Our Mission and Goals

Our interdisciplinary program emphasizes excellence in teaching by faculty with extensive international experience. We engage and inspire students to develop critical perspectives on global issues.

The Department endeavors, through our teaching, research, and community outreach, to develop a deep understanding of global social issues, such as social justice and human rights, international development, environmental justice, health, international conflicts, gender and sexuality, and labor rights. Our courses are designed to help our students become highly skilled and proficient in critical thinking, communication, interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, and to gain strong intercultural competence and media and information literacy.

We Strive for Racial Justice

The Department of International and Global Studies is outraged by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and thousands of other people of color over the years in what is a clear pattern of racist violence by law enforcement officers in this country. We are also reminded that Jason Washington was killed on our campus in an incident that involved Portland State’s Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO). We witness the protests of hundreds of thousands of people, including many of our own students and colleagues, for racial justice and police reform that is sweeping this country and other countries. Portland is standing in solidarity with other cities across the US in demanding justice for these victims and countless other victims of police brutality.  As a Department, we join the call for racial justice by expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests. This nation, and all the efforts we make as teachers in this institution, need to address the history of systemic racism, discrimination, repression, and violence that has treated people of color, especially Black people, as second-class citizens.

Portland State University must make new commitments to supporting our students and faculty of color, as well as study and implement policies that will address the problems of social and racial injustice, within the institution and globally. Indeed, we must remind ourselves that our University is housed on land taken by force from its original Native inhabitants and that we also have a duty towards the Indigenous peoples of this state, particularly the Multnomah and Clackamas peoples.

We call on Portland State University to carry out concrete acts and measures to address issues of inequality, discrimination, and racism in all aspects of classroom education and university life. We demand that CPSO be disarmed and defunded. We call upon the University to raise the level of financial support to the interdisciplinary units in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations and toward the hiring, mentoring, and retention of faculty and staff of color. We condemn the doctrines and institutional assumptions of white supremacy and discrimination. As a faculty, we collectively commit to raising our voices on issues of social and racial justice domestically and globally.