In Ethnic Studies, we study history and culture from the perspectives of historically marginalized communities, while considering the role that racism plays in today’s world. Our expertise as a field lies in forging critical awareness and knowledge of racial and ethnic differences and how these have shaped the landscapes we live in.
The Division of Ethnic Studies is the only degree and tenure-granting Ethnic Studies division in the Intermountain West, giving us a newly gained national prominence across the country. At the University of Utah, the first programs encompassing Black Studies, Chicano/a Studies and Native American Studies began coalescing in 1968 as separate entities. In 1973, the Ethnic Studies Program was officially established on an interdisciplinary/interdepartmental basis with separate programs for Black, Chicano/a, and Native American Studies.
The Ethnic Studies program began offering a minor degree in 1982 and in order to continue to grow and raise its visibility, the Ethnic Studies Program in 1983 was moved under the supervision of the Office for Equity and Diversity. An Asian Pacific American Studies program was added in 1989, an Ethnic Studies major degree was approved in 2011, and in 2016, the Ethnic Studies Program became the Division of Ethnic Studies now housed within the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. These changes have continued to reflect student-driven needs and the dedicated labor over decades of community partners, staff, and faculty at the U.