Jul 14, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Ethnic Studies

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Ethnic Studies centers the histories, epistemologies and lived experiences of minoritized peoples and Indigenous nations. Our approach is intersectional and transnational. Ethnic Studies courses challenge systems of power and oppression, and advance liberation, emancipation, and self-determining futures. Students critically analyze differences in power expressed by the state, civil society, and individuals. Students challenge social constructions of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, and gender. Ethnic Studies stresses the unique perspectives, contributions, and knowledges of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and other minoritized communities. This program of study also prepares our students to do collaborative and ethical research.

Mission Statement

The Department of Ethnic Studies strives to nurture an interdisciplinary and transformative learning environment for students by providing tools to critically assess their lived experience and centering knowledge produced by Black, Indigenous, Queer, and diasporic communities of resistance. Core concerns that we explore are colonialism, imperial circuits of migration, border imperialism, the carceral state, social movements, and resistance. Interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches emphasized in our program include community-led research, literary criticism, critical discourse analysis, political economy, empirical methods, narrative production.


LOURDES GUTIERREZ NÁJERA Chair and Associate Professor. BA, University of California, Los Angeles; MA, MSW, PhD, University of Michigan.
MYESHIA C. BABERS Assistant Professor. BA, MA, PhD Texas A&M.
DOLORES CALDERÓN Director of Education and Social Justice and Professor. BA, Vassar College; JD, Texas Tech University School of Law; PhD, University of California Los Angeles. 
NADA ELIA Assistant Professor. BA Lebanese American University; MA American University, Beirut; PhD, Purdue University.
VICKI HSUEH Professor. BA, Williams College; MA, PhD, Johns Hopkins University.
JEAN LEE Assistant Professor. BA, State University of New York - Binghamton; MA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A. LONGORIA Chair of Secondary Education and Associate Professor. BA, San Francisco State University; MA, Seattle University; PhD, University of Washington, Seattle. 
ANA CECILIA LÓPEZ Associate Professor. BA, Western Washington University, Fairhaven College; JD, University of Washington Law School.
PAQUI PAREDES MÉNDEZ Professor of Spanish. MA, PhD, University of Kansas.
PETER PIHOS Associate Professor. AB, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges; MA, New York University; PhD, University of Pennsylvania.
CASKEY CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL Fairhaven Dean and Professor, BA, Western Washington University; MA, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Oregon.
DEBRA J. SALAZAR Professor. BS, University of California-Berkeley; MS, PhD, University of Washington
RAE LYNN SCHWARTZ-DUPRE Chair and Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. BA, University of Vermont; MA, Wake Forest University; PhD, University of Iowa.
TAMARA SPIRA Associate Professor. BA, Oberlin College; MA, PhD, University of California Santa Cruz.
MIDORI TAKAGI Professor. BA, Oberlin College; MA, American University; MPhil, PhD, Columbia University.
MÓTANKÁSUA WELLS Visiting Assistant Professor, MA University of Hawaii.

Declaration Process

The department welcomes students interested in Ethnic Studies to schedule an advising appointment to learn more about the major and minors.

To declare in Ethnic Studies, a student should have successfully completed ETHN 201 and have met with an advisor to work together through the graduation requirements.

When you are ready to declare: 

  • Fill out section 1 of the Student Academic Declaration & Change Form.  
  • Enter the email address Ethnic.studies@wwu.edu at the bottom, then click “submit.” 
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor by emailing Ethnic.studies@wwu.edu. 


    Undergraduate Major


      Ethnic Studies

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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