In establishing the ER&M major in 1997, the Yale College faculty anticipated that “The major in Ethnicity, Race and Migration would be a comparative and interdisciplinary major, not unlike ‘Ethics, Politics and Economics’ or ‘International Studies’ ….
…the salience of the categories which name the world’s peoples – categories of ethnicity, race, and nationality – is not only registered in disciplines throughout the humanities and social sciences, but forms the basis for new models of scholarly work. This work investigates the structures of international migration as well as the displacement of indigenous peoples. It explores the cultures of the communities and diasporas, the new ‘peoples’ that these migrations and displacements have produced, and the efforts of indigenous peoples to reclaim rights and territories. Ethnic and racial conflicts and solidarities dominate much of the globe, and the major in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration offers students an opportunity to explore and understand these dynamics. The major emphasizes a familiarity with the intellectual traditions and debates surrounding these fundamental terms, a grounding in both the history of migration and its contemporary manifestations, and a knowledge of the cultures, structures, and peoples formed by these migrations.
The major would thus offer a place for the systematic study of the indigenous peoples of North America, and of the migration of peoples from Latin America to North America and from Asia to North America – here acknowledging the national emergence of cutting-edge scholarship in Native American Studies, Latino Studies, and Asian American Studies. But it would also encourage comparative analysis between the history of indigenous peoples, and between the migrations to North America and other intercontinental migrations, including those from Africa and Europe to the Americas, and from Asia, Africa and Latin America to Europe.”