Mosaic Pattern

The Department of American Ethnic Studies is an innovative unit dedicated to the critical study of race and ethnicity in relation to power. Our academic commitments are grounded in social justice values and practices that seek to eradicate systems of racism and other social, economic, environmental, and political inequalities.



Undergraduate Majors


American Ethnic Studies is the interdisciplinary and comparative exploration of historical and contemporary relations of power and issues of social justice in American societies. Our main fields of research and pedagogy focus on the United States but also extend into questions about global and transnational dimensions, concepts, and histories concerning race and ethnicity in America.

Students earn a BA degree in American Ethnic Studies by taking core courses on ethnic-specific as well as comparative, multi-ethnic subjects. At the same time, they develop an emphasis in one of the four concentrations that make up the major.

In addition to ethnic studies courses in the social sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies, the curriculum of the department includes language instruction in Swahili and Tagalog.

Internship and practicum courses enable students to work in community agencies and organizations. This exposes them to concrete labor and social experiences, and also affords them the opportunity to perform outreach services and apply their learning in active participation in the community.

The faculty, staff, students, and curriculum of AES are perhaps the most culturally diverse at the UW. This special characteristic greatly promotes the educational benefits of diversity in the classroom, such as the ability to respect difference and to engage in dialogue about diverse subjects from multiple, critical points of view.

Over the last three decades, American Ethnic Studies graduates have gone on to develop professional careers in academia, business, law, medicine, education, public administration, politics, diplomacy, community services, athletics, and more.


Autumn 2020

  • 100 Undergraduate Majors

Degrees Awarded

August 2019 - September 2020

  • 48 Bachelor of Arts degrees

Major Student Awards

2018 - 2020

  • Martin and Anne Jugum Scholarship in Labor Studies
  • OMAD Merit Scholar
  • Unidas Seremos at UW Scholarship (2)
  • William P. and Ruth Gerberding Early Identification Program Scholar
  • Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
  • Association of Women in Science Scholarship
  • Southeast Asian Education (SEAeD) Coalition Scholarship
  • Cambodian American Community Council (CACC) Scholarship
  • Husky 100 (3)
  • Irene Dickson McFarlane Tuition Scholarship
  • Louis and Katherine Marsh Scholarship in Art
  • Woodrow Wilson Merit Scholarships
  • Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes Scholarship in Labor Studies
  • Public Policy Fellowships


  • 3 Professors
  • 2 Associate Professors
  • 5 Assistant Professors
  • 1 Acting Assistant Professor
  • 1 Teaching Professor
  • 1 Assistant Teaching Professor
  • 1 Senior Lecturer
  • 1 Lecturer
  • 7 Emeritus Faculty

AES faculty include the current UW President, who is holder of an endowed professorship and is former dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, former UW provost, and former executive vice provost. Other faculty in leadership positions include:

  • Director, Diversity Minor program
  • Director, Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies Minor program
  • President, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, Greater Seattle
  • Former Chair, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies
  • 2 Former Presidents, Association for Asian American Studies
  • Council Member, Indigenous Seed Keepers Network

Faculty Awards

American Ethnic Studies faculty and staff.
American Ethnic Studies faculty and staff. Photo by Ellen Palms.

Major awards and national organization offices held by AES faculty include:

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Residential Scholar Fellowship
  • Associate Editor, Social Problems
  • Book Prize - “Essential Reading” from Choice
  • Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing Grant for Teaching Support
  • Co-Editor, Asian American History and Culture Series, Temple University Press
  • Editor-in-Chief, Alon: Journal for Filipinx American and Diaspora Studies
  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Asian American Studies
  • 4 Ford Foundation Fellowships
  • Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum Research Grant
  • Henry Luce Foundation Grant (Initiative on Southeast Asia)
  • Herbert G. Gutman Prize, Labor and Working-Class History Association
  • J. P. Morgan Chase Foundation Grant
  • 2 Latinx Faculty Recognition Awards
  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Grant
  • Member, Council of Editors of Learned Journals
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
  • Royalty Research Fund Award
  • 3 Seattle Department of Neighborhood Grants
  • 3 Simpson Center Society of Scholars Fellowships
  • Simpson Center Collaborative Research Project Grant
  • Stuart R. Rose Library Research Fellowship at Emory University
  • Washington State Historical Society Program Grant
  • Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship
  • UW Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity Collaborative Research Project Grant
  • UW Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grant
  • UW Honors Curriculum Innovation Award
  • UW Libraries Open Textbook Grant


American Ethnic Studies students graduating

Scholarship by American Ethnic Studies faculty include many articles, essays, book chapters, and book reviews, as well as books and anthologies on diverse subjects, including: writing in multicultural settings; J. Raymond Jones and Tammany; food and environmental justice; social stratification and inequality; transforming the curriculum by making ethnic and women’s studies central to a liberal arts education; gender, sexuality, and class; labor and immigration; political economy; American Ethnic Studies theory and methodology; women’s history in the Mexican military; Chicano labor history; technology, work, gender, and ecology on the U.S.-Mexico border; Chicano history and culture of Oregon; Chicano art and artists; U.S. Hispanic literature; African American literature and culture; Black intellectual traditions; gender and family in African American communities; Hawaii’s polyethnic literature; Japanese American imprisonment in WWII; Asian American literature; Asian American communities; Filipino Americans and the cultural politics of place; and Asian American and Pacific Islander American women.

Areas of Scholarship

  • African American Studies
  • Agroecology
  • Anthropology
  • Asian American Studies
  • Chicanx Studies
  • Communication
  • Comparative American Ethnic Studies
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Cultural Studies
  • Decolonial Studies
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental History-Greater Mexico
  • Ethnoecology and Ethnomedicine
  • Film Studies
  • Food Studies
  • History and Migration Studies
  • Immigration and Citizenship
  • Labor
  • Latin American Literature and Culture
  • Latinx Studies
  • Multiethnic American History
  • Multiethnic American Literature, Music and Performing Arts
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Health and Policy
  • Settler Colonial Studies
  • Social Movement Studies
  • Sociology
  • Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies


Department of American Ethnic Studies
Box 354380
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-5401