What is Ethnic Studies?

Ethnic Studies is the critical and interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, Latines, and Asian American communities within and beyond the United States. Since the creation of the field in the 1960s, scholars continue to analyze and explore the intersections of race, gender, class, status, identity, power, and resistance. 

Students, led by the Black Student Union, staged a powerful sit-in at then college president Robert Wert's office resulting in Mills College being the first independent college to establish an Ethnic Studies program in 1969. It is this legacy, from the activism of students to the creation of the Ethnic Studies department to a former interdisciplinary department of Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, that undergirds anti-racism throughout the curriculum.

More on Ethnic Studies

Scholar OneSearch at Oakland

Search the catalog of the F.W. Olin LIbrary on the Oakland campus plus online articles, streaming media, and more.

Key Resources

Special Collections, Archives, and Newspapers

Mills College Special Collections and Archives is comprised of about 20,000 volumes, 10,000 manuscripts, archives, and photographs housed in the Elinor Raas Heller Rare Book Room. The collection includes printed books from the 15th century to the present, as well as the Mills College Collection. It is also the home to the Mills College Center for the Book, a forum for cultural, literary, and aesthetic heritage of the book.

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was founded in October 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale as an organization dedicated to protecting and uplifting the Black population of Oakland. As the organization grew this focus spread to the rest of the United States and even abroad. Linked below are archives about the BPP and the BPP newspaper.