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April 27, 2016

What is Racism?

ES 101 Summer Flyer-2

ES 101 Intro to Ethnic Studies

Summer Term


This class is designed to introduce students to the important concepts, theories, andframeworks central to the study of race (and other intersecting identities such as gender, class, and sexuality) in American life.  We will explore concepts such as racialization, the development of race a s a social category, the deep history  of contemporary racial formations, and social movements of various individuals and communities that have challenged the status quo in a racist society.


November 3, 2015

Congratulations Alai Reyes-Santos

Professor Reyes-Santos was promoted to Associate Professor with indefinite tenure. She also received the Ersted Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her book, Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neolineral Antilles was published by Rutgers University Press in the Critical Caribbean Studies Series. To add to her accolades, she received the 2015 Guy Alexandre Paper Prize for her paper, “The Emancipated Children: Transcolonial Kinship in the Nineteenth Century Antilles at the Latin American Studies Association Conference.

September 26, 2014

Brian Klopotek

Brian Klopotek’s new book, which he co-edited with Brenda Child of the University of Minnesota, was released in May 2014. Titled Indian Subjects: Hemispheric Perspectives on the History of Indigenous Education, the book includes contributions from scholars from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds to remap the history of indigenous education through different regions and eras.


Alumni who took Klopotek’s History of Native American Education class will be familiar with the devastating history of federal boarding schools for Native peoples.  The lessons learned from these histories demonstrate the enormous impact of Anglo settler colonialism and assimilationism on Native people, just as they document multiple Native responses. But even at its peak in the first half of the 20th century, the federal boarding school system accounted for only half of the Indian students in the United States. Klopotek and Child began talking ten years ago about what other kinds of information were missing from the literature on indigenous education, and what kinds of essays they would like to have available for classes on the history of Native American education.

While there is ample material available on boarding schools in the United States and Canada between 1875 and World War II, it is much harder to find material on education outside the boarding school walls, outside the area between Arizona and the Upper Midwest, outside the classic boarding school era, and outside of the English settler states.  They had never found any material comparing indigenous educational histories in Latin American and Anglo North American nations.  And while there had been significant analysis of gender in indigenous education, issues of sexual identity and issues of race outside of the Indian-white dyad were virtually absent, as well.  They set out in search of scholars doing pathbreaking work that would begin to fill in some of these gaps and point to exciting new directions for future research.  Some they found already doing this work, and others they cajoled into doing it.

The essays in Indian Subjects push beyond the boarding schools, into an expansive range of indigenous communities, indigenous intellectual circles, and indigenous homes, to make a critical intervention into how we think about indigenous educational histories.  Changing the historical narrative of indigenous education to be multisited and multiscaled—even just shifting the terms from Indian to indigenous and back again—reshapes the parameters of the discussion.  When we envision this field more broadly to include Indian education in the southern United States under Jim Crow, indigenous education in Alaska, in California, in Hawai’i and other Pacific Islands, and in Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and elsewhere in Latin America, new information and new patterns come to light.  Some of the essays in Indian Subjects are about boarding and residential school history, but the book is designed to open new doors for conversations about less familiar subjects.  The volume pushes toward more hemispheric and global conversations, fostering a critically neglected scholarly dialogue that has too often been limited by regional and national boundaries.

The book is available for purchase from SAR Press and from Amazon and other major retailers.  A public discussion of the book is being planned for later this year at the University of Oregon.  Details will be posted on the Ethnic Studies Facebook page as they become available.

ES Welcomes Professor Lani Teves

Ethnic Studies is thrilled to welcome Dr. Lani Teves.  She received her Ph.D., from the Program of American Culture at the University of Michigan in 2012, she held a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley from 2012-2013.  Her research areas include Native Pacific Cultural Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies; Decolonization in the Pacific; Comparative Indigeneity; Native and Women of Color Feminisms; Queer of Color Critique; Queer Indigeneity; Sovereignty; Performance Studies; Indigenous Theory.  She is currently working on her manuscript, Defiant Indigeneity: Kānaka Maoli Performance and the Politics of Aloha.

Q. Could you share  a little about your background and how/why you were driven to academia.
I grew up in Hawai’i across the street from Pearl Harbor, so I understood from early on the power of the twin industries of the military and tourism in Hawai’i. I also grew up in a time when the modern Hawaiian sovereignty movement became very prominent. Many of the leaders of that movement were scholars and activists whose books, speeches, and public performances really inspired me to question what was going on in Hawai’i. I began to wonder, how does someone become a professor?

I was also very active in music and performing. As I got more involved in the local music scene I began to make the connection between the pressures of Hawaiian indigeneity and the constraints it puts on expression and creativity. When I went to community college, Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies courses really opened up my world and gave me the space to think about these things and to understand how all culture is political. Luckily, professors (in Ethnic Studies!) encouraged me and eventually helped me go to graduate school in Michigan. Haunani-Kay Trask told me that if I didn’t go, she’d beat me up! So, I went and it was the best thing I ever did. I always associated academia with activism and nurturing future generations of rabble-rousers, so here I am!

Q. Could you describe your research and how you got involved/interested in it?
My research is essentially about how indigeneity is performed. I use performance as a framework to analyze how all identities are imposed and maintained, imagined and real. I look specifically at how Native Hawaiian identity is attached to the Hawaiian concept of “aloha” and how it is used to discipline Native Hawaiians into docile Natives in the service of tourism and ongoing occupation. Rather than dismiss Hawaiian investments in “aloha” as being colonized or duped, I examine how Native Hawaiians retain aloha and rearticulate it to center community connectedness and belonging in unexpected places—such as in a freestyle battle or during a drag performance. My manuscript explores these spaces and other kinds of Hawaiian cultural productions, like ghost tours, plays, and short stories. I became interested in these different sites of performance because of my own experiences performing in punk bands and hanging around the non-Hawaiian music scene in Hawai’i when I was younger. These overlooked spaces got me questioning how “Hawaiianness” and “Nativeness” in general is policed by the State and within our own communities.

Q. What are you most looking forward to in terms of your new career here at the UO, and life in Eugene?
I’m really looking forward to building connections between Native Studies and Pacific Islander issues. I want to expose students to a different story about indigeneity, one that is thriving, complex, and global. The fact that the department has a Native Studies minor really speaks to how indigenous issues are not an afterthought here. So, I’m just elated to be part of this vibrant department with faculty that are intellectually engaged and committed to students. I feel very lucky to be in such a welcoming department and I’m excited to contribute to the intellectual life on campus. Off campus, I am hoping to connect with the surrounding communities of color and increase discussions of race and indigeneity in Eugene.

March 24, 2014

Will Work for Justice: ES Alumni in Social Justice Careers

alumn panel

UO Ethnic Studies alumni are playing leadership roles in social justice organizations, government, and education, putting the principles of ethnic studies into practice. On November 15, 2013, seven distinguished  ES alumni returned to campus to participate in a panel titled “Will Work for Justice: ES Alumni in Social Justice Careers.” The panel drew current students and alumni as well as participants from other Oregon campuses who were in Eugene to attend the annual Oregon Students of Color Conference at the UO that weekend.

Panelists discussed the many ways that ethnic studies prepared them to work as organizers, educators, trainers, researchers and advocates, and shared advice with current students about pursing opportunities to join this vibrant field. The panelists included:

ITON UDOSENATA, Principal, Cottage Grove (OR) High School, (ES ’03)–A graduate of North Eugene High School, Iton worked as a teacher and administrator at Willamette High School and in the Springfield School District before being named principal of Cottage Grove High School in 2013.

DIEGO HERNANDEZ, Board of Directors, Reynolds School District, (ES ’10)–Recently elected to a four-year term to the Board of Directors of the Reynolds School District in Portland (his high school alma mater), Diego was also recently named co-director of the Momentum Alliance in Portland.

CARINA MILLER, Former Service Coordinator at Children’s Protective Services for Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, (ES ’11)–Carina handled Assisted Guardianship and child abuse and neglect cases and ran the Independent Living Program for the federally recognized Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (OR).

JEN LLERAS, Trainer and Organizer, Western States Center (ES ’08)–Jen collaborates with dozens of community-based organizations across the Northwest to build a progressive movement for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.

KYLE WEISMANN-YEE, Project Assistant, McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, (ES ’08)–Kyle works with Oregon’s leading progressive foundation on fundraising, grantmaking, communications, and office management, helping to direct a half-million dollars in grants to community based organizations every year.

KHANH LE, Strategic Alliances Coordinator, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Portland. (ES ’06)–Khanh works with one of the nation’s leading public employee unions to build long-term partnerships between union members and community-based organizations.

NATE GULLEY, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Oregon Voice, (ES ’08)–Nate builds the political engagement capacities of community and advocacy organizations across the state, with a particular emphasis on bridging the gap between organizing and technology.

October 10, 2013

Dr. Martin Summers speaks at 3rd Annual Pascoe Lecture

Summers Poster FINAL

On November 15, past ES Director, Professor Martin Summers returned to the University of Oregon to deliver the 3rd Annual Peggy Pascoe Memorial Lecture.  In honor of his own mentor, and mentor to many others across the country, Summers’ eloquently remembered the important work of our beloved colleague, Peggy Pascoe. His talk,”‘Broken Fragments of the Primitive Life’: Race and Dynamic Psychiatry in the Early-Twentieth-Century,” was drawn from his archival research of St. Elizabeth Hospital, a federal mental institution in Washington, DC.  Discussing specifically the way the hospital treated African American patients, Summers explores the intersections of the historical process of racial formation, medical and cultural understandings of mental illness, and the exercise of institutional power.

Special thanks to the History Department, and the Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History, Dr. Jeff Ostler, for co-sponsoring and supporting this annual event that means so much to both of our departments. 

October 9, 2013

Reception Honoring ES Alumni – Friday, Nov. 15, 4-5:30 PM

Please join us in the Browsing Room of the Knight Library for an open reception honoring ES alumni, with special guest Dr. Martin Summers, ES Program Director from 2004-2006. We invite all ES alumni, students, faculty and friends to reconnect with ES graduates as well as Dr. Summers, who led a critical expansion of ES during his time as Director and championed diversity and equity efforts across campus.

For questions or to RSVP for the event, please email Michael King:

ES Alumni Panel: Careers in Social Justice

Friday, November 15, 3-4:00 PM, Knight Browsing Room

UO Ethnic Studies alumni are playing leadership roles in many prominent social justice organizations in the region. Join us as we learn more about their work as organizers, educators, trainers, researchers and policy advocates and find out the ways that ES prepared them for these critical positions.

Participants in the Panel will include:

Nate Gulley, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Our Oregon (ES ’08)
Diego Hernandez, Reynold School Board Member, (ES ’10)
Jen Lleras, Trainer and Organizer, Western States Center (ES ’08)
Kyle Weismann-Yee, Project Assistant, McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, (ES ’08)
Iton Udosenata, Principal, Cottage Grove High School, (ES ’03)
Khanh Le, Strategic Alliances Coordinator, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, (ES ’06)
September 16, 2013

Hames-García: Faculty Excellence Award & CSWS Director

Recognized for his illustrious research record, campus leadership, and standing in his field nationwide, Michael Hames-García was selected to receive the Fund for Faculty Excellence. His major publications include, Fugitive Thought: Prison Movements, Race, and the Meaning of Justice (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), Identity Complex: Making the Case for Multiplicity, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), the Lambda Award winning Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, co-edited with Ernesto Martínez (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism, co-edited with Paula M. L. Moya (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), and Identity Politics Reconsidered, co-edited with Linda Martín Alcoff, Satya Mohanty, and Paula M. L. Moya (Palgrave, 2006). At the University of Oregon, Hames-García served as the Program Director and Department Head of Ethnic Studies from 2008-2011, and from 2005-2011 the director of the Center for Race Ethnicity and Sexuality Studies.

According to Provost Jim Bean, “The recipients of this honor have been chosen on the basis of scholarly impact within their respective fields, their contributions to program and institutional quality at the UO, and their academic leadership.”  Congratulations Professor Hames-García – this is recognition well deserved!

Starting Fall 2014 Hames-García will begin his reign as the director of the University of Oregon’s Center for the Study of Women and Society (CSWS). For 40 years CSWS has been funding feminist scholarship and been a hub for feminist research through an endowment and mission to “create, fund, and share research that addresses the complicated nature of gender identities and inequalities.” Hames-Garcia is perfect to take the helm after the center’s 40th anniversary, and further the important projects established under the leadership of Carol Stabile.

March 6, 2013

Martinez Nominated for Lambda Literary Award

Professor Ernesto Martinez’s book, On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility, is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Studies category.  His book is truly cutting edge work in queer race studies – he courageously challenges dominant epistemological paradigms in the field through a careful, thought provoking, and provocative lens.

Last year, Martinez received the Lambda Literary Award with his co-editor Michael Hames Garcia for their book, Gay Latino Studies: A Reader.

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