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    American University
    Oct 01, 2023  
American University Catalog 2017-2018 
American University Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies

Chair  Theresa Runstedtler
African American and African Diaspora Studies Director  Keith Leonard
American Studies Director  Tristan Cabello
Arab World Studies Director  Martyn Oliver
Asian Studies Director  Jin Y. Park
Multi-Ethnic Studies Director  Keith Leonard
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Director  Lauren Weis
Senior Professorial Lecturer  C. Okopny, S. Omar, S. Woods

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 six interdisciplinary programs that offer bachelor’s degrees, minors, and certificates:

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

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

Collaborative faculty members are distinguished teachers and researchers from a number of departments in the College of Arts and Sciences  (i.e. Anthropology , History , Literature , Sociology , Philosophy and Religion ) and from other schools at American University (i.e. School of International Service , School of Public Affairs , School of Communication ). Our professors cooperate 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.

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, 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)  or American Studies (Minor) , they learn to critically analyze U.S. society through a variety of sources, such as historical documents, paintings, films, music, literature, blogs, and video games.

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) .

Multi-Ethnic Studies and its Multi-Ethnic Studies (Minor)  or Multi-Ethnic Studies (Undergraduate Certificate)  provide students with an understanding of the rich history of ethnic and racial diversity in the United States and the larger world from multiple perspectives (i.e. African and African American, Asian and Asian American, Jewish, Latin American and Caribbean, and Middle Eastern).

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies encompasses feminist studies, masculinity studies, 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)