College of Ethnic Studies

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AFRS spotlight


April 26, 2018

Faculty in the SF State Africana Studies Department conducted a research project based on the study of Africana Studies on student thoughts and practices, known as the Africana Studies Effect.  The study (n=89 respondents) emphasized the importance of Africana courses and degree programs. The authors, Serie McDougal III, and Dawn-Elissa Fischer, recently published their paper in Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, January 2018. Dr. McDougal is Co-Director of the Afrometrics Research Institute and also the director of the Black Unity Center. And, Dr. Fischer is chair of the Africana Studies department.  The research objective for this recent study was to determine, “to what degree Africana Studies has had a transformative impact on African people, communities, and institutions of higher education.” Students were able to gain a knowledge of self, a sense of social responsibility, a wider & unique range of perspective, and creating relations within their communal environment.

One student who participated in the study indicated “the ability to express that African Studies classes provided them with the confidence and belief they have the ability to make changes that will benefit communities of Africana people.” Other students in the study explain how Africana studies classes are uniquely relevant and engaging to their lives, applicable to the real world, and thought-provoking in many ways. The sense of cultural and racial pride directly correlates to success in the classroom and future relationships in the “world beyond campus.” Furthermore, the largest impact on student participants is the “relevance and engagement courses have to offer.” Solidifying the findings and previous research as to why students are attracted to African Studies is multi-faceted and goes beyond the curriculum.

ICCE congratulates Africana Studies, the first department of its kind at a four-year college, now celebrating its 50th year; the entire College of Ethnic Studies continues to enjoy and appreciate a variety of well-deserved recognition for this milestone.  In March, the department received multiple honors and awards at the 42nd Annual National Council for Black Studies Conference in Atlanta, GA.  Two notable awards include the Sankore Award for Outstanding Institutional Achievement and the Kujichagulia Award for Leadership in Advancing Equity and Independence in Research.  Additionally, Naomi Floyd was the Terry Kershaw student essay competition winner and Dr. Serie McDougal gave the plenary keynote address. All department faculty were named and honored for 50 Years of Promoting Academic & Excellence in the conference booklet. Furthermore, nearly 30 SF State undergraduates, staff, faculty and alumni were engaged in important contributions to this service-based, discipline-specific, and peer-reviewed research conference.  

For a copy of the McDougal and Fischer journal article.  Also, visit their announcements and events listing online.


February 1, 2018

Asian American Studies professors, Wei Ming Dariotis, Arlene Daus-Magbual, and Grace J. Yoo co-authored a chapter in Culturally Engaging Service-Learning with Diverse Communities, a volume in the Advances in Educational Technologies and Instructional Design 2018 Book Series. Their paper, “ ‘What Am I Doing Here?’ Making Meaning in Culturally Engaged Asian American Community-Based Service-Learning” is the result of a study that reviews this history to contextualize current relationships and practices within institutionally structured community service-learning designated courses. A survey of students, community organization partners, and faculty engaged with Asian American service-learning in the San Francisco Bay Area reveals the benefits and challenges of culturally engaged service learning, suggestions for best practices, and future directions.


February 18, 2018

“I Exist Because You Exist”: Teaching History and Supporting Student Engagement via Bilingual Community Journalism

Katynka Z. Martinez, Professor and Department Chair of Latina/Latino Studies

This book chapter, published in Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action, focuses on the ways in which Dr. Martinez has drawn from El Tecolote (a Bilingual newspaper created after the 1968-1969 SF State strike). Dr. Martinez uses this newspaper to expand her civic engagement efforts within her class on Latinas/Latinos in California. Students enrolled in a community service learning class intern at El Tecolote for a minimum of thirty-five hours per semester and write biweekly journal entries that make links between their work with the newspaper and the readings and discussion from their Latinas/Latinos in California class. Dr. Martinez asks students to reflect on the ways in which Latinas and Latinos have been omitted from histories of early California and to consider the ways in which these communities have historically utilized the ethnic press as a way to create visibility and merge activism and community formation. For example, the students review Spanish-language newspapers that circulated during California’s gold rush and during the early days of California statehood. The students then reflect on the presence of technology companies in the Bay Area and how this has resulted in what is often referred to as a “Digital Gold Rush.” Dr. Martinez circulates community newspapers among her students and directs the conversation to topics such as private transportation for tech workers, the encroachment of private interests on public spaces, and how this may impact students living in the Bay Area. Dr. Martinez writes: “As a professor, I have found that the dialogue among students is often so much richer than any PowerPoint or prepared notes that I can bring to the class. However, the students must first feel that their contributions are welcome. They must first see themselves in the histories of California.”  In general, students, faculty, and community partners alike would find this book easy to understand not only because it includes a nice collection of examples regarding Latinx civic engagement, but because it also validates that “personal experiences are powerful tools for the production of new knowledge.”

Source:  Martinez, K.Z. (2018).  “I Exist Because You Exist”: Teaching History and Supporting Engagement via Bilingual Community Journalism, in M. Castañeda & J. Krupczynski (Eds.), Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action, 

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