Question: When is Brown going to create a free speech studies department?

Caroline Kelly of the Brown Daily Herald reports.

Ethnic studies merges with American studies dept

The ethnic studies program has merged with the Department of American Studies this semester in what administrators and faculty members called an effort to provide more structured support to the ethnic studies concentration.

Ethnic studies will remain a separate concentration, but faculty members and concentration advisers are now based out of the American studies department, program administrators said.

The concentration was previously managed by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, which moved this fall from its former space at 150 Power St. to its new headquarters at Brown RISD Hillel.

Ethnic studies faculty members remain based at the Power Street location, which is now run by the American studies department.

Faculty members began discussing the possibility of integrating ethnic studies with the American studies department four to five years ago, but plans became more concrete during a retreat for the American studies department in August 2012, said Matthew Guterl, chair of the American studies department and professor of Africana studies.

Those who attended last year’s retreat highlighted ethnic studies concentrators’ concerns over inadequate program resources, Guterl said. Following the retreat, the department sent a memo last fall to University administrators and ethnic studies faculty members about placing ethnic studies within the American studies department, Guterl said.

Ethnic studies faculty members met last fall to discuss the proposed merger, Guterl wrote in a follow-up email to The Herald.

Discussion of the proposal continued throughout the academic year, and Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron emailed ethnic studies concentrators in April notifying them of the impending concentration change, Bergeron wrote in an email to The Herald.

Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12 addressed American studies and ethnic studies faculty members last spring about the planning process the merger, Guterl said.