The Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento had its modern origins in the late 1960s. It is one of several hundred such academic units in the nation. Programs initiated during this era, such as Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State, were created out of the recognition that the academy had long overlooked and disregarded scholarship by and about African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicana/os and Latina/os and Native Americans. It is important in the history of Ethnic Studies to place its origins within the struggle for place and space within American society. Over time, Ethnic Studies has made theoretical and methodological contributions to assess and work with the contours and complexities of diversity found within such social context as schools and the workplace.
The Social Sciences and the Humanities have been especially enriched by Ethnic Studies research and scholarship. It is important to understand that the place for Ethnic Studies in the academy and its significant contributions to the growing diverse body of knowledge by and about people of color.
The Department of Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary degree granting program that has retained its focus on academic inquiry, teaching and service. The comparative approach is an essential pedagogical tool used in the discipline. This approach requires that Ethnic Studies course content also gives attention to the experiences of other social and religious groups whose experiences have intersected with people of color and the dominant culture in the United States.
The rich educational experiences of Ethnic Studies majors and minors is excellent preparation for careers and professions in the public and private sectors, as well as graduate school. Ethnic Studies majors and minors enter government service, politics, community/social service, business, public school teaching/administration, higher education teaching/administration, social work, counseling, law, journalism, and much more.