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Department Chair Welcome Message, 2023-24

Yil tol wi hokišak kuš (Good day relatives),

I greet you in the Ishak language of my ancestors. Wi hokišak kuš means we are all relatives/connected. I share this greeting to offer my hope and wish that we in the Ethnic Studies department are building relationships and bonds that go beyond the formal relationships often found in a university context. It is my hope that we are collectively building what I call, thrivance hubs…spaces where we bring our full selves and can radiate all of the light and joy that allows us to be our best selves. Over the past few months, we have witnessed many reminders about the importance of Critical Ethnic Studies as a vehicle for engaging, understanding, and addressing inequality in contemporary society. 

We recognize that there are many uncertain, painful, and stressful pressures on all of us as the United States and the world witness devastation because of climate neglect, anti-Black racism, war, genocide, religious and nationalist forms of xenophobia, gendered and sexual violence, and continued land dispossession of Indigenous peoples among other justice issues. 

This year the department is working to close the gap in several important areas. First, we received a prestigious Mellon Grant to showcase and highlight the strengths of our department, our faculty, and our students. These funds will allow us to produce critical new programs and opportunities to partner with local communities and support student and faculty initiatives devoted to social justice and the promise of Ethnic Studies to make the world a better, more equitable society. 

The department is also working to create several new curricular programs including: a new undergraduate major, Studies in Critical Health and Medical Sciences, a Graduate Certificate in Ethnic Studies Education, a minor in Disability Studies, and we launched the first ever Native American Culture Bearer in Residence Program this fall. Our inaugural Culture Bearer in Residence, Ethan Banegas will be giving three lectures during the 2023-24 academic year. Please keep an eye out for announcements for the presentations. We also welcomed new faculty member, Dr. Monika Gosin, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Isabella Restrepo, in Feminist Studies and Carcerality. 

The department is also fortunate to welcome two new staff members, Gennie Miranda, our new Chief Administrative Officer and Dr. Jessica Williams, our new Graduate Adviser. We are excited about our diverse set of course offerings this year and are working closely with our new undergraduate and graduate student representatives to the Department Faculty, Hannah Drake and Christie Yamasaki to identify new areas of programmatic development, such as Palestinian Studies, among other areas. I want to acknowledge our incredible faculty, and want to welcome Dr. Christen Sasaki (Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies) as our new faculty Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Dr. Samuel Museus, Vice-Chair of the Department. Our continued gratitude to Dr. Shelley Streeby who continues on as Director of Graduate Studies, and we also congratulate her on her recent award for Exemplary Faculty Research at UC San Diego, one of our campus’ most prestigious honors. 

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to the 2023-24 academic year and to send all of our alumni, colleagues, students, and families our best wishes for a healthy, prosperous, and transformative year. May we continue to work collectively to bring more joy, more healing, and more justice to the world. 

In Kinship and Community,

Andrew Jolivétte

Department Chair