With the state’s largest student population and in the heart of its largest city, Portland State University’s success is critical to both Portland’s and Oregon’s development. Within the Oregon University System, Portland State University’s urban diversity best reflects the probable future of Oregon education. Reports recently released by the Coalition for Communities of Color, Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile (2010), and the State of Black Oregon by the Urban League of Portland (2009), underscore the significant racialized disparities impacting our local communities, and the need for more concerted efforts to address these dire inequalities in innovative and transparent ways.
The School of Gender, Race, and Nations (SGRN) will bring together dynamic interdisciplinary studies with intellectual integrity and prospects for historically underserved populations represented by the following four departments: Black Studies (BST); Indigenous Nations Studies (INST; formerly Native American Studies); Chicano/Latino Studies (CHLA); and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS; formerly Women’s Studies). The School of Gender, Race, and Nations (SGRN) will forge alliances across disciplines, displacing entrenched orthodoxies and discourses of power and privilege. It will achieve its vision through a teaching and research agenda that critically examines and challenges exclusionary disciplinary boundaries as well as conceptual and systemic borders.
Students preparing to live and work in the pluralistic world of the 21st century will benefit from knowledge of the global features and impact of colonialism, slavery, genocide, gendered and sexualized violence, the military-prison complex, neoliberal capitalism, and development strategies on underrepresented peoples and society at large. The School will integrate ways of knowing (epistemologies) and practices of doing scholarship (methodologies) which are not codified and contained within the boundaries set by western empiricism. In this way the name—School of Gender, Race, and Nations—deliberately evokes the need for critical analysis of existing social, cultural, and institutional systems to improve the learning and healthy development of our next generation.
The primary objectives of SGRN align with the five themes of PSU: enhance educational opportunity for diverse communities; achieve global excellence; provide civic leadership through partnerships and community-based learning initiatives; improve student success from historically underrepresented groups; and expand resources and improve effectiveness.
The goal of the School is to create a concentration of resources that will lead to a center of excellence in the interdisciplinary study of culture, race, ethnicity, sovereignty, nation, class, gender, and sexuality while at the same time preserving disciplinary integrity in the participating academic units.