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What is Ethnic Studies?

Ethnic Studies is the study of race and ethnicity in U.S. and transnational contexts. Students and faculty in Ethnic Studies examine how social categories–race, indigeneity, culture, ethnicity, nation, etc.–are conceptualized.

We also familiarize ourselves with the experiences of major population groups that make up the United States.  We look at the specifics of these experiences as well as comparing them across groups.  We are interested in both the contemporary world and how history has shaped it. 

How to Apply

Students must be in good academic standing with at least a 2.00 GPA. For information, email the undergraduate advisor, Susan Kalter, in Stevenson 424J or call at (309) 438-8660.

Applications for the Ethnic Studies Minor are always being accepted.

Why study Ethnic Studies?

Students learn about the history and contemporary dynamics of both the United States itself and of the countries outside of Europe from which significant parts of our populations have emigrated or originated.  These include the First Nations of the Americas as well as nations in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

Students in our program examine regional, national, and global dimensions of these experiences.

“For nearly 50 years, the Ethnic Studies program has been unique in recognizing the importance of a global understanding of race, ethnicity and indigeneity. Our graduates take courses in race and ethnicity in the United States and also learn how its global contexts shape and reshape these dynamic categories.”

News and Updates

Native American Film Series

This Fall 2020 semester, a film series and discussion forum has been planned that focuses on historic and contemporary issues indigenous peoples that often go unnoticed.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion update

The Office of the President announces the launch of biweekly messages highlighting our campus’ ongoing progress toward advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


Renowned artist Phillippa Yaa de Villiers to perform

Renowned artists will highlight an afternoon of conversation, poetry, performance, music, and visual art from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, March 21. The event is free and open to the public.

Contact Us

Archana Shekara, MFA

Co-director, Ethnic Studies Program
c/o School of Art

Illinois State University
Campus Box 5620
Normal, IL  61790
Phone:  (309) 438-7546
Office:  CVA 212A

Dr. Li Zeng

Co-director, Ethnic Studies Program
c/o School of Theatre and Dance

Illinois State University
Campus Box 5700
Normal, IL  61790
Phone:  (309) 438-8123
Office:  CW Centennial West 201D

Dr. Susan Kalter

Co-director, Ethnic Studies Program
c/o Department of English

Illinois State University
Campus Box 4240
Normal, IL 61790
Phone:  (309) 438-8660
Office:  Stevenson 424J

Contact Information

Location: STV Stevenson Hall 424J

Phone: (309) 438-8660

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