Welcome From the Chair

“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility, we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.”

––bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, 1994

Greetings! My name is Amber Rose González and I’m the chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at Fullerton College. As a womxn of color and a first-generation college student, I experienced the ethnic studies classroom as this place of possibility described by bell hooks. It was a place to recover the stories that had been hidden or misrepresented in my K-12 public education. It was a place to dig deep, to be introspective and critical, a place to explore and cultivate my belief system and my ethical commitments, and it provided me something I had not experienced before: the capacity to imagine a society different––better––than the one I had inherited. It allowed me to bring my whole self into the classroom: my intellectual self, my emotional, spiritual, and cultural self. For the first time in my life, I saw myself meaningfully reflected on the pages of an academic text. Ethnic studies was special in that way. So special in fact, that I applied to graduate school motivated by a deep desire to continue learning. I did not want the feelings of belonging, of validation, of love, to end. I had so much making up to do. This type of education was indeed the practice of freedom and as an educator and professor of Ethnic Studies, my primary goal is to cultivate spaces of hope and possibility for my students. In the classroom we examine concepts like belonging, citizenship, freedom, and justice. We don’t just theorize about racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, nativism, capitalism, and other intersecting structures of power. We discuss how these are felt and lived by students, their families, and their ancestors. We deconstruct the meanings of these concepts and examine how they manifest in our bodies and in society, but we also envision what we want in their place. We think deeply about what it means to create social change. I want Ethnic Studies students to know that the academy can be a place where they are supported and where they can cultivate their gifts. I do not take my chosen life path lightly. Ethnic studies provides me a space to heal, to learn and grow, and to refine my beliefs and my social commitments by teaching about past and contemporary movements for justice and by making meaningful connections with my students. I invite you to take a class in Ethnic Studies at FC and to explore our majors. My hope is that you will also be empowered and empathetic and brave and that you too will know education as the practice of freedom. Paz & Solidarity, Dr. G

Original Artwork by Gabrielle Romero, Fullerton College Ethnic Studies Major

Ethnic Studies at Fullerton College is the comparative and interdisciplinary examination of the unique histories, cultures, and experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States. Students analyze historical themes and contemporary issues pertaining to BIPOC communities through the development of a transnational-global perspective and a critical intersectional understanding of race, culture, class, gender, sexuality, and other categories of power. Ethnic Studies provides students a space to develop a vision for positive social change and to bridge academic scholarship with action by engaging in liberatory practices that aim to eliminate social inequities and all forms of oppression. Graduates acquire group-centered leadership skills, knowledge of self, media literacy, critical thinking skills and an ability to work collaboratively with diverse populations. The Ethnic Studies Department prepares students for both transfer and graduate studies as well as careers that work with underserved populations in areas/fields such as public and business administration, human and health services, marketing and communications, research and education, politics and government, fine and performing arts and multicultural affairs.