Ethnic Studies in Community Colleges Research Study
About this study
I am looking to expand some of the research I have already conducted on Mexican American/Chicana/o/x Studies programs to discuss Ethnic Studies programs broadly. More specifically, I want to focus on the community college sector, which disproportionately enrolls minoritized students throughout the United States but where very little scholarly attention has been paid in the Ethnic Studies literature.
While California-specific, this article on the expansion of Ethnic Studies requirements for college students in California speculates that community colleges may have to expand its Ethnic Studies offerings.
Admittedly, I found Ethnic Studies, specifically Chicana/o/x Studies, late. As an undergraduate, I majored in history and took many of my electives in Women and Gender Studies and American Studies. While I attended a large Hispanic-Serving Institution in South Texas (UTSA), I didn't know that I could take courses in Mexican American Studies or Ethnic Studies.
For me, studying Ethnic Studies has helped me make sense of my experience as a multi-ethnic female (Latina of Mexican origin, white) who grew up in predominantly Latinx areas near the U.S.-Mexico border and is now living in Iowa. As an educator, it's helped me to think about students' home and cultural sources of knowledge and power and to think about how their backgrounds and ways of knowing can be honored in the classroom. I wish I knew more about Ethnic Studies when I was teaching U.S. History courses as a community college adjunct 10 years ago.
My research interests in this area were ignited by watching the advocacy around MAS in Texas and how this advocacy was led by community college instructors and students. For example, I noticed on social media in 2015 and 2016 how faculty and students from the local community colleges in San Antonio were organizing efforts to go protest and even give testimony at the Texas state legislature against the racist MAS textbook that was under consideration at the time. Here is an article that talks about the textbook and the movement against it.
I started my research in Texas because that's where I lived at the time and already had existing contacts. I am now ready to talk to Ethnic Studies educators at community colleges throughout the United States and to include perspectives from all Ethnic Studies subfields, not just Mexican American/Chicana/o/x Studies. Something I want to acknowledge is that I'm hoping for the chance to do actual fieldwork in this area--to observe classes, college events, and immerse myself in Ethnic Studies programs. For several years now, I've been applying for funding which I desperately need to be able to carry out this week. So far, I've batted 0/3 in my grant applications specifically for this work. But I'll continue trying! I hope these interviews can be foundational to build a network and to help me think about sites that would be accessible to me to do more in-depth data collection.
If you are a faculty member who would like to participate in this study, please fill out this survey: PAST LINK HERE.
If you are a student who had taken Ethnic Studies classes at your community college, please fill out this survey: PASTE LINK HERE.