Race and Ethnic Studies

Whitman College , Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA


Faculty Advisers:

*Susanne Beechey, Politics

Shampa Biswas, Politics

*Helen Kim, Sociology

Nina Lerman, History

Bruce Magnusson, Politics

*Gaurav Majumdar, English

Gilbert Mireles, Sociology

*Suzanne Morrissey, Anthropology

Matt Reynolds, Art History and Visual Culture Studies

*Nicole Simek, French (Director, Fall 2012)

Jacqueline Woodfork, History

*Zahi Zalloua, French (Director, Spring 2013)


* RES Steering Committee, 2012-13

The Race and Ethnic Studies major and minor take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Race and Ethnicity. What do these categories of difference mean?  how have they been defined, constructed, and applied in different socio-historic contexts?  how do they intersect or overlap with other axes of difference (e.g. gender, class, nation, religion)?   Exploring these questions with analytical tools and approaches developed in a range of academic disciplines, this major leads to a critical examination of many historical and contemporary social issues that arise from the institutionalization of race and ethnicity.


The RES Major

RES offers an umbrella under which many more specific questions can be explored: the student's own major program, designed with the major adviser, will explore some one of the particular aspects of these complex issues. Thinking about declaring a major in RES? Please come talk with one of the major advisers listed above.

Foundation courses : All majors take GENS 245 Critical and Alternative Voices, plus one other course centered on racial and ethnic analysis (Soc 267 Race and Ethnic Group Relations; Hist 371 African American History; Hist 268 US Ethnic and Immigration History; Pol 259 Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion; Phil 225 Critical Race Theory).

Concentration : The concentration defines the core focus of the major. It consists of a minimum of three related courses (typically 9-12 cr), allowing depth of study in a topic or region, and serving as the basic background for the thesis. The concentration must be proposed to and approved by the RES Committee by the first week of the second semester of the junior year. Examples of concentrations include Race and Ethnicity in Latin America; Race and Ethnicity in Africa; Race and Ethnicity in the US; African American Studies; Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; Race, Ethnicity, and Class; Race, Ethnicity, and Nation; Race, Ethnicity, and Religion.


Electives : Usually three courses chosen to complement the concentration, such that, in combination with foundational and concentration coursework, the student has worked in three disciplines overall, and has defined a coherent program of study. It is recommended that the student explore more than one geographic area.

Capstone : A senior seminar (4cr) in the fall (RaES 490), in which students discuss common readings and case studies and begin thesis research, and completion of thesis (2cr) in the spring. The oral portion of the major exam will begin with a thesis defense and proceed to a broader synthesis of the student's work in the major.


Language Requirement : The language requirement places value on the linguistic dimensions of difference and provides students with at least minimal direct exposure to this dimension. In addition to the 36 credits for the major, the student will complete 12 credits of college-level language study in a language other than the student's first language. These credits may be earned at Whitman College, through transfer credit from accredited U.S. institutions of higher learning, or from a Whitman approved study abroad program. Ideally all 12 credits will be in the same language; in some cases two languages are permitted.



The RES Minor

The RES minor includes GenS 245 Critical and Alternative Voices, one of the foundation courses  (Soc 267 Race and Ethnic Group Relations; Hist 371 African American History; Hist 268 US Ethnic and Immigration History; Pol 259 Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion; Phil 225 Critical Race Theory), and three elective courses chosen from the list of eligible courses.

RES Courses for Concentrations and Electives

Affiliated Race and Ethnic Studies faculty

Schedule for Majors coming soon



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