision to the curriculum for her “Race, Ethics, Justice” course last fall: She added a trip to Puerto Rico.

It was week three of the term and Reyes-Santos, a native Puerto Rican, was frustrated with the lack of federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. It had been weeks since the storm devastated the island and there were still widespread power outages and severely limited access to potable water and medical care.

She saw an opportunity to have her students consider how the overarching questions they were examining about race, ethics and justice were applicable to the crisis, and to use that analysis and knowledge to create resources to help educate the public and spur conversations about those issues. The resources the class created were just published on a new website, “The UO Puerto Rico Project: Hurricane Maria and its Aftermath.”

“A humanitarian crisis was unfolding in Puerto Rico and my students were examining the intersection of race, ethics and justice in a classroom at the UO,” Reyes-Santos said. “So we turned the course into a humanities-based intervention into the crisis that deepened our discussions about race, ethics and justice and allowed us to create resources for the public about disenfranchised communities enduring a natural disaster.”

Through the lens of Hurricane Maria, students examined disparities in justice across different ethnicities, genders, classes, sexes, rural populations and other marginalized communities. As they dug into what was transpiring in Puerto Rico, they used their findings to consider how to ethically engage other racial, economic and environmental justice struggles in the world.

The students produced a range of materials, including research papers, timelines, historical analyses, social media campaigns and blog entries. And the small group that participated in the trip contributed photographic, audio and written documentation from their visit to the island.

The documentation of Puerto Ricans’ experience was a core component of the project and the primary reason Reyes-Santos wanted to travel to the island with students. With the help of support from the ethnic studies department, Associated Students of the University of Oregon and fundraising efforts spearheaded by the students, Reyes-Santos was able to make this a reality and spent several days in Puerto Rico observing relief efforts, interviewing residents and delivering 15 suitcases full of supplies to the island.

To prepare students for this experience, Reyes-Santos hosted trainings on how to conduct respectful ethnographic research in a disaster area. That included how to interview a racially diverse group of subjects and how to ask questions in a way that’s considerate of the pain and the struggles people could be enduring in the wake of devastation.

UO sophomore Bareerah Zafar was one of the students who traveled to Puerto Rico. Zafar is studying both ethnic studies and journalism because she hopes to find a career that lets her travel to places where people need help and find ways to share their stories — places like Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Through the trip, Zafar was able to use her ethnic studies course to do the kind of storytelling that she’d eventually like to do professionally. She interviewed Puerto Ricans and compiled a photographic journey through the island, which are now published on the website and available for the public to learn from.

“We heard so many intense and emotional stories from Puerto Ricans who don’t have a platform,” Zafar said. “I hope these materials help people understand what happened in Puerto Rico with the lack of government assistance, especially people who thought Puerto Rico didn’t need help from the United States.”

Every student contributed to the project, regardless of whether they actually boarded a plane to Puerto Rico.

“It was a really collaborative effort by the entire class,” Reyes-Santos said. “One by one, all of the students came forward with great ideas about projects, research, questions, fundraising and emergency supplies and resources.”

It was not a hard sell to convince the students to amend their expectations and plans for the course. Reyes-Santos saw a huge surge in enrollment for the course in 2017, something she attributes to students’ desire to address heightened political, social and racial tension and violence in the country.

“Many students took this class because they were looking for tools to respond to injustices that we’re seeing in the U.S. today,” she said. “They want to make an impact outside of the classroom. The UO Puerto Rico Project was inspired by their desire to use what they learn in the classroom about ethical claims and quests for justice to create knowledge that can impact public debates around these issues.”

By Emily Halnon, University Communications

Congratulations to 3 Ethnic Studies majors, and next year’s leaders of ASUO!!

Congratulations to 3 Ethnic Studies majors, and next year’s leaders of ASUO!! Maria Gallegos (President), Ivan Chen (External Vice President), Imani Dorsey (Internal Vice President). We can’t wait to witness your activism next year!!  This win reminds us that ethnic studies is more than a major, it is a conscious decision to fulfill your potential in creating a more just world.

Read the article in the Daily Emerald here.  Read the opinion article in the Daily Emerald here.


March 26, 2018

Chương-Đài Võ , “Artist Collectives and Contemporary Art in Singapore” April 5th, 2018 from 4:30-6:00pm HEDCO building Rm 146

      Chương-Đài Võ oversees Asia Art Archive’s projects related to Southeast Asia. In addition to introducing some of the archival collections available online, she will discuss the current digitalization of the Lee Wen Archive. This collection contains the artist’s material about his practice as well as his documentation of dozens of performance art festivals from the last three decades. Vo will discuss the importance of archival material by focusing on two important artist-led initiatives that Lee has been a part of, The Artists Village and Future of Imagination, and two works that he has performed since the early 1990s, Journey of a Yellow Man and Anthropometry: Revision. These projects emphasize the importance of process, collective exchanges, and attention to the local to maintain spaces of resistance and criticality.

Lee Wen’s “Journey of a Yellow Man, No. 2: The Fire and the Sun” at Gulbarga, Karnataka, India, in December 1992. Courtesy of Lee Wen.
March 7, 2018

Ethnic Studies Course Line-Up for Spring 2018

 Ethnic Studies invites you to check out our exciting course line-up for Spring 2018! Many of our courses fulfill required group credits in American Cultures and in Social Sciences group credit for graduation! Call (541) 346-0900 with any questions about our courses or make an appointment with our faculty advisors by emailing them.


Click below for more information on Ethnic Studies’ major and minor programs:

Remember: Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon  is more than a major, it is a conscious decision to fulfill your potential in creating a more just world!

Justice Across Borders: Gender, Race and Migration in the Americas


A CLLAS symposium March 8, 2018, 9:00am-7:30pm

Full schedule HERE

or read below

Read below for Around the O ‘s article about Ethnic Studies professor, Alaí Reyes-Santos and the CLLAS symposium!

Free and Open to the Public!

Justice Across Borders: Gender, Race and Migration in the Americas


9:00 – 9:15 AM (Browsing Room)

Welcome from UO administration officials, CLLAS director, symposium coordinator.

9:20-10:30 AM (Browsing Room)

Race, Ethnicity and Diasporas
Rocio Zambrana, Claudia Holguín, Lanie Millar
Chair: Marta Maldonado

10:40-11:50 AM (Browsing Room)

Women and Gender in Latin America and U.S. Latinx communities
Vicky Falcon, Michelle McKinley, Kristin Yarris, Lynn Stephen, Gabriela Martinez
Chair: Vicky Falcon

12:00- 1:00 PM (Gerlinger Alumni Lounge)
Keynote Speaker/Lunch
“New Directions in Latinx and Latin American Studies: Archipelagos Across the Caribbean and the Pacific”
Guest: Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel
Chair: Rocio Zambrana and Lanie Millar

2:00-3:00 PM (Browsing Room)
Environmental Justice in the Americas
Judith Vega, David Vazquez and Sarah Wald, Analisa Taylor, Pedro Garcia-Caro
Chair: David Vazquez

3:10 – 4:30 PM Roundtable (Browsing Room)
“Art, Migration, and Political Activism: Caribbean and Pacific Islander Migrants in the Pacific”
[SPONSORS: Department of Ethnic Studies, the Wayne Morse Center for Law & Politics, and the Center for Asia and Pacific Studies (CAPS)]
Panelists: Judith Sierra-Rivera, JoAnna Poblete, Philipp Carrasco, Ileana Rodriguez Silva, Joyce Pualani Warren, and Jannes Martinez
Chair: Alaí Reyes-Santos

4:40PM – 5:40 PM Plenary Session (Browsing Room)
“Latinx Communities: Questions, Challenges, and Transformations”
Monica Rojas, Laura Pulido, Ramona Hernández, Edwin Melendez
Chair: Gerardo Sandoval

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (Gerlinger Alumni Lounge)
Riffiando: Dominican Artists in the House! A Talk/Reading/Performance
Josefina Baez, Ana-Maurine Lara, and Ernesto Lara
Coordinator: Ana-Maurine Lara

Sponsored by the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS); Wayne Morse Center for Law & Politics; UO College of Arts and Sciences; The Office of the Provost; Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS); Latin American Studies program; Department of English; Department of Romance Languages; Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Department of Anthropology; School of Journalism and Communication; Department of Philosophy; the Center for Asia and Pacific Studies (CAPS); the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA); Department of Ethnic Studies; and the Global Studies Institute.

Free and Open to the Public

Symposium organizer: Alaí Reyes-Santos

January 11, 2018

Professor Sharon Luk’s book release “The Life of Paper”

The Life of Paper, Letter and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity

January 26, 2018
Alder 111 in Alder Building (15th and Alder St.)
Questions or details on how to access the building : (541) 346-0900
Click HERE for interactive map

Please RSVP here before Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Department of Ethnic Studies is hosting a luncheon and book symposium highlighting the latest book release of Ethnic Studies professor, Dr. Sharon Luk.

The Life of  Paper, Letters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity will be discussed in the symposium by Yale University’s Dr. Dan HoSang, UC Berkely’s Dr. Colleen Lye, and University of Oregon and Ethnic Studies Professor Michael Hames-Garcia.

Dr. Luk’s book, The Life of Paper, Letters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity offers a wholly original and inspiring analysis of how people facing systematic social dismantling have engaged letter correspondence to remake themselves—from bodily integrity to subjectivity and collective and spiritual being. Exploring the evolution of racism and confinement in California history, this ambitious investigation disrupts common understandings of the early detention of Chinese migrants (1880s–1920s), the internment of Japanese Americans (1930s–1940s), and the mass incarceration of African Americans (1960s–present) in its meditation on modern development and imprisonment as a way of life. Situating letters within global capitalist movements, racial logics, and overlapping modes of social control, Sharon Luk demonstrates how correspondence becomes a poetic act of reinvention and a way to live for those who are incarcerated.

December 11, 2017

Ethnic studies professor, Dr. Laura Pulido featured in Cascade Magazine


Dr. Laura Pulido, a professor of ethnic studies and geography who joined the UO last year, has spent more than two decades examining why people live where they live and, as a result, what environmental hazards they face.  Pulido argued that geographers were overlooking ways that discrimination had permeated urban development in the United States for 150 years.”


Laura Pulido helped start the movement to protect minorities from health hazards.

In early 2014, lead-tainted water began to flow into taps of homes in Flint, Michigan. Despite complaints, city officials were slow to respond. The problem continued for more than a year and thousands of children were exposed to lead poisoning. At least 12 deaths from Legionnaires’ disease have been linked to the crisis.

Investigations were conducted, lawsuits were filed. The governor apologized and the state and federal governments rushed hundreds of millions of dollars to the city for supplies, medical care and infrastructure upgrades.

What went wrong? In managing use of the Flint River for water, officials at all levels of government were accused of ineptitude and neglect.

Two state bodies said another factor was also at play: racial discrimination.

More than half of Flint’s 99,000 people are African Americans, and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission came to the conclusion that “systemic” racial discrimination helped cause the crisis.

The commission said the crisis was the result of implicit bias that affected decisions made generations ago—decisions about how the city would develop, where industrial and suburban areas would be planned and who would live in those areas. These decisions, the commission said, effectively benefited people of one race over another—sometimes by design, sometimes subconsciously.

Nothing about the Flint crisis surprised Laura Pulido in the least.

Pulido, a professor of ethnic studies and geography who joined the UO last year, has spent more than two decades examining why people live where they live and, as a result, what environmental hazards they face. She believes that over the years, as cities across America were planned and began to grow, racial discriminatio—sometimes intentional, sometimes inadvertent—influenced where whites and minorities could live, and also resulted in the siting of polluting businesses closer to minority populations.

In the top five

The Flint problem, Pulido said, began in the 1970s. Officials cut back on maintenance of the water system serving the urban core as whites began migrating to the suburbs, which deprived the city of tax revenue. After years of funding shortages, Flint officials decided to cut costs by shifting from water provided by the city of Detroit to tapping the Flint River.

It was the latest example of a common problem, Pulido said: Residents in and around urban areas often don’t share equally in the area’s benefits and burdens.

Pulido is part of a decades-old movement for “environmental justice”—the belief that everyone should have the same access to clean air and water and the same protections from pollution and toxic threats. Thanks to her research, Pulido is nationally recognized as a founding member of this movement.

“She is considered one of the top five scholars in the country in this area,” said Julie Sze, chair of American studies at the University of California at Davis. “She connects race and space in a way no one had done before.”

Back to the 1850s

Today, social scientists studying environmental hazards routinely consider whether discriminatory practices have created different risks for specific groups. But it wasn’t always so, Pulido said.

In 2000, as an associate professor of geography at USC, Pulido argued in a paper that geographers were overlooking ways that discrimination had permeated urban development in the United States for 150 years. As a result, she wrote, the poor and people of color were exposed to unhealthy and hazardous living conditions.

To test her point, she used her native Los Angeles for a case study.

Pulido traced the movement of whites in LA, in the 1850s and after, to the cleaner suburbs, and the concentration of minorities in the dirtier industrial city center. The shift was due partly to the refusal of middle-class whites to live near immigrants and people of color, Pulido wrote, but there was more to it than that.

“A landmark paper”

Developers promoted the movement of whites to the suburbs while denying this housing to people of color. Some may have done so for no other reason than prejudice, Pulido wrote, while others may have realized that the presence of nonwhites would reduce property values.

Industry was also implicated. Choosing locations near railroad lines, manufacturers built plants that belched smoke in the urban core, where most minorities were forced to live. Employers promoted the suburbs as the perfect place for white industrial workers to live “with no Negroes and very few Mexicans and Chinese,” as the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce industrial department wrote in 1925.

Geographers, Pulido wrote, needed to expand their work to consider how racially discriminatory practices shape where and how people live.

The impact of the paper was immediate and widespread. (read her paper here)

“That was one of the most defining essays written in the journal over the last 100-plus years,” said Nik Heynen, geography professor at the University of Georgia and editor of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

David Pellow, director of the Global Environmental Justice Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, credited Pulido with showing that the favorable living conditions historically enjoyed by whites have often been at the expense of the poor and people of color. That idea alone, he said, prompted scholars to revisit numerous studies.

Regarding matters of environmental justice, Pulido established that class, race and land must be considered together, said Manuel Pastor, director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California. “There had been a lot of work, including by me, trying to pinpoint the exact drivers of environmental inequality,” he said. “This was a landmark paper.”

It was strong praise for a high school dropout.

Academically uninspired as a youth, Pulido didn’t finish secondary education. She took her first real steps educationally in the early 1980s with a course on California geography at Golden West College, which inspired in her a fascination with people and places. She then went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography, exploring the relationships between groups and the land they share. She added environmental issues to this investigation while completing her PhD in urban planning at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Hiring trifecta

At the UO, Pulido is the first joint appointment in ethnic studies and geography, a recognition of the intersection of race and place in issues such as climate change. She’ll teach courses this fall on environmental justice and the relationships among race, nature and people in positions of influence.

In the research arena, Pulido is exploring sites of racial violence in Los Angeles and the extent to which the histories of these conflicts have been commemorated. She plans to expand the project by producing a national atlas of sites of racial violence associated with the country’s founding.

Bruce Blonigen, dean of faculty and operations, said the hiring of Pulido amounted to a trifecta: “She will make major contributions to our university’s research, diversity and pedagogy.”

For her part, Pulido sees her training in ethnic studies as critical to everything she studies.

“My relationship to ethnic studies is especially important,” Pulido said. “It’s through that discipline that I can explain various issues related to race, the environment and geography.”

—Matt Cooper


November 7, 2017

#PuertoRicoRelief #PuertoRicoStrong Boricuas and Allies in Action in Oregon!

Resources for people in Oregon interested in aiding relief efforts for Puerto Rico: information, volunteering, and fundraisers



News reports gathered by Ethnic Studies 399: Race, Ethics, Justice course at University of Oregon devoted to Puerto Rico Relief Efforts: 



Fundraising Campaigns in Oregon:

Ethnic Studies 399: Race, Ethics, Justice at University of Oregon

This course has devoted itself to fundraising for rural communities in Puerto Rico and documenting the current issues impacting Puerto Ricans in the island and Oregon. They apply ethical principles to think about the meaning of justice for Puerto Ricans in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. In two weeks, three students and Prof. Alaí Reyes-Santos will travel to Puerto Rico on a documentation and relief effort project delivering water filtration systems, food staples, feminine products, medical supplies, solar powered radios, lanterns and cell phone chargers. We will create a digital archive with stories from Puerto Ricans in the island and Oregon. Sponsors: Department of Ethnic Studies at UO, ASUO (Student Government at UO), College of Arts and Sciences at University of Oregon, United Academics, and individual donors.


DONATE HERE! (in the comments section, please name “ES Puerto Rico Delegation” – Your donation is tax deductible.


 Donate using our ES 399 class gofundme campaign




Fundraisers in Oregon, Support PNW for Puerto Rico Relief –

a. Send packages to families from a growing list sent to us from people on the island and concerned families here in the states.

b. Adopt-a-family: anyone can select a family to adopt and send their needed items directly to them.

c. Adopt a Elder/Nursing Home that desperately needs blankets, twin sheets, food, Ensure, medicine, oxygen, medical supplies, lanterns, clothing, and many more items. One business would be able to supply 1 home with their needs for 2 months with $3,000.

d. Attend one of our fundraisers and help send supplies to the island to lessen the death toll, the starvation of millions and help shelter millions of homeless due to their homes being destroyed by two back to back hurricanes.



Center for Puerto Rican Studies E-Magazine: Puerto Rico Relief Efforts –


Center for Puerto Rican Studies Volunteer Pool: Join even from far away if you are volunteering in any way.


More opportunities to volunteer, support and donate in the horizon!

Thanks for all of your advocacy and all you do!


Alaí Reyes Santos
Associate Professor
Ethnic Studies
University of Oregon
Author of Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles
Follow on Faceboook:
Twitter: #ourcaribbeankin
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