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Ethnic and Gender Studies

Collaborative for Diversity and Social Justice

The mission of the Collaborative is to promote the values of diversity, equity, and social justice through education, campus and community outreach, and advocacy. The Collaborative houses an interdisciplinary major in Gender and Ethnic Studies and interdisciplinary minors in African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Latino Studies, Multi-Ethnic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. In addition, the Collaborative sponsors a variety of programming related to issues of diversity, equity, and social justice and brings together students, faculty, and staff interested in these areas. To achieve this mission, the Collaborative is committed to:

  • Foregrounding knowledge of marginalized groups including, but not limited to, women, the LGBTQ community, intersectionality, and racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Recruiting and retaining students, faculty, and staff by demonstrating that everyone has a voice in academic discussions and debates.
  • Empowering students, via our academic programs, to use both experiential and academic knowledge to work for local and global change in ways that are meaningful to them.
  • Educating the campus and community about issues of diversity and social justice, both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Collaborating with various constituencies on campus to enhance knowledge of diversity and social justice.
  • The creation of a campus community in which persons of all identities are welcome, understood, and respected.
  • Promoting student and faculty research related to diversity and social justice.

The Collaborative seeks to empower members of the Fredonia campus community to bring those aspects of their identity, background, and upbringing that make them unique, coupled with what they know and learn, to create the changes they most want to see.

Our Values

  • Diversity and inclusion as a strength
  • Collaboration and dialogue across differences
  • Creative problem solving
  • Responsible leadership that fosters the growth of new leaders
  • Service to others

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Communicate cognizance (understanding, awareness, knowledge) of one’s own background and how different social positions may lead others to have different perspectives and experiences
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the way that historically and socially constructed difference has affected the distribution of rights, responsibilities, and resources
  • Study, evaluate, and explain what it means to be socially responsible in the context of the increasingly diverse world
  • Theorize, assess, and practice problem solving strategies that would allow individuals and groups to address processes that limit full and equal participation of all groups in society

What is Diversity?

The Collaborative goes beyond a definition of diversity as mere difference to understand and analyze the way difference is used to create and justify an unequal distribution of rights, responsibilities, and resources.

What is Social Justice?

Social justice, as used by the Collaborative, means full and equitable participation of people from all social identity group(s) in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs, keep them safe, and allow them to be both self-determining and part of a meaningful whole. Areas of special concern for those who work towards this goal include fair and equitable distribution of resources and social processes that are fair and equitable for all. As such, we define social justice as the equal distribution of resources and opportunities, regardless of human variation and difference.

What is Intersectionality?

Emerging from women of color feminist scholarship, the term “intersectionality” was first coined by black feminist legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989. Intersectionality refers to the ways in which social systems such as race, class, and gender converge, or intersect, to impact people’s experiences of privilege and oppression in particular ways. In short, intersectionality is a way of viewing the world that allows us to see how human experiences and events are shaped by multiple factors.


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