Learn without boundaries
Cornell College’s ethnic studies program addresses questions of ethnic identity and relations between ethnic groups through a wide variety of courses in a range of disciplines, with core courses in anthropology, education, psychology, gender and sexuality studies, and sociology, plus a variety of electives in additional disciplines including art, politics, history, and music.
Cornell’s One Course At A Time curriculum meshes well with the interdisciplinary approach of the ethnic studies program and helps to develop a fuller, more holistic vision of the ethnic experience. Each course gives the opportunity to focus on a unique perspective, and students have time to work their way through literary texts, video, and research.
One Course At A Time provides unparalleled flexibility for off-campus study and research, since each course is self-contained with no competing courses. Off-campus courses with an ethnic studies perspective include:
- Applied Anthropology: NGOs, Development, Tourism and Culture (the Bahamas).
- Slavery and Environment in a Comparative Context (the Bahamas).
- Women and Politics (India).
- Literature and Social Justice (Chicago).
- Economic Development in Rural Tanzania.
- Psychology of the Holocaust (Eastern Europe).
- Comparative Education in Belize.
You may also conduct research at Chicago's prestigious Newberry Library and other historical locations during an on-site history course, studying the urban transformation of Chicago.
Right here, right now
Longer class meeting times allow for in-class debate and discussion, as well as visits from outside experts. Recently, for example, Guatemalan-American filmmaker Luis Argueta returned to Cornell for his third visit to campus to screen his documentary, “The U-Turn,” the final installment in his immigration trilogy about the devastating consequences of the 2008 Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in Postville, Iowa.
In spring of 2018, Lyla June Johnston, a descendant of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages, and a fellow with the Original Caretakers Initiative at the Center for Earth Ethics, visited Cornell to speak with students and faculty about “Standing Rock and the Growing Pan-Indigenous Movement for Life.”
Recent internships and Cornell Fellowships have included a Fellowship and internship at the Chicago Field Museum, a Fellowship in museum studies at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a Fellowship at the Gerace Research Center and the National Archives of the Bahamas, and an internship at an inner-city youth center in Texas.
Ethnic studies is an increasingly marketable major. Students who major in ethnic studies often go on to pursue careers in teaching, social work, and law. However, a background in the social, political, and legal status of ethnic groups is useful in many different careers, including psychology, counseling, health care services, journalism, public history, community organizing, and a wide variety of civil service positions in all levels of government.
Many students at Cornell complete double majors, and the ethnic studies program is flexible enough to be easily paired with another major, such as anthropology, education, political science, psychology, history, sociology, economics, or English. Cornell also offers a minor in ethnic studies to accommodate students’ desire to study in depth ethnic relations, but who may not have the time needed to fulfill the courses required for a major in the field.
The capstone experience is designed to be a meaningful conclusion to your major, and every project is approved by the ethnic studies committee, which provides help and varied perspectives. Past capstone projects include “The Black Panther Party and Gender Issues,” “Spanish Speakers in California Primary Schools,” “The Indian Child Welfare Act and Issues of Discrimination,” and “The Political Process and Restoration of South Africa.”