Manifestations of Diversity: An Ecological Analysis of the Institutionalization of Ethnic Studies Programs




Hopewell, Lindsey M.

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Ethnic studies programs in United States colleges and universities began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely as a result of political and social movements that reflected a growing awareness of marginalized groups within society and their place (or lack thereof) within academia and, more to the point, of their largely omitted or overlooked place within and contributions to various disciplinary fields across academia. Even today, ethnic studies programs as such are evidenced only in approximately a quarter of all four-year institutions, and many of those programs face regular challenges to their existence, giving rise to critical questions about their disciplinary institutionalization. This study provides an analysis based on an organizational ecology perspective to explore whether changes in certain factors, such as geographical locale, population density, ethnic distribution, school type, and various other external and internal features, play a role in the establishment and institutionalization of these programs. This research fits into larger discussions of organizational behavior and contextual relations, while also addressing more specifically how changes in demographics might impact higher education and the growth of related academic fields in the United States.



African American studies, Asian American studies, Ethnic studies, Institutionalization, Latino/a studies, Public policy