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    American University
    Dec 02, 2021  
American University Catalog 2020-2021 
American University Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies


Chair  Eileen Findlay
African American and African Diaspora Studies Director  Sybil Roberts Williams
American Studies Director  Mary Ellen Curtin
Arab World Studies Director  Martyn Oliver
Asian Studies Director  Jin Y. Park
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Director  Sarah Marsh

Full-Time Faculty

Professor  E. Findlay
Associate Professor  M.E. Curtin, K. Leonard, T. Runstedtler, E. Stockreiter, D. Vázquez, K. Vester, L. Wong
Senior Professorial Lecturer  S. Marsh, M. Oliver, S. Roberts Williams
Professorial Lecturer  T. Aho, A. Barber, I. Calis, C. Lane

Department Overview

The Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative creates the experience of a small liberal arts college in the midst of a major research university. We are a vibrant and inclusive community of faculty and students committed to exploring diverse voices, histories, and experiences through socially engaged scholarship.

The collaborative houses five interdisciplinary programs that offer bachelor’s degrees, minors, and certificates:

  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • American Studies
  • Arab World Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Our courses examine race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, culture, and religion from a critical perspective. We encourage our students to research complex problems and explore interdisciplinary interests.

Collaborative faculty members are distinguished interdisciplinary teachers and researchers from a wide range of humanities and social science fields. Our professors work closely with DC community leaders and institutions to bring real-world learning experiences into the classroom. Many of our students complement coursework with internship and employment opportunities in DC’s political, social, and cultural organizations. We also encourage our students to participate in AU’s Study Abroad Program to gain an international perspective on their areas of interest.

Our flexible curriculum teaches students to become critical thinkers, innovative researchers, and skilled communicators. Our alumni enter the workforce with a social awareness that serves them well in the increasingly diversified workplaces of our globalized economy. In gaining a deeper understanding of their world and themselves, our students are prepared for a wide range of careers in communications, education, the arts, the non-profit sector, and government and public policy agencies. Our students are also well-prepared for graduate education, including doctoral and law programs.

African American and African Diaspora Studies provides students with an understanding of the historical and contemporary realities of African-descended peoples in the United States and across the diaspora. In the African American and African Diaspora Studies (BA)  and African American and African Diaspora Studies (Minor) , students explore black social movements and race politics, racial ideologies and critical race theory, and the distinctive artistic, literary and cultural practices of African peoples worldwide.

American Studies students explore the diverse cultures of the United States, both past and present, with an eye to our nation’s connections with the wider world. From the American Studies (BA)  to the American Studies (Minor) , they learn to analyze U.S. society through a variety of critical and interdisciplinary approaches. American Studies encourages students to participate in social justice-oriented community involvement and research in the Washington DC region.

Arab World Studies provides an in-depth study of the Arab world. Offering comprehensive training in the history, politics, culture, religion, and economies of Arab societies through the Arab World Studies (BA) , Arab Studies (Minor) , or Arab Studies (Undergraduate Certificate) , this program encourages students to appreciate the region’s complexity and its contributions to our interconnected world.

Asian Studies explores Asia in a dynamic global context. Students examine the political, economic, cultural, and religious aspects of Asian societies, both past and present, via the Asian Studies (BA) , Asian Studies (Minor) , Asian Studies (Undergraduate Certificate) , or Asian Studies (Graduate Certificate) .

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies encompasses feminist, masculinity, queer, and sexuality studies. With its Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (BA) Sexuality and Queer Studies (Minor) , Women’s and Gender Studies (Minor) , and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (Graduate Certificate) , the program is committed to an intersectional approach that embraces diverse perspectives. Courses emphasize participatory education in which student involvement, critical thinking, and personal insight are encouraged in the learning process.


    Major Program (UG)Minor (UG)Certificate (UG)Certificate (GR)