Ethnic Studies at 50: Igniting the Future

Thursday, March 5, 2020 8:00am to Friday, March 6, 2020 6:00pm
Alumni House
UC Berkeley

Chair Juana Maria Rodríguez, juarodriguez [at]

For fifty years, the Ethnic Studies Department at UC Berkeley has been at the forefront of educational democracy, transforming the humanities and social sciences in the United States and the world. As an interdisciplinary field in the study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity, Ethnic Studies has advanced new paradigms that make visible processes of marginalization and exclusion, developed theories and methodologies that empower communities, and worked toward achieving greater social justice in our world. Since its inception, our department has spearheaded the formation of these intellectual fields by advancing groundbreaking research, taking on leadership roles in institution-building and mentoring scholars who are now leaders in their fields and communities. 

For this symposium, we have invited over twenty-five of these leaders to return to Berkeley to share their contributions and their insights with our many communities. Among a few of the distinguished alum scheduled to appear are:

Dylan Rodríguez is Professor of the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside and the President-elect of the American Studies Association. In addition to his many books and articles, Prof. Rodríguez is a founding member of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association.

Josh Kun, Professor and Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication and Director of USC’s Annenberg’s School of Communication, is also a 2016 recipient of a MacArthur "genius" award. He has worked with The Getty Foundation, SF MOMA, the Grammy Museum, the California African American Museum, and the Vincent Price Museum of Art and currently co-curates CALA Crossfade Lab and directs The Popular Music Project of the Norman Lear Center.

Marisa Belausteguigoitia currently the 2019 Chair Andrés Bello Chair in Latin American Cultures and Civilizations at NYU is Professor at the School of Humanities at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)/National Autonomous University of México (2004), where she is Director of the Graduate Studies in the Humanities at UNAM (2010 until today) and advisor to the Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal (CDHDF)/ Commission on Human Rights of México City.

From these three very different short biographies, it is clear that the contributions of our Department to Berkeley’s campus have been far-reaching and deeply impactful. Collectively, we have challenged and transformed common understandings of American history, society, and culture. We have advanced theories of race, intersectionality, diaspora, decolonization, and indigeneity. We have expanded and diversified educational curricula in higher education. And we have trained generations of students who have become policymakers, artists and writers, educators, scientists, entrepreneurs, and community organizers.

This is an IGS co-sponsored event with the Department of Ethnic Studies.