Ethnic Studies develops innovative paths toward a better world. We are working to develop equitable, sustainable, and just approaches to societal problems through comparative, critical, and transnational examinations of the histories and contributions of African Americans, Arab Americans, American Indians and Pacific and Caribbean Indigenous peoples, Asian Americans, and Chicanx/Latinx peoples. In doing so, Ethnic Studies generates distinctive knowledges about history, society, literature, art, philosophy, religion, politics, health, and environment. 

The Department of Ethnic Studies is committed to the following values: 

Education as a Public Good/Necessity

As part of a Liberal Arts education, robust knowledge of the United States and the broader world requires the study of race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity in their intersections with gender, sexuality, class, religion, nation, and dis/ability. We treat these issues not as many disciplines have done, as parochial or supplementary, but as crucial to any quality education. Ethnic Studies is at the forefront of centralizing race in education. Our curriculum is designed to generate extensive, in-depth knowledge on a broad suite of topics. Our faculty are committed to helping build just, healthy multi-racial democracy. Students build critical thinking, reading, and writing skills as tools to be used in all facets of life. Of special importance to us is honoring the struggles and celebrating the achievements of our predecessors and contemporaries. Their wisdom is a wayfinder through a rapidly- changing, increasingly-complex world. We learn from the past to build futures in which all of us may truly flourish. 


Knowledge is valuable in itself but it is best as a means to self- and community empowerment. We are dedicated to providing students with the resources to pursue their curiosities and goals within social and political contexts. Faculty aim to be supportive rather than didactic. We encourage students to design methods appropriate for the issue at hand rather than apply stale theories. Students learn to acquire and produce knowledge in various ways, such as: oral history, literary and media analysis, and community-based participatory research. Through our program, students refine critical and creative thinking, research, and styles of communication. They become remarkably adept at engaging diverse, complex issues in society and the workplace. 


At the heart of Ethnic Studies is community. While the university, workplace, and society may feel isolating at times, Ethnic Studies offers a rare space of belonging. We embrace everyone in our community as an important colleague and powerful visionary. We affirm that collaboration is vital for individual growth and communal health. Our lifeways provide distinctive perspectives, and our entanglements enable transformation. Through our curriculum and programming faculty, students, and community members build connections working in collaboration with student, Auraria campus, and community organizations; other CU Denver programs and offices; regional Ethnic Studies programs; and scholars, artists, activists, and teachers from both within and outside the U.S. Among our highest aspirations is to cultivate meaningful, lifelong relationships and to help students develop lifelong skills as local, national, global citizens and leaders to engage in real-world problem solving.   

We welcome you here.